Tommy James and the Shondells - Hanky Panky

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"Hanky Panky" is a song written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich for their group, The Raindrops. It was famously remade by rock group Tommy James and the Shondells, who took it to No. 1 in the United States in 1966.

Barry and Greenwich authored the song in 1963. They were in the middle of a recording session for their group The Raindrops, and realized they needed a B-side to a single, "That Boy John". The duo then went into the hall and penned the song in 20 minutes. Barry and Greenwich weren't particularly pleased with the song and deemed it inferior to the rest of their work. "I was surprised when [Tommy James version] was released," Barry commented to Billboard's Fred Bronson, "As far as I was concerned it was a terrible song. In my mind it wasn't written to be a song, just a B-side." 

Released "Hanky Panky" versions: Summits (1963) (Harmon 1017/Rust 5072), Raindrops (11-63), Tommy James & Shondells (2-64).

Although only a B-side, "Hanky Panky" became popular with garage rock bands. James heard it being performed by one such group in a club in South Bend, Indiana. "I really only remembered a few lines from the song, so when we went to record it, I had to make up the rest of the song," he told Bronson. "I just pieced it back together from what I remembered."

James' version was recorded at a local radio station, WNIL in Niles, Michigan, and released on local Snap Records, selling well in the tri-state area of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. However, lacking national distribution, the single quickly disappeared. James moved on, breaking up The Shondells, and finishing high school.

In 1965, an unemployed James was contacted by Pittsburgh disc jockey "Mad Mike" Metrovich. Metrovich had begun playing The Shondells' version of "Hanky Panky", and the single had become popular in that area. James then decided to re-release the song, traveling to Pittsburgh where he hired the first decent local band he ran into, The Raconteurs, to be the new Shondells (the original members having declined to re-form).
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Artist: Tommy James and the Shondells
Video title: Hanky Panky

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Category: Rock & Alternative
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