Tommy James & The Shondells – Crimson And Clover

Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson And Clover

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Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson And Clover


"Crimson and Clover" is a 1968 song by American rock band Tommy James and the Shondells. Written by the duo of Tommy James and drummer Peter Lucia Jr., it was intended as a change in direction of the group's sound and composition.

It was released in late 1968 as a rough mix after a radio station leaked it. It spent 16 weeks on the U.S. charts, reaching number one in the United States (in February 1969) and other countries.

The single has sold 5 million copies, making it Tommy James and the Shondells' best-selling song.(note: the RIAA did not award a gold record so the 5 million sales number is not officially acknowledged.) It has been covered by many artists such as Joan Jett and Prince.

In 2006Pitchfork Media named it the 57th best song of the 1960s.


The title was decided before a song had been written for it. The combination of unknown meaning came to James as he was waking up, comprising his favorite color – crimson – and his favorite flower – clover. (There is also a species of clover native to Europe called the crimson clover.)

A song to fit the phrase was written by Tommy James and bassist Mike Vale, but was scrapped. His following collaboration with drummer Peter Lucia, Jr. was more successful (Lucia has said that he himself came up with the Crimson and Clover phrase while watching a high school football game between his hometown Morristown (NJ) Crimson and Hopatcong (green, or "clover").

During the song's production, Roulette Records wanted a new single, so the group agreed to release "Do Something to Me" to gain time to complete the song.

It was recorded in late 1968 in about five hours and is one of the earliest songs recorded on 16-track equipment. Tommy James played most of the instruments, while Mike Vale played bass and Peter Lucia, Jr. played drums. The song contains a tremolo effect on the guitar, set so that it vibrated in time with the song's rhythm.

Near the end of the recording, the band had an idea of utilizing the tremolo effect with vocals. To achieve this, the voice microphone was plugged into an Ampeg guitar amplifier with tremolo turned on, and the output from the amplifier was recorded while James sang "Crimson and clover, over and over".


Crimson & Clover is the sixth album by Tommy James and the Shondells. It features the #1 hit "Crimson and Clover" as well as the #2 hit "Crystal Blue Persuasion". The album was released in January 1969 and reached a peak of #8 on the Billboard 200.

Based on suggestions from radio stations the group chose to create an extended five-and-a-half minute long version of the title song for the album. The first two verses were copied without lead vocals, and then overdubbed with guitar solos by Shondells guitarist Ed Gray using steel guitars and fuzz guitars, as well as an extended one-minute wah-wah pedal finish.

During tape copying a slight speed error was inadvertently introduced. This resulted in a small drop in pitch during the new guitar solo sections, which went unfixed.

The group had toured with Vice President Hubert Humphrey during his 1968 presidential campaign. Humphrey showed his appreciation by writing the liner notes for the Crimson and Clover album.


Tommy James and the Shondells are an American rock band, formed in Niles, Michigan in 1964. They had two No. 1 singles in the U.S., "Hanky Panky" (July 1966, their only RIAA Certified Gold record) and "Crimson and Clover" (February 1969), and also charted twelve other Top 40 hits, including five in the Hot 100's top ten: "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mirage", "Mony Mony", "Sweet Cherry Wine", and "Crystal Blue Persuasion".



Ah, now I don't hardly know her
But I think I could love her
Crimson and clover

Ah, when she come walking over
Now I been waiting to show her
Crimson and clover, over and over

Yeah, my my, such a sweet thing
I wanna do everything
What a beautiful feeling
Crimson and clover, over and over (x5)


Ah, ora non so a malapena il suo
Ma penso che potrei amarla
Cremisi e trifoglio

Ah, quando è venuta a piedi su
Ora ho aspettato per mostrare la sua
Cremisi e trifoglio, più e più volte

Sì, il mio la mia, una cosa così dolce
Voglio fare tutto
Che bella sensazione
Cremisi e trifoglio, più e più volte (x5)


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