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Tommy James & the Shondells: Created to Succeed!

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Tommy James & the Shondells is one of the main examples of the great rock and roll that could be enjoyed in the late 50’s, but mainly, during the decade of the 1960’s.  Nevertheless, this band played, besides rock and roll, bubblegum pop (bubblegum music and bubblegum rock), which is a genre that offers catchy melodies, simple harmonies, repetitive riffs, three-chord structures and light lyrics about courtship and romance.  At the very beginning, this band was called just “The Shondells” and its lead singer was a 12-year-old boy named James.

The origin of their name lies, mainly, in the great admiration James had for the guitarist called Troy Shondell.  In 1963, they recorded a single that was intended to make them become well-known, but, unfortunately, it did not get to chart, so the group got disbanded.  Nonetheless, three years later, the band became Tommy James & the Shondells in spite of the fact that it was made up of different members.  They were, Tommy James, who was in charge of the vocals and guitar; Eddie Gray, the lead guitarist; Mike Vale, who played the bass guitar, the keyboardist Ronnie Rosman and Peter Lucia, the drummer.

As so, they released a single, which would become a nationwide hit in 1966, “Hanky Panky”.  Since the band got consolidated again, they were only performing rock and roll, but they got more interested on the bubblegum style with the time.  Tommy James & the Shondell’s hit “I Think We’re Alone Now” was written by Ritchie Cordell, one of the most famous songwriters at that moment.  Nevertheless, in 1968, the band debuted as songwriters with their song “Crimson and Clover”.  In this way, they continued being a unified, flourishing band until 1970, when James decided to drop out since he did not want to continue touring.  One year later, James started with his solo career, but later on, got involved in the music business.

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