During the “Bubble gum” pop era – 1996 to 1969 – singer Tommy James with his group The Shondells amassed 14 top 40 hits. Some of those hits are still played on “classic” rock radio stations; as well as television programs and in films.
Recently BMI surprised James by awarding him five BMI Million Air Awards for five of his songs that have been played at least one million times on radio stations since their release. In all the five songs – “Crimson and Clover”, “Mony Mony”, “Crystal Blue Persuasion”, “Draggin’ the Line”, and “Tighter, Tighter” which was penned by James and recorded by Alive ‘n’ Kickin’ –have been played a total of 22 million times. Only air play on radio stations within the US were counted.
Along with his millions of radio air plays, James has had his music appear in dozens of movies and TV shows including “My Name is Earl”, “Men of a Certain Age”, “Boston Legal”, “Criminal Minds”, “Moneyball”, “The Roommate”, “90210”, “Life on Mars”, “The Nanny Diaries”, “Zodiac”, “We Are Marshall”, “Cold Case”, “Veronica Mars”, “Crossing Jordan”, “Frequency”, “High Fidelity”, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”, “Apollo 11”, “Forrest Gump”, “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”, “Beverly Hills, 90210”, and “The Wonder Years”.
Thomas Gregory Jackson got an early introduction to music when his grandfather gave him a ukulele when young Tommy was only three years old. By age four, Tommy was strutting his stuff as a child model. At age nine came the guitar and only two years later he was playing the electric guitar. James first band came at age 13 when he joined up with some school friends; the group would later become the original line up for the Shondells.
Throughout his career, James has sold more than 100 million records, 23 gold singles, nine gold albums, and nine platinum albums. Long before there was an MTV or the music video, James and his Shondells became one of the first groups to create a video with their “mini film” to “Mony, Mony”. The band spent months touring as a part of Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign; while bands no longer travel with political campaigns, the politicians play numerous hits on the campaign trail.
In the ensuing years some 300 musical stars have recorded or performed the music of Tommy James including Prince, REM, Sir Tom Jones,, Concrete Blond, , , Santana, and Broken Bells.
With over 50 years in the music business James is showing no signs of slowing downc continuing to tour and perform to sell out crowds.