Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We think they're alone now

Back in 1987 while we were grooving on John Hiatt's underappreciated album Bring the Family, a strange thing happened on the Billboard chart.  Two of Tommy James and the Shondells' songs were lining up for consecutive runs at No. 1. 

Only thing is, neither song was by the Shondells.

On Nov. 7 Tiffany began a two-week run at No. 1 with her remake of "I Think We're Alone Now," which 20 years earlier the Shondells had taken to No. 4.  Then two weeks later Billy Idol scored a chart-topper with his cover of "Mony Mony," a song originally inspired by the Mutual of New York sign visible from James' NYC apartment.

It's the only time we're aware of that remakes have been back-to-back No. 1s, useful trivia that could win you a bar bet.

(The Shondells had two No. 1s, "Hanky Panky" in '66 and "Crimson and Clover" two years later.)

While Tiffany and Idol enjoyed their No. 1 runs in 1987 with James songs, their music hasn't exactly stood the test of time, not like some landmark albums from '87 such as U2's Joshua Tree, Prince's Sign 'O' the Times, Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel of Love, Paul Simon's Graceland and we would add the aforementioned Bring the Family.  And if you happened to be living in the Twin Cities at the time, a band by the name of the Replacements made you very proud of the local music scene with Pleased to Meet Me.

So don't feel bad if were too preoccupied at the time to notice those Tommy James covers.  In fact, it's quite OK to feel very, very good.

1 comment:

  1. I can remember hundreds of parties, fraternity
    get-togethers, sporting events, back-water bars
    and even weddings at which the song "Mony, Mony"
    was played time and time and time again. And at
    every gathering, the entire audience would join in singing in off-key unison ... and dancing like spastic hockey players without skates.
    "Mony, Mony" (and "I Think We're Alone Now") was written by Ritchie Cordell; the song's chuggling beat, the constant clapping, the call-and response lyrics and the circular structure
    made it the kind of song to which every teenager could relate: a fun-to-dance-to tune about a pretty girl, and it had more’n
    a hint of Promises Unspoken.