Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Tommy James and the Shondells - Gettin' Together (1967)

Tommy James and the Shondells - Gettin' Together (1967)

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Tommy James and the Shondells - Gettin' Together

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At first, Tommy James and "his" Shondells played straightforward rock and roll, but they soon became associated with the budding bubblegum music movement. James disputes this, saying that "bubblegum" producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz approached his record company (run by Morris Levy) looking for songwriting jobs. Levy spurned Kasenetz and Katz, so they went elsewhere and became successful with such bands as 1910 Fruitgum Company. Bubblegum is generally traced to the success of the 1968 songs "Simon Says" by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Tommy rejects the "bubblegum" label for his music.[8] In early 1967 songwriter Ritchie Cordell gave them the No. 4 hit "I Think We're Alone Now" and the No. 10 hit "Mirage". In 1968, James had a No. 3 hit with "Mony Mony". Co-written by James, Cordell, Cordell's writing partner Bo Gentry, and Bobby Bloom, "Mony Mony" reached No. 3 in the US and was a British No. 1 in 1968. The title was inspired by a flashing sign for Mutual Of New York visible from James's apartment balcony in New York. He followed it with the song "Do Something to Me". However, James was labeled as a bubblegum pop artist, which he hated. Therefore, he changed his style to psychedelic rock.

From late 1968, the group began writing their own songs, with James and Lucia penning the psychedelic tinged classic "Crimson and Clover". The song was recorded and mixed by Bruce Staple, with James tackling vocal duties and playing many of the instruments himself, and featured the creative use of studio effects such as delay and tremolo. The group had toured with Vice President Hubert Humphrey during his presidential campaign. Humphrey showed his appreciation by writing the liner notes for the Crimson & Clover album.

Further hits included "Sweet Cherry Wine", "Crystal Blue Persuasion", and "Ball of Fire", all from 1969. They also produced "Sugar on Sunday", later covered by the Clique. As the band embraced the sounds of psychedelia, they were invited to perform at the Woodstock concert but declined.

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