Me, the Mob, and the Music

Me, the Mob, and the Music

One Helluva Ride With Tommy James and the Shondells

Book - 2010
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Everyone knows the hits--"Hanky Panky," "Mony Mony," "I Think We're Alone Now," "Crimson and Clover," "Crystal Blue Persuasion." They are nuggets of rock and pop history. However, few know the unlikely story of how these hits came to be..

Tommy James was discovered in 1966 at the age of nineteen, and was pursued by every record mogul in New York until, inexplicably, every offer but one quickly disappeared. James soon found himself in the office of Morris Levy at Roulette Records, where he was handed a pen and ominously promised "one helluva ride." Morris Levy, the legendary "godfather" of the music business, needed some hits and Tommy would provide them..

Me, the Mob, and the Music tells the intimate story of the relationship between the bright-eyed, sweet-faced blonde musician from the heartland and the big, bombastic, brutal bully from the Bronx, who hustled, cheated, and swindled his way to the top of the music industry. It is also the story of this swaggering, wildly creative era of rock 'n' roll when payola and the strong arm tactics of the mob were the norm, and the hits kept coming..
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2010.
ISBN: 9781439128657
Characteristics: vii, 227 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., ports. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Fitzpatrick, Martin 1952-


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Nov 20, 2016

Like James music this is a fun read. Nothing too deep yet it is insightful about the music "business".
You could almost say it is a bio on Morris Levy also. Recommended for pop/rock music fans.

Aug 25, 2015

(*Lyrics excerpt*) - "Look over yonder.... What do you see?..... The sun is a-risin'.... Most definitely!"

In the mid-1960s (with such #1, chart-topping hits as "Hanky Panky", "Mony, Mony" and "Crimson And Clover") Tommy James and the Shondells were one of the hottest pop-music sensations-of-the-day in the USA, and beyond. These boys were certainly riding one helluva wave of fan admiration, sold-out concerts and record-breaking album sales.

But behind all of the blinding glitz and glamour of being a bona fide rock star there soon came to light, for Tommy James, a very unsavoury and, yes, threatening presence in his rise to fame. And it came in the name of Morris Levy who (through greed and dishonesty) ran Roulette Records with a ruthless iron fist.

In collaboration with Martin Fitzpatrick, Tommy James gives the reader his candid account of those turbulent, pill-popping days when, not knowing who to turn to, he quickly found himself (and his band members) being repeatedly cheated by Levy who eventually owed them millions of dollars in royalty payments.

All-in-all - "Me, The Mob, And The Music" was a fairly insightful and interesting read. I especially liked James's retelling of his eye-opening encounter with the world-famous, TV host, Ed Sullivan.

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