Tommy James and the Shondells – Crimson and Clover

First Hit #1: February 1, 1969

After going on about how 1968 was just weird, 1969 starts with… Marvin Gaye for the first month, but then we get Tommy James and the Shondells, starting ’69 off right, with a song that has been used by many films to set the perfect mood. That mood is slightly druggy, slightly catchy and all late ’60s. It’s no mystery why this has become cinematic shorthand, it’s a song that captures a mood that most people tend to associate with the era. I personally don’t like one of the most distinct aspects of the song – that being the very distinct tremolo effect on the vocals right before, which as a boy I always thought was about telephone wires (it’s “Crimson and Clover over and over” in reality, never mind my strange ears). It just sounds like what it is, a band screwing around in the studio after most of the work is done and the song is nearly finished. But, don’t let my hangups get you down, it’s still a great, slightly druggy pop song from what was, from all reports, a great, somewhat druggy year. I wasn’t there though.

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