Tom Jones was born Thomas Jones Woodward in south Wales in 1940. He left school at 16 and married his wife Linda a year later, just before the birth of their son Mark. In 1963, he joined his first band and two years later his career took off with It's Not Unusual, his first hit in the UK and US. He went on to have success with the classics Green, Green Grass Of Home and Delilah. He has sold more than 100m records. He was one of the coaches on the TV talent show The Voice. His latest album is Spirit In The Room and next week he releases the single (I Want To) Come Home. Tomorrow he performs at Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park. When were you happiest? When I was able finally to get out of bed when I had TB – after two years.
What is your greatest fear? Being locked up in jail.
What is your earliest memory? I can see the kitchen in the house where I was born – so think I was in a high-chair having some nosh.
Which living person do you most admire, and why? The Queen, for her loyalty and determination.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Bad sense of time – on the clock, not in music!
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bullying.
What has been your most embarrassing moment? I was in the toilet somewhere on the M1, sitting with my trousers down, and some girls jumped over the door.
What is your most treasured possession? My voice.
What would your super power be? Immortality.
What makes you unhappy? Not being able to sing.
What is your favourite smell? The scent of a woman.
What is your favourite book? The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire, by Lawrence James.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice? Dick Turpin.
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you? "I heard you were paid off." Early in my career there was a rumour that I was paid not to play at some club – which was not true. It still rankles.
Cat or dog? Dog.
Is it better to give or to receive? By giving you receive – it's a good deal.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Winston Churchill, both of my grandfathers – whom I've never met – John Wayne and Boudicca.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Any and many swearwords.
What is the worst job you've done? Twelve-hour shifts in a paper mill.
When did you last cry, and why? When I listened to one of my [The Voice] team members sing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being knighted by Her Majesty.
What keeps you awake at night? Knowing I have to get up early.
What song would you like played at your funeral? I haven't given it any thought.
How would you like to be remembered? As a helluva singer.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Don't make decisions when you've had too much to drink.
Where would you most like to be right now? Wherever I am, breathing and well.
Interview: Rosanna Greenstreet guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 August 2012 22.59 BST