Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spotlight on Tommy James and the Shondells

Tommy James and the Shondells deserve more respect and recognition for what they accomplished during the golden years of rock and roll in the 1960s.

The group produced two No. 1 songs, "Hanky Panky" in 1966 and "Crimson and Clover" in 1968, and 10 other Top 40 songs while selling more than 100 million records. 

Some critics categorized their music as "bubblegum," but that wasn't fair to place them with acts such as The Ohio Express, the Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Royal Guardsmen, Tommy Roe, and so on.  

And not that there's anything wrong with bubblegum because some of the artists produced some good songs. But that's for another post.

Listening to Tommy James and the Shondells is to see a group evolve and grow, from the feel good "Hanky Panky" (first released in 1964) to teen passion in "I Think We're Alone Now" (1966) to the psychedelic "Crimson and Clover" (1968).

Tommy James and the Shondells had 14 songs reach the Top 40 including the aforementioned No. 1s as well as No. 2 "Crystal Blue Persuasion," No. 3 "Mony Mony," No. 4 "I Think We're Alone Now," No. 7 "Sweet Cherry Wine" and No. 10 "Mirage."

Incidentally, in 1987, Tiffany and Billy Idol covered their songs and hit No. 1 back to back on the charts with "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Mony Mony." 

While the group has been eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1991, they've never been nominated. I find that hard to believe, but there are many worthy and deserving artists who have been overlooked by the Rock Hall voters. I hope their omission will be rectified. 

Tommy James and the Shondells still perform so check out their website for touring dates. Tommy James, who is 67, has even written an autobiography, "Me, the Mob, and the Music," published in 2010.

In the meantime, here are a few videos to enjoy:

Until the next time...

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