During the last half of the '60s, Tommy James & the Shondells were one of America's most successful pop acts, generating 14 Top 40 hits between 1966 and 1969. James formed the original Shondells at the age of twelve, in 1960. In 1963, they recorded a Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich song called Hanky Panky for the Snap label. Two years later, a Pittsburgh DJ picked up on the song and made it into a regional hit. James and the original Shondells parted ways because the band members didn't want to relocate from Indiana, and James formed a new Shondells by taking on a group called the Raconteurs. In 1966 they signed to Morris Levy's Roulette, which reissued Hanky Panky (it became a number one million-seller).

For the next two years, they embraced the Bubblegum sound with hits like I Think We're Alone Now and Mirage. The group developed a heavier sound with the percussive 1968 hit Mony Mony (created from the MONY (Mutual Of New York) Insurance Company building who's logo could be seen from Tommy's Manhattan apartment.). In keeping with the times, they became more psychedelic, best captured in their number one Crimson and Clover (of which there are two distinct single versions -- one much longer than the other but both clocking in at 3 minutes, 23 seconds!). During 1968-69, Tommy James and The Shondells sold more single records (45's) than any artist in the world, including The Beatles. In 1969, Tommy and the group regrettably turned down the offer to perform at the original Woodstock Festival when his booking agent described the event as ". . . a stupid gig on a pig farm in upstate New York."

The Shondells continued to chart until James left for a moderately successful solo career in 1970. James' biggest hit was Draggin' the Line. The Shondells changed their name to Hog Heaven to no success. During the '80s, the Shondell's' material enjoyed a resurgence of popularity among various pop and rock artists. Joan Jett scored with Crimson and Clover, while Billy Idol's version of Mony Mony and Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now battled it out for the number one position in November of 1987.

And what, exactly, is a Shondell?

"It just sounded like the right name." says James. "I found out later it meant some kind of airplane maneuver or something . . ."


ALBUMS (*Tommy James SOLO):

HANKY PANKY (Roulette 25336) 1966

IT'S ONLY LOVE (Roulette 25344) 1967

I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW (Roulette 25353) 1967

SOMETHING SPECIAL (Roulette 25355) 1968

GETTIN' TOGETHER (Roulette 25357) 1968

MONY MONY (Roulette 42012) 1968

CRIMSON AND CLOVER (Roulette 42023) 1968

CELLOPHANE SYMPHONY (Roulette 42030) 1969

BEST OF . . . (Roulette 42040) 1970

*TRAVELIN' (Roulette 42044) 1970

*TOMMY JAMES (Roulette 42051) 1971

*CHRISTIAN OF THE WORLD (Roulette 42062) 1972



Hanky Panky/Thunderbolt (Red Fox 11 0) 1965

Hanky Panky/Thunderbolt (Roulette 4686) 1966

Say I Am (What I Am)/Lots Of Pretty Girls (Roulette 4695) 1966

It's Only Love/Don't Let My Love Pass You By (Roulette 4710) 1966

It's Only Love/Yah Yah (Roulette 4710) 1966

I Think We're Alone Now/Gone, Gone, Gone (Roulette 4720) 1967

Mirage/Run Run Baby Run (Roulette 4736) 1967

I Like The Way/Baby I Can't Take It No More (Roulette 4756) 1967

Gettin' Together/Real Girl (Roulette 4762) 1967

Out Of The Blue/Love's Closing In On Me (Roulette 4775) 1967

Get Out Now/Wish It Were True (Roulette 7000) 1968

Mony Mony/One Two Three And I Fell (Roulette 7008) 1968

Somebody Cares/Do Unto Me (Roulette 7016) 1968

Do Something To Me/Gingerbread Man (Roulette 7024) 1968

Crimson And Clover/(I'm) Taken (Roulette 7028) 1968

Crimson And Clover/Some Kind Of Love (Roulette 7028) 1968

Sweet Cherry Wine/Breakaway (Roulette 7039) 1969

Crystal Blue Persuasion/I'm Alive (Roulette 7050) 1969

Ball Of Fire/Makin'Good Time (Roulette 7060) 1969

She/Loved One (Roulette 7066) 1969

Gotta Get Back To You/Red Rover (Roulette 7071) 1970

Come To Me/Talkin'And Signifying (Roulette 7076) 1970

* Ball And Chain/Candy Maker (Roulette 7084) 1970

* Church Street Soul Revival/Draggin'The Line (Roulette 7093) 1970

* Adrienne/Light Of Day (Roulette 7100) 1971

* Draggin' The Line/Bits And Pieces (Roulette 7103) 1971

* I'm Coming Home/Sing Sing Sing (Roulette 7110) 1971

* Nothing To Hide/Walk A Country Mile (Roulette 7114) 1971

* Tell' Em Willie Boy's A Comin'/40 Days And 40 Nights (Roulette 7119) 1972

*Cat's Eye In The Window/Dark Is The Night (Roulette 7126) 1972

* Love Song/Kingston Highway (Roulette 7130) 1972

* Celebration/The Last One To Know (Roulette 7135) 1972

* Boo, Boo Don'tcha Be Blue/Rings And Things (Roulette 7140) 1973

* Calico/Hey, My Lady (Roulette 7147) 1973

Now, when you think you're alone, check out this web-site:

Official Tommy James Web Site