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Tommy James and the Shondells

Rock and Roll Group; Greatest prominence was in the late 1960's

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Tommy James and the Shondells Biography

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.

Unable to put the original group back together, Tommy hired a hot P-burgh R&B bar band to become the Shondells. Two weeks later he and this new group signed a record deal with Roulette Records in New York. 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.

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. With three hits under his belt, Tommy brought in producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell who, over the next two years, produced seven more 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.” The Gentry/Cordell/James team also produced three platinum albums.

In 1968, Tommy and The Shondells became one of the first acts to experiment with music videos, creating a mini-film around “Mony Mony” for theatrical showings, thirteen years before MTV hit the airwaves. After spending three months on the road that year with Vice President Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign, TJ and company took over the creative reins of their career by writing and producing their next record, the groundbreaking “Crimson and Clover” single and the accompanying album. Released in early 1969, it went multi-platinum, and spawned two more monster hits for the group: “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. The Shondells 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.”

Alone among his 1960s contemporaries, Tommy had successfully made the transition from a Top 40 pop singer to a respected classic rock album artist.

In 1970 the group released the gritty rock ‘n’ roll Travelin' album which contained the gold singles “She” and “Gotta Get Back To You.” Thought by many to be the band's best work, this innovative concept album was the last LP Tommy made with the 1960s Shondells. After four hectic years, both he and the band decided to take a break.

When Tommy returned, he did so as a solo act, writing and producing the million selling single “Tighter, Tighter” for the group Alive And Kickin'. Over the next four years Tommy scored an additional 12 chart singles, among them “Come To Me”, “Ball and Chain”, “I’m Comin' Home”, and “Draggin' The Line”. During that time he also produced the albums Tommy James, Christian Of The World, and My Head, My Bed And My Red Guitar; the latter of which he recorded in Nashville with an all-star cast that featured ace guitarist Pete Drake and Elvis Presley sidemen, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana.

Meanwhile Tommy’s songs had become pop culture classics and were being 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, each eventually going number one. It was the first time in music history that two cover versions of songs by the same artist went number one back-to-back.

In 2006, Tommy marked the start of his fifth decade as a recording artist with the release of a fan-pleasing, career-spanning retrospective 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006), which included all 48 of his singles. Next came his I Love Christmas album on CD and a special collector’s vinyl edition.

His autobiography – Me, The Mob and The Music – became a bestseller for Simon & Schuster, garnered rave reviews from critics and industry insiders, and was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 25 greatest rock 'n' roll memoirs of all time (#12).

This thrilling tale of Tommy’s career and his tumultuous relationship with the “Godfather” of the music industry, Morris Levy, is on its way to becoming a major motion picture: a project helmed by producer Barbara De Fina, whose credits include Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, Color of Money, The Grifters, The Age of Innocence, and Hugo. With a top Hollywood screenwriter now on board, Tommy’s story has taken a critical step forward in the always-lengthy film development process. Today, Tommy’s career is still in high gear. With the signing of a new distribution deal with Allegro, his entire recorded catalog will be available around the world.

Tommy has also signed an agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to represent Tommy’s self-published songs and the accompanying masters. This move means that all of Tommy’s songs from 1962 onward are now being pitched for film, television, advertising and other uses by the world’s largest music publishing house.

On the road, he and his Shondells are still rockin’, performing their many timeless hits to sellout crowds across the country. When not on the road, Tommy continues to craft new music geared toward film and television, and develop new business opportunities for his company Aura Entertainment Group.

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  • HOW TO BOOK Tommy James and the Shondells?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Tommy James and the Shondells for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Tommy James and the Shondells, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Tommy James and the Shondells or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Tommy James and the Shondells?

    Booking fees for Tommy James and the Shondells, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Tommy James and the Shondells, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Tommy James and the Shondells?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Tommy James and the Shondells for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Tommy James and the Shondells for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Tommy James and the Shondells or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Tommy James and the Shondells or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Rock and Roll Group; Greatest prominence was in the late 1960's

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Tommy James and the Shondells Biography

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.

Unable to put the original group back together, Tommy hired a hot P-burgh R&B bar band to become the Shondells. Two weeks later he and this new group signed a record deal with Roulette Records in New York. 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.

