Tommy James and the Shondells is an American rock and roll group that was most active in 1960s. They had two number one singles in the U.S. â âHanky Pankyâ (1966) and âCrimson and Cloverâ (1968) â but also released five other top ten hits, including âI Think Weâre Alone Now,â âMony Mony,â and âCrystal Blue Persuasionâ.
The band initially formed in 1959 as Tom and the Tornadoes, with the then only 12-year-old James as lead singer. In 1963, he renamed the band The Shondells, after one of Jamesâs idols, guitarist Troy Shondell. Later in 1963, they recorded the Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich song âHanky Pankyâ (originally by The Raindrops), which failed to chart. The Shondells disbanded thereafter, until James reformed them early 1966 with Gray, Vale, Rosman and Lucia. Their first single was a re-recording of âHanky Pankyâ, which surprisingly became a national number one hit in June 1966. At first, Tommy James and his Shondells played straightforward rock and roll (as their first hit proves) but soon became involved in the budding bubblegum music movement. One of their main songwriters these days was Ritchie Cordell who gave them the hits âI Think Weâre Alone Nowâ (later a hit for Tiffany) and âMirageâ in 1967.
From 1968, the group members tried themselves as songwriters, with James and Lucia penning the psychedelic classic âCrimson and Cloverâ. The song was also completely recorded and mixed by the two of them, with James taking over vocal duties and playing all instruments, and features the then remarkable use of electronic gadgetry such as vocoders and phasers.