Me, the Mob, and the Music

One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells

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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..
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Book Details:
  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439128657 | 
  • February 2010
List Price $32.99

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

May 21, 1990.

The day began with me rushing off to Chicago to do a concert promoting the release of my new album Hi-Fi and the single “Go.” It was my first studio album in nearly ten years. I was to meet Ron Alexenburg, the head of Aegis Records, and my manager, Carol Ross, at Newark Airport to catch a flight to Chicago. The band had already gone ahead, and we were all pretty excited about starting the nineties off with a new project. A host of radio stations and press were going to be there. Because Chicago had launched so many of our past successes, it seemed the perfect city to begin our tour.... see more

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