Tommy James and the Shondells

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Tommy James and the Shondells are an American rock and roll group whose period of greatest success came in the late 1960s. They had two number one singles in the U.S. — "Hanky Panky" (1966) and "Crimson and Clover" (1969) — and also released five other top ten hits; "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mony Mony", "Crystal Blue Persuasion", "Mirage", and "Sweet Cherry Wine".



The band initially formed in 1959 as Tom and the Tornadoes, with the then only 12-year-old Tommy Jackson as lead singer in Niles, Michigan. In 1963, Jackson re-named the band The Shondells because the name "sounded good". The next year, they recorded the Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich song, "Hanky Panky" (originally a B-side by The Raindrops[2]). Jackson's version sold respectably in the South Bend, Indiana market of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, but the record label, Snap Records, had no national distribution, and although the band toured the eastern mid-west, no other market took to the song. The single failed to chart, and the Shondells disbanded.

Two years later, a Pittsburgh radio station unearthed the forgotten single and touted it as an "exclusive." Listener response encouraged the station to play it regularly. Another Pittsburgh disc jockey played his copy of the single at various dance parties, and demand soared. Bootleggers responded by printing up 80,000 black market copies of the recording, which were sold in Pennsylvania stores.[1]

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