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Me, the Mob, and the Music

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.” 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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  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439172889 | 
  • February 2011
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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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