Billy Idol – Mony Mony

First Hit #1: November 21, 1987

I’m not sure if science can explain why we had a sudden resurgence in the career of Tommy James and the Shondells, as filtered through pop acts from the ’80s, but here’s Mony Mony, via Billy Idol. This also isn’t really a reinvention of the music for modern times, though it does benefit from Idol’s sneering attitude and a splash of electric guitars for color. Idol’s version doesn’t update the track, he just records it with his band, which is pretty different from Tommy James’ band. This gives it a slightly different twist. And, honestly, Mony Mony is a pretty great song, it’s super catchy with a driving beat, it’s the kind of thing that you kind of have to dance along to. It works for little kids bouncing around hopped up on pixie sticks, it works for adults at a wedding, and everyone in between. Idol had a bit of an aggressive image, but he could cut loose and record something that’s just outright fun instead of having much attitude behind it. The cover might not be strictly essential, but it is pretty good, and any Mony Mony is welcome.

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One Response to Billy Idol – Mony Mony

  1. RBerman says:

    Triply surprising:

    1) A surprise double-header in the weird category of “Tommy James and the Shondells covers.” And, as you say, quite a faithful cover.
    2) A surprise second chance at fame for Billy Idol, an early 80s New Waver with a faux-punk sneer, minus any of the political passions for which the real 70s punks were known. All the more surprising since Idol had already released a studio version of this song back in 1981, to little effect.
    3) A surprise #1 single with a live recording, something that rarely happened then and almost never now. When was the last one?

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