Tommy James, born Thomas Jackson, was born on April 29, 1947 in Dayton, Ohio. He was raised in Niles, Michigan. He formed the pop group The Shondells at the age of 12. In 1964 at 17 he recorded…HANKY PANKY on the Snap Records label (102). Then on Red Fox Records (110) in 1966. Credit on the record was given to The Shondells. The original master was sold to Roulette Records after a DJ in Pittsburgh began playing the record and it became very popular.
Tommy who was now living in Pittsburgh, put together a local group, The Raconteurs to become the official Shondells. Members included Eddie Gray, Ronnie Rosman, Mike Vale and Pete Lucia.
On June 4, 1966 HANKY PANKY on Roulette Records (4686) made its Billboard Hot 100 debut. The single became a huge hit charting at #1 on the Hot 100 and crossing over to the Billboard R&B chart at #39. HANKY PANKY sold over 1 million copies and Tommy James And The Shondells were awarded their first “Gold Record”. HANKY PANKY was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The flip-side of the single was…THUNDERBOLT, it did not chart.
Tommy James And The Shondells would chart 19 Billboard Hot 100 single records between 1966 and 1970. CRISMSON AND CLOVER released in December of 1968 would become the groups second #1 hit record. In 1970 Tommy James would began a solo career that included 13 more Hot 100 hits, a total of 32 charted hits. He charted a #4 hit single in 1971…DRAGGIN’ THE LINE and in 1981 he charted a Billboard Adult Contemporary, #1 hit…THREE TIMES IN LOVE on Millennium Records (11785), it charted at #19 on the Hot 100.
Between 1966 and 1981 Tommy James And The Shondells and Tommy James solo charted 3 #1 hit singles, 9 Top 10 hits and 18 Top 40 hits…in a fabulous career…One of the biggest groups of the late 1960s, Tommy James And The Shondells…their music lives in the, “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL”.
Till the next time—Joe