ARTIST: Tommy James & the Shondells
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 10: Hanky Panky (#1 US, #39 R&B, #38 UK), I Think We’re Alone Now (#4 US), Mirage (#10 US), Mony Mony (#3 US, #1 UK), Crimson & Clover (#1 US), Sweet Cherry Wine (#7 US), Crystal Blue Persuasion (#2 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you have a Tommy James compilation, probably
LINEUP: Mostly Tommy James, Eddie Gray, Peter Lucia, Ron Rosman, Mike Vale.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Quintessential teenage pop / rock from the 60’s.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It took almost two years for the first Shondells song to become a national hit (that’s a story on its own), but once James got a working band and hooked up with songwriter Ritchie Cordell, the hits just kept coming.
James rebelled a bit at being a bubblegum singer, and that’s when he veered into psychedelia with “Crimson & Clover” and made albums that weren’t just hit+filler. Still, the hits didn’t stop until James had to quit due to a medical scare in 1970.
Most every one of these songs, major or minor hit, brings a smile to your face. Bubblegum or not, it’s a good collection from a major 60’s hitmaker.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: James’ involvement with Roulette Records and its boss Morris Levin is the subject of a book James wrote. It basically was a mob front.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: It’s fun music, and well-made, too.