Friday, August 26, 2011

Tommy James - Part Two

Wow ...

What a past couple of years THIS man has had!!!

Tommy James is hotter than ever right now thanks to his best selling autobiography, "Me, The Mob And the Music" ... in fact, he recently remarked that this book was going to be bigger than ANY record he ever made ... plans are already underway to turn it into both a major motion picture AND a Broadway Musical ... so we figured that this would be the PERFECT time to feature one of Tommy's long Forgotten Hits.  (Coupled with yesterday's inquiry about the origins of his hit "Mony Mony", this has also provided us with the perfect opportunity to put together a Tommy James Triple Play here in Forgotten Hits!)

At the end of 1968, Tommy recorded what would become the biggest single of his career ... "Crimson And Clover", with its "psychedelic bubblegum" flavor didn't sound like ANYTHING else out on the charts at the time ... and it immediately went to #1 on all of the major music charts.

Now by this time, Tommy was no stranger to pop chart success ... prior to "Crimson And Clover" reaching #1, James had already scored Top Ten National Hits with "Hanky Panky" (#1, 1966); "I Think We're Alone Now" (#3, 1967); "Mirage" (#10, 1967); and "Mony Mony" (#3, 1968). But the records Tommy released between "Mony Mony" and "Crimson And Clover" did not make The Top Ten ... in fact, "Somebody Cares" only reached #38 on the national charts ... and its follow-up, "Do Something To Me", stopped at #24.  Although it's a great song, it's just NOT one of those that you hear on oldies radio much anymore ... if at all!

"Do Something To Me" was recorded very much in the same "party" vein as "Mony Mony" ... in fact, you can hear a little bit of that "I love ya Mony, Mony, Mony" feeling going on right near the end. The song was first recorded (without chart success) by ? and the Mysterians ... and Tommy's arrangement copied it nearly note for note.

If it looked momentarily that Tommy and the Shondells' recording career was in a tailspin, that feeling didn't last for very long ... the success of "Crimson And Clover" quickly sparked two more Top Ten Hits ... "Sweet Cherry Wine" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" peaked at #7 and #2 respectively later in 1969. Tommy James' final Top Ten Hit came as a solo artist in 1971 when "Draggin' The Line" went all the way to #2 on The Cash Box Chart.

Today we give you Tommy's 1968 Forgotten Hit "Do Something To Me" ... along with the ? and the Mysterians original version.

? and the Mysterians have LONG been delegated as One Hit Wonders by Oldies Radio ... and what a HUGE hit it was!!!
"96 Tears" topped the charts in 1966 ... but the truth is that their follow-up hit ALSO made The National Top 40, peaking at #22 in both Billboard and Cash Box Magazine in the Spring of 1967.

"I Need Somebody" certainly qualifies as a Forgotten Hit ... and maybe we'll feature that one in another edition of Forgotten Hits one of these days ... but since today we're concentrating on ? and the Mysterians inspiring OTHER artists with their music, let's feature instead the ORIGINAL version of "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby", a #51 Hit for the band in 1967 that became a HUGE Radio Hit for Smash Mouth when they cut it some thirty years later! (There's just something about that cheezy Farfisa Organ sound that screams "hit record" for me!!! lol Think "Wooly Bully" by Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs, "Incense And Peppermints" by The Strawberry Alarm Clock ... your all-time favorite psychedelic song ... and "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John ... heck Sly Stone even played a Farfisa Organ at Woodstock for goodness sake!!!)