From their debut in June 1966 with “Hanky Panky” to their worst-charting single in November 1968 (“Do Something to Me”), [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Tommy James and the Shondells[/lastfm] had always relied on their leader’s collaboration with songwriters Bo Gentry and Richie Cordell. For their next release, they relied on themselves.
“‘Crimson’ and ‘clover’ were two of my favorite words,” James is quoted as saying in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. “We had the title before we had the song. Writing with the Shondells, it was different than when I wrote with Bo and Ritchie,” he went on to say. “(There was) a different energy flow.”
That energy worked in the band’s favor as the trippy-dippy pop of “Crimson and Clover” fit perfectly into the peace and love vibe that was still throbbing through AM radio at the end of 1968. It entered the Hot 100 at Number 86 when it was released on December 14, 1968. Seven weeks of continuous growth in popularity found “Crimson” at the top of the heap in February 1969, the band’s biggest hit since their debut.
[metrolyrics artist="Tommy James and the Shondells" song="Crimson and Clover"]
There’s a lot more ammo where this came from. Check out more songs that were “#1 with a Bullet” here…