The newly reissued two-CD Tommy James & the Shondells anthology, 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006), collects every single by the group and by James as a solo artist during those years, each in its original version and format (i.e., mono or stereo). And its bonus track, 1962’s “Long Ponytail,” reaches back even further, to James’ pre-Shondells garage-rock group, Tom & the Tornadoes.
“Long Ponytail” was, indeed, James’ debut as a recording artist, 60 years ago now — when he was still in high school and still known by his birth name, Tommy Jackson. You can listen to it below.
James lived in Niles, Mich. at the time. He moved to New Jersey in the early ’70s and has been here ever since, and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2017.
The anthology, originally released in 2008 and dedicated to Shondells drummer Peter Lucia (who died in 1987), also includes hits such as “Hanky Panky,” “Mony Mony,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Crystal Blue Peruasion,” “Gettin’ Together” and “Draggin’ the Line,” and has 48 tracks, overall.
Highlights among the other tracks include the gritty “Gotta Get Back to You,” a minor hit in 1970; “Tell ‘Em Willie Boy’s a-Comin’,” a story song from 1972 with a unique country-funk sound; and “Glory, Glory,” a fervent anthem of religious salvation from 1974.
To order the album, or get more information about James, visit tommyjames.com.
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