Tommy James & The Shondells
July 6 @ 8:00 am - October 7 @ 5:00 pm$35
Saturday July 6, 2019
Tommy James’ road to superstardom began when a nightclub DJ in Pittsburgh discovered a two-year-old record by “The Shondells” and played it at his weekend dances. The crowd response was so overwhelmingly positive that radio deejays started spinning it and an enterprising record distributor bootlegged it, selling 80,000 copies in ten days. By May of 1966 “Hanky Panky” was the number one record in Pittsburgh and Tommy James was a sensation.
A Pittsburgh promoter tracked Tommy down at his home in Niles, Michigan and urged him to “come on down!” Unable to put the original group back together, Tommy hired a hot P-burgh R&B bar band to replace them. Two weeks later he signed a record deal with Roulette Records. The label, in turn, put their promotion team to work on “Hanky Panky” and made it the summer smash of ’66. Thus began one of the longest strings of nonstop hits in recording industry history!
Tommy James & The Shondells promptly followed “Hanky Panky” with two more million selling singles – “Say I Am (What I Am)” and “It’s Only Love” – and the Hanky Panky album, which went gold just four weeks after its release. The band then produced seven back-to-back smash singles: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage,” “I Like The Way,” “Gettin’ Together,” “Out Of The Blue,” “Get Out Now,” and the party rock rave-up “Mony Mony.”
In 1969 “Crimson and Clover” went multi-platinum, and spawned two more monster hits, “Do Something To Me” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” A fourth song from the LP, “Sugar On Sunday,” rose high on the charts in a cover version by The Clique. Tommy followed up the Crimson and Clover album with Cellophane Symphony, which featured the newly developed Moog Synthesizer and included yet another Top Ten single, “Sweet Cherry Wine.”
Tommy’s songs became pop culture classics and were covered by everyone from punk rockers to country icons. In 1987, Tiffany and Billy Idol’s versions of “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Mony Mony” respectively battled for the top spot on the pop chart for a solid month, and each eventually went to #1. It was the first time in music history that two cover versions of songs by the same artist hit #1 back-to-back.
To date, Tommy has sold over a hundred million records worldwide, and has received five BMI “Million Air” awards in recognition of 22 million broadcast spins of his songs. Today Tommy is still rockin’, performing his many timeless hits to sellout crowds across the country, and celebrating his 50th year in the music business by recording a new album.