#771: Do Something To Me by Tommy James And The Shondells
Thomas Gregory Jackson was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1947. From infancy his mother recalled the only thing she could do to stop him from crying was to turn on the radio where he’d listen to the music. Living in South Bend, Indiana, when he was ten Tommy got his first guitar. When he was fourteen, he formed a rock ‘n roll band called the Tornadoes. They were the namesake of a popular instrumental group from the UK who had a #1 hit that year titled “Telstar.” The family moved to Niles, Michigan, and at the age of 17 Tommy was going by the stage name of Tommy James. He was the lead singer of The Shondells. In 1964, they recorded a B-side recorded in 1963 by The Raindrops called the “Hanky Panky.” The song was composed by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich of Brill Building fame. Tommy James’ version charted well in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. However, Snap Records had no national distribution, so the single failed to chart elsewhere. However, it in April, 1966, “Hanky Panky” was play-listed on KDKA AM in Pittsburg and soon after in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Tommy James’ band, the Shondells, had split up in 1965. In order to tour on the strength of his surprise #1 hit single, Tommy James found a group playing in the Pittsburg area called the Raconteurs. They were guitarist Joe Kessler, keyboard player Ron Rosman, saxophonist George Magura, bass player Mike Vale and drummer Vinnie Pietropaoli. James asked them to become the new Shondells.