Vol III, Issue 17 – Crystal blue persuasion (01 Sept 2018)

For the love of rock

Vol III, Issue 17 – Crystal blue persuasion (01 Sept 2018)


Name of song– Crystal blue persuasion

Band – Tommy James and the Shondells

Album- Crimson & Clover

Writers– Eddie Gray, Tommy James, Mike Vale

Release year– 1969

Peak chart records (1969)

# 1 – Canada RPM Top Singles

# 2 – US Billboard Hot 100

# 2 – US Cash Box Top 100

# 9 – Canada RPM Adult Contemporary

# 