Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells

Now in paperback, after five hardcover printings, Tommy James’s wild and entertaining true story of his career—part rock & roll fairytale, part valentine to a bygone era, and part mob epic—that “reads like a music-industry version of Goodfellas” (The Denver Post).

Everyone knows the hits: “Hanky Panky,” “Mony Mony,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” All of these songs, which epitomize great pop music of the late 1960s, are now widely used in television and film and have been covered by a diverse group of artists from Billy Idol to Tiffany to R.E.M. Just as compelling as the music itself is the life Tommy James lived while making it.

James tells the incredible story, revealing his complex and sometimes terrifying relationship with Roulette Records and Morris Levy, the legendary Godfather of the music business. Me, the Mob, and the Music is a fascinating portrait of this swaggering, wildly creative era of rock ’n’ roll, when the hits kept coming and payola and the strong-arm tactics of the Mob were the norm, and what it was like, for better or worse, to be in the middle of it.

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3 thoughts on “Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells”

  1. Country Bumpkin Meets Music Mafia: A Slew Of #1 Hit Records Ensue A very enjoyable look inside the NYC mob run record industry under the notorious leadership of Morris Levy. James was a young, naive, star struck kid from the Midwest who loved making music. Getting paid was (at best) an after thought. And that explains why Levy liked him. Otherwise, he would either be dead, or seriously maimed and definitely financially destitute. Many other singers and song writers who demanded payment were less fortunate. Some of the names are famous, others not so…

  2. The Music Went Gold, but the Price was Silver So, you can sing “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” You’ve danced to “Mony, Mony” and your version of “Hanky Panky” is surely radio-good. You still don’t have the first clue about Tommy James’ life and career, as the man who created those feel-good sounds on the radio during the best years of your life. Toss out any preconceived notions.Tommy James and coauthor Martin Fitzpatrick spin a tale that is generally shocking and countermands the scenes of peace, love, brotherhood, and joy, so…

  3. The Life of A Rock and Roll Star I suppose it’s hard to write anything new in a review with 47 previous ones. However, if you enjoy the music of Tommy James and the Shondells you will find that the life of a rock and roll star is not all its cracked up to be. We only see the performers as they entertain us in a concert, but we know little or nothing about their private lives, insecurities, infidelities, and stress and strain involved that takes place behind the scenes.All too often alcohol and other drugs are…

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