Mony Mony

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"Mony Mony"
Single by Tommy James and the Shondells
from the album Mony Mony
B-side "One Two Three and I Fell"
Released 1968
Genre Rock
Length 2:45
Label Roulette Records 7008
Writer(s) Tommy James, Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell, and Bobby Bloom[1]
Producer(s) Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell[1]
Tommy James and the Shondells singles chronology
"Get Out Now"
(1968)
"Mony Mony"
(1968)
"Somebody Cares"
(1968)

"Mony Mony" is a 1968 single by Tommy James and the Shondells,[2] which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] It was covered by Billy Idol in 1987.

History[edit]

"Mony Mony" was credited to Tommy James, Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell, and Bobby Bloom.[1] The title of the song is said to have been inspired by Tommy James's view of the M.O.N.Y. sign atop the Mutual of New York Building on the New York City skyline from his Manhattan apartment.[1] As Tommy James says in a 1995 interview in Hitch magazine:

True story: I had the track done before I had a title. I wanted something catchy like "Sloopy" or "Bony Maroney," but everything sounded so stupid. So Ritchie Cordell and I were writing it in New York City, and we were about to throw in the towel when I went out onto the terrace, looked up and saw the Mutual of New York building (which has its initials illuminated in red at its top). I said, "That's gotta be it! Ritchie, come here, you've gotta see this!" It's almost as if God Himself had said, "Here's the title." I've always thought that if I had looked the other way, it might have been called "Hotel Taft.[3]

"Mony Mony" was the only song by the group to reach the top 20 in the United Kingdom; it reached No. 1 in the UK,[1] and No. 3 in the USA. A music video of it was made at the time, dated in showing love beads, but a decade and half later would receive some play on MTV.[3]

The song "Mony Mony" has been covered by many artists, including Billy Idol, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Amazulu, Status Quo, The Scenics and The Beach Boys. In a peculiar twist, in 1987 Billy Idol's version of the song replaced another Tommy James hit at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 — "I Think We're Alone Now", covered by Tiffany.[4]

"Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a parody of this song from his album Even Worse, entitled "Alimony" (based on the Billy Idol version). It was about a recently divorced man complaining about his ex-wife taking everything he owns away from him in alimony payments.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart[1] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
Preceded by
"I Pretend" by Des O'Connor
UK number-one single
(Tommy James and the Shondells version)

3 August 1968 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Fire" by Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Preceded by
"Fire" by Crazy World of Arthur Brown
UK number-one single
(Tommy James and the Shondells version re-top)

21 August 1968 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Do It Again"* by The Beach Boys

Billy Idol version[edit]

"Mony Mony"

Live version
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Don't Stop and Vital Idol
B-side "311 Man"
Released 1981 (original version)
October 2, 1987 (live version)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1981–1985
Genre Hard rock, new wave
Length 5:01 (on Don't Stop)
5:02 (on Vital Idol)
4:08 (45 version)
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) Tommy James, Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell, and Bobby Bloom
Producer(s) Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Dancing with Myself"
(1981)
"Mony Mony"
(1981)
"Hot in the City"
(1982)

"Sweet Sixteen"
(1987)

"Mony Mony (Live)"
(1987)

"Cradle of Love"
(1990)
Alternative cover
12" single for original release

British rock artist Billy Idol released a version in 1981 (on the Don't Stop EP). Along with the track, "Baby Talk", Idol's version of " Mony Mony" went to number seven on the Billboard dance chart.[5] A live cover version of the song became a hit for Idol in 1987.

Idol's version of the song gave rise to an interesting custom in the 1980s. When the song was performed live in concert or played at a club or dance, people would shout a certain formulaic (and usually obscene) sentence in the two bars following each line. One example is: "Hey mother fucker! Get laid! Get fucked!" This custom led to the song being banned at high school dances across North America, although it continues at Idol concerts today.[6]

Billy Idol's version was recorded on two separate occasions. The original 1981 studio recording is the most common version heard on rock radio stations across the globe.[citation needed] However, Idol released a live version as a single in 1987, while promoting his then-forthcoming compilation Vital Idol. It was the live version that went to No. 1, coincidentally displacing Tiffany's cover of another Tommy James song, "I Think We're Alone Now", from the top spot.

The live single version can be found on Idol's Greatest Hits compilation. The song appears in the 2011 video game NHL 12.

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • (1981) UK 7" vinyl (33⅓ rpm) & 12" vinyl (45rpm)
  1. "Mony Mony"
  2. "Baby Talk"
  3. "Untouchables"
  4. "Dancing With Myself"
  • (1987) UK 7" vinyl
  1. "Mony Mony (Live)"
  2. "Shakin' All Over (Live)"
  • (1987) US 12" vinyl
  1. "Mony Mony (Hung Like a Pony Remix)" 6:59
  2. "Mony Mony (Steel-Toe Cat Dub)" 6:50
  3. "Mony Mony (Live) 4:00"
  4. "Mony Mony (Single Edit)" 5:01
  • (1987) UK 12" vinyl
  1. "Mony Mony (Hung Like a Pony Remix♰)"
  2. "Shakin' All Over (Live)"
  3. "Mony Mony (Live)"

♰Mixed by – Tom Lord-Alge

Charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 7
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 7
Chart (1987) Peak
position
Canadian RPM 100 Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 38
Swiss Singles Chart 13
UK Singles Chart[7] 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[7] 1
U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks 27
Preceded by
"I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
(Billy Idol version)

November 21, 1987
Succeeded by
"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 118–9. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Tommy James & The Shondells: Mony Mony at Discogs (list of releases)
  3. ^ a b Lott, Rod. "Crystal Blue Conversation" on Angelfire)
  4. ^ Steve Kurutz (2004-04-13). "Ritchie Cordell | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 126. 
  6. ^ "Metroactive Music | The Rock Show". Metroactive.com. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]