1967 Tommy James and the Shondells – Getting Together
Tommy Jackson was born in Ohio and grew up in Michigan. He joined his first band, the Echoes, in 1959. The band became Tom and the Tornadoes, and they issued their first single in 1962. Long Pony Tail failed to chart.
The group changed their name to the Shondells in 1964. Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote Hanky Panky and released it as the b-side of one of the singles by their group (the Raindrops). The Shondells recorded the song and released it on Snap Records. While the song did well in the Midwest, the record company did not have national distribution, and the band soon fell apart.
Unbeknownst to Tommy, a dance promoter in Pittsburgh began using his forgotten record at dance parties and local radio stations picked it up as well. Bootleggers sold over 80,000 illegal copies of the single in the Pittsburgh area.
Tommy joined the Koachmen and toured the Midwest, but the group disbanded in early 1966. “Mad Mike” Metro, a disk jockey from Pittsburgh, called Tommy and invited him to come to perform his song live.
Tommy tried to recruit the rest of the Shondells, but none of them were available. He recruited four members of the Raconteurs at the Thunderbird Lounge to be the new Shondells and began performing at dances and on television.
He went to New York City and sold the master tapes of Hanky Panky to Roulette Records. With their help, the record was soon #1 on the Hot 100. He also changed his name to Tommy James.
Two more records by the group entered the top forty by the end of the year. The group’s first two releases in 1967, I Think We’re Alone Now and Mirage, reached the top ten on the Hot 100.
Ritchie Cordell had written and produced I Think We’re Alone Now, and he wrote and co-produced their fourth single in 1966 as well.
The record reached #18 on the Hot 100. The group’s next two singles failed to reach the top forty but bigger success was waiting for the group in 1968 and 1969.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.
You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!