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. With three hits under his belt, Tommy brought in producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell who, over the next two years, produced seven more 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.” The Gentry/Cordell/James team also produced three platinum albums.

In 1968, Tommy and The Shondells became one of the first acts to experiment with music videos, creating a mini-film around “Mony Mony” for theatrical showings, thirteen years before MTV hit the airwaves. After spending three months on the road that year with Vice President Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign, TJ and company took over the creative reins of their career by writing and producing their next record, the groundbreaking “Crimson and Clover” single and the accompanying album. Released in early 1969, it went multi-platinum, and spawned two more monster hits for the group: “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. The Shondells 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.”

Alone among his 1960s contemporaries, Tommy had successfully made the transition from a Top 40 pop singer to a respected classic rock album artist.

In 1970 the group released the gritty rock ‘n’ roll Travelin' album which contained the gold singles “She” and “Gotta Get Back To You.” Thought by many to be the band's best work, this innovative concept album was the last LP Tommy made with the 1960s Shondells. After four hectic years, both he and the band decided to take a break.

When Tommy returned, he did so as a solo act, writing and producing the million selling single “Tighter, Tighter” for the group Alive And Kickin'. Over the next four years Tommy scored an additional 12 chart singles, among them “Come To Me”, “Ball and Chain”, “I’m Comin' Home”, and “Draggin' The Line”. During that time he also produced the albums Tommy James, Christian Of The World, and My Head, My Bed And My Red Guitar; the latter of which he recorded in Nashville with an all-star cast that featured ace guitarist Pete Drake and Elvis Presley sidemen, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana.

Meanwhile Tommy’s songs had become pop culture classics and were being 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, each eventually going number one. It was the first time in music history that two cover versions of songs by the same artist went number one back-to-back.

In 2006, Tommy marked the start of his fifth decade as a recording artist with the release of a fan-pleasing, career-spanning retrospective 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006), which included all 48 of his singles. Next came his I Love Christmas album on CD and a special collector’s vinyl edition.

His autobiography – Me, The Mob and The Music – became a bestseller for Simon & Schuster, garnered rave reviews from critics and industry insiders, and was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 25 greatest rock 'n' roll memoirs of all time (#12).

This thrilling tale of Tommy’s career and his tumultuous relationship with the “Godfather” of the music industry, Morris Levy, is on its way to becoming a major motion picture: a project helmed by producer Barbara De Fina, whose credits include Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, Color of Money, The Grifters, The Age of Innocence, and Hugo. With a top Hollywood screenwriter now on board, Tommy’s story has taken a critical step forward in the always-lengthy film development process. Today, Tommy’s career is still in high gear. With the signing of a new distribution deal with Allegro, his entire recorded catalog will be available around the world.

Tommy has also signed an agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to represent Tommy’s self-published songs and the accompanying masters. This move means that all of Tommy’s songs from 1962 onward are now being pitched for film, television, advertising and other uses by the world’s largest music publishing house.

On the road, he and his Shondells are still rockin’, performing their many timeless hits to sellout crowds across the country. When not on the road, Tommy continues to craft new music geared toward film and television, and develop new business opportunities for his company Aura Entertainment Group.

Tommy James and the Shondells Videos

  • Tommy James & The Shondells - Crystal Blue Persuasion - 1969 ...

FAQs on booking Tommy James and the Shondells

  • How to book Tommy James and the Shondells?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Tommy James and the Shondells for both live and virtual events for over 20 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Tommy James and the Shondells, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Tommy James and the Shondells or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Tommy James and the Shondells?

    Booking fees for Tommy James and the Shondells, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Tommy James and the Shondells, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Tommy James and the Shondells?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Tommy James and the Shondells for clients worldwide for more than 20 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Tommy James and the Shondells for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Tommy James and the Shondells or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Tommy James and the Shondells or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Tommy James and the Shondells is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Tommy James and the Shondells for your event is available upon request. Tommy James and the Shondells generally travels from NJ, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Quiet Life, The Zombies, Set It Off, The Hunna and Kings of Chaos. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Tommy James and the Shondells for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Tommy James and the Shondells Speaker Videos

  • Tommy James & The Shondells - Crystal Blue Persuasion - 1969 ...

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Speakers Similar to Tommy James and the Shondells

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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