December 19, 2007

You say the beating of your hearts is the only sound, but I hear crickets.

Tommy James is confronted with an inconsistency in the 4-decades-old recording of "I Think We're Alone Now." He doesn't really have an answer to this fabulous pop-culture gotcha — which I heard a few minutes ago on XM radio "60s on 6" — so he drifts over into telling the story how he got his first hit, which wasn't "I Think We're Alone Now" but the almost equally sublime "Hanky Panky." This story has fascinating resonance with the issues we're facing today with illegal uploading and downloading on the internet. It turns out that Tommy and his band were stuck as a local band somewhere between Detroit and Chicago. Then one day he got a phone call telling him his song had hit #1 in Pittsburgh. How could that be? Someone had made 80,000 bootleg copies of the single and they sold right out. And that's how he got his start.

Can I infer that Tommy James and the Shondells will appreciate my embedding this here?



ADDED: Here's the group's official site. Buy some of their stuff.

AND: Fans of the old — defunct? — Audible Althouse podcast will remember — episode #64 — what my personal favorite Tommy James song is. Hey, I want to suggest it as a campaign song. Maybe for Barack Obama.

19 comments:

john said...

Ann, look at his tour photos. The hair, the nose. Except for a few extra pounds ...... it's, it's Tiny Tim.

(Rest his soul.)

Middle Class Guy said...

AHHHHHHHHHHH,
When music was music.

Meade said...

"Hey, I want to suggest it as a campaign song. Maybe for Barack Obama"

"Look over yonder... Crystal [meth] persuasion..."

LordSomber said...

"Ball of Fire" was always my fave. Still got the old scratched 45.

rhhardin said...

I found out a few years ago that there were gender-specific teen music stations in the 70s. It turns out I liked the girls' songs.

The voice as an instrument was always what I wanted. So, in the same taste, earlier in the 60s it was Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell. Who cared about the lyrics.

The more accompanying noise, the less classically music it was, the less I liked it.

Still true today.

Trooper York said...

Andrew Young has admitted that he is in fact Ronnie Spector's "Baby."

reader_iam said...

Eh, now don't be a tease, Althouse. It's mean to those among us who were big podcast fans (and would willingly trade in all the vlogs, past and future, for their return; I'm not trying to be rude or offensive: it's just my honest, personal preference).

George said...

It's Huck's theme song...

It's about being Born Again.

Look over yonder what do you see
The sun is a-risin' most definitely
A new day is comin' people are changin'
Ain't it beautiful crystal blue persuasion

Better get ready gonna see the light
Love, love is the answer and that's all right
So don't you give up now so easy to find
Just look to your soul and open your mind

Crystal blue persuasion, mm-hmm
It's a new vibration
Crystal blue persuasion, crystal
Blue persuasion
Maybe tomorrow when He looks down
Every green field and every town
All of his children every nation
There'll be peace and good brotherhood
Crystal blue persuasion
Crystal blue persuasion.....

Dr. said...

Maybe I'm just being dumb and missing it (and it won't be the first time) but: what's the inconsistency/gotcha about the "I Think We're Alone Now" recording? I can't tell from the post and I'm kind of curious..

Ann Althouse said...

Dr., look at the title of the post, referring to the song lyric and the sound on the recording representing beating hearts, but also crickets.

AlphaLiberal said...

Hey! My baby does the hankie pankyie, too!

Dr. said...

Aha! I ever noticed that before. I think crickets = silence is actually pretty nice, compact audible joke, rather than a mere inconsistency, even if it mixes up two scenarios. Or at least, I'm enjoying thinking of it like that. I guess the narrator and his gal are out in the woods somewhere when they get away into the night and tumble to the ground; plus there's an audience that is unimpressed and withholds applause...

Ann Althouse said...

I agree that crickets = silence is the best argument that it's not inconsistent, but Tommy didn't make that argument. Wish he had.

SMGalbraith said...

Now this is fun; stupid yes, but fun: Mony mony

SMG

Bender said...

It turns out I liked the girls' songs. The voice as an instrument was always what I wanted. . . The more accompanying noise, the less classically music it was, the less I liked it.

Then you most certainly should like Anonymous 4 and similar all-female a cappella chant/polyphany groups. Voices of Ascension are good too.

Dr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. said...

Ah well, Tommy's just the singer anyway. Is Bo Gentry still alive? They should ask him...

Beth said...

Bender, excellent recommendation. I'd add Sequentia to the list.

John Kindley said...

"It turns out that Tommy and his band were stuck as a local band somewhere between Detroit and Chicago."

Yeah, my stepmom claims to have watched them play in some garage here in South Bend, Indiana when she was a kid. Guess I believe her now.