I Think We're Alone Now and Mirage - Tommy James and the Shondells


Tommy James and the Shondells existed from 1966 - 1970 and are most famous for their UK number one the terrific "Mony Mony" and their two US number ones "Hanky Panky" and "Crimson and Clover". Although Tommy didn't like to think so, they were one of the ultimate commercial pop/rock bands, turning out a series of US hit singles that were of uniformly high standard, tuneful, exciting, fun, danceable and led by Jame's terrific vocals. They were also great at imitating the styles of the trending acts of the time such as the Four Seasons and the Beach Boys in singles such as "Get Out Now" and "Out of the Blue" which were none the worse for their artistic kleptomania.

Today we have a double bill, starting with the classic "I think we're alone now" (later a hit for Tiffany (1987) and Girls Aloud (2006) but their original still remains the best version with its relentless bass line and James' infectious vocal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkMFLUXTEwM

In their early days they were fond of that old trick of making the follow up release to a hit almost the same as the hit - on the basis that if you've got a hit formula then milk it! So "Mirage", the follow up to "...Alone Now" is very similar right down to the same chords, but just used in reverse order. Some used to label this bubblegum music, but if it is, it's great bubblegum, and like all US gum, it keeps its flavour for a long time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTUkBSY_AL4

In their five years they had 17 US hits, not a bummer among them. Then James collapsed on stage, was pronounced dead, came round again and decided enough was enough, quit the group and went solo.