Tommy James Launches New Weekly Series Exclusively on SiriusXM

Tommy James Photo Credit Love Imagery.jpg

Submitted by Sandy Graham

‘Gettin’ Together with Tommy James’ is now airing on SiriusXM’s ‘60’s on 6 Channel!

SiriusXM presents a new show with Tommy James, the 1960’s hitmaker and leader of the rock band, Tommy James and the Shondells. Gettin’ Together with Tommy James will feature Tommy playing ‘60s hits and some eclectic surprises too while sharing his personal memories of the stars and the music of the era.

Tommy James, singer, songwriter, producer and musician, will host a new weekly series, Gettin’ Together with Tommy James, on Sunday nights on SiriusXM’s ‘60’s on 6 channel. This is the latest guest-curated show to be added to 60’s on 6, with other popular programs including Something Good, hosted by Peter Noone, singer and founder of Herman’s Hermits.

Tommy James' road to superstardom began when a nightclub DJ in Pittsburgh discovered a two-year-old record by "The Shondells" and played it at his weekend dances. The crowd response was so overwhelmingly positive that radio deejays started spinning it and an enterprising record distributor bootlegged it, selling 80,000 copies in ten days. By May of 1966 "Hanky Panky" was the number one record in Pittsburgh and Tommy James was a sensation.

A Pittsburgh promoter tracked Tommy down at his home in Niles, Michigan and urged him to "come on down!" Unable to put the original group back together, Tommy hired a hot P-burgh R&B bar band to replace them. Two weeks later he signed a record deal with Roulette Records. The label, in turn, put their promotion team to work on "Hanky Panky" and made it the summer smash of '66. Thus began one of the longest strings of nonstop hits in recording industry history!

Tommy James promptly followed "Hanky Panky" with two more million-selling singles - "Say I Am (What I Am)" and "It's Only Love" - and the Hanky Panky album, which went gold just four weeks after its release.

With three hits under his belt, Tommy brought in producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell, and the three produced seven back-to-back smash singles: "I Think We're Alone Now," "Mirage," "I Like The Way," "Gettin' Together," "Out Of The Blue," "Get Out Now," and the party rock rave-up "Mony Mony." The Gentry/Cordell/James team also produced three platinum albums.

In 1968, Tommy became one of the first artists to experiment with music videos, creating a mini-film around "Mony Mony" for theatrical showings, thirteen years before MTV hit the airwaves.

After spending three months on the road that year with Vice President Hubert Humphrey — the first time that a rock artist had been asked to campaign for a presidential candidate — TJ took over the creative reins of his career by writing and producing the groundbreaking "Crimson and Clover" single and album. (Humphrey wrote the C&C album liner notes, another first.)

Released in early 1969, it went multi-platinum, and spawned two more monster hits: "Do Something To Me" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion." A fourth song from the LP, "Sugar On Sunday," rose high on the charts in a cover version by The Clique.

Tommy followed up the Crimson and Clover album with Cellophane Symphony, which featured the newly developed Moog Synthesizer and included yet another Top Ten single, "Sweet Cherry Wine."

Tommy James was on a roll! Not only did the total sales of his four 1969 hits top those of the Beatles that year, his second volume of greatest hits - The Best Of Tommy James and The Shondells (featuring "Ball of Fire") – also appeared and ultimately sold over 10 million copies.

Alone among his 1960s contemporaries, Tommy had successfully made the transition from a Top 40 pop singer to a respected classic rock album artist.

In 1970 he released the gritty rock 'n' roll Travelin' album (thought by many to be the band's best work) which contained the gold singles "She" and "Gotta Get Back To You,". Tommy then took a break.

Upon his return, Tommy wrote and produced the million-selling single "Tighter, Tighter" for the group Alive And Kickin'. Over the next four years, Tommy scored an additional 12 chart singles, among them "Come To Me," "Ball and Chain," "I'm Comin' Home," and "Draggin' The Line." During that time he also produced the albums Tommy James, Christian Of The World, and My Head, My Bed And My Red Guitar; the latter of which he recorded in Nashville with an all-star cast that featured ace guitarist Pete Drake and Elvis Presley sidemen, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana.

Alone among his 1960s contemporaries, Tommy had successfully made the transition from a Top 40 pop singer to a respected classic rock album artist.

Meanwhile, Tommy's songs have become pop culture classics and were covered by everyone from punk rockers to country icons.

In 1987, Tiffany and Billy Idol's versions of " Think We're Alone Now" and "Mony and Mony" respectively battled for the top spot on the pop charts for a solid month and each eventually went to #1. It was the first time in music history that two cover versions of songs by the same artist hit #1 back to back. 

That was just the beginning. In the following years, artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Prince, Dolly Parton, Santana, R.E.M., Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Billy Idol, Tom Jones, The Killers and many others have recorded his songs and performed them live. 

In 2006, Tommy marked the start of his fifth decade as a recording artist with the release of a fan-pleasing, career-spanning retrospective 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006) which included all 48 of his singles. Next came his I Love Christmas album.

His autobiography - ME, THE MOB AND THE MUSIC - became a bestseller for Simon & Schuster and garnered rave reviews from critics and industry insiders. It was chosen by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 25 greatest rock 'n' roll memoirs of all time, placing #12 on the list.

This tale of Tommy's career and his tumultuous relationship with the 'Godfather' of the music industry, Morris Levy, is currently in pre-production for a major motion picture, the project being spearheaded by producer Barbara De Fina, whose credits include Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, Colour of Money, The Grifters, The Age of Innocence and Silence. With top Hollywood screenwriter Matthew Stone completing the screenplay, Tommy's story took a critical step forward in the always lengthy process in the development process.

Today Tommy James is still in high gear. He signed an agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing to represent his self-published songs and the accompanying masters. This development means that all of Tommy's songs are now available to be pitched for film, television, advertising and other placement by the largest music publishing house in the world.

Over the years, the response has never wained for Tommy's music being featured in national ad campaigns for the likes of Nissan and Kohl's as well as having prominent placements in movie and television soundtracks including 16 Cloverfield Lane, Moneyball, Pirate Radio, Austin Powers, We Are Marshall, The Italian Job, Cape Fear, Forrest Gump, Crowded, Almost Human, The Goldbergs, Aquarius, Boston Legal, My Name is Earl, Men of a Certain Age and Criminal Minds. "Crystal  Blue Persuasion" garnered the spot on the 2013 season finale of Breaking Bad and The Simpsons BB parody episode.

To date, Tommy has sold over a hundred million records worldwide and has received five BMI 'Million Air' Awards in recognition of 22 million broadcast spins of his songs.

Tommy is still rockin' and performing his many timeless hits to sellout crowds across the USA and celebrating his 50th year in the music business by recording a new album.

Now the indefatigable Tommy James takes to the airwaves to share his timeless songs and stories with his fans around the world.

Gettin’ Together with Tommy James premiered on Sunday, February 4, 5 – 8 PM ET.

For more visit www.tommyjames.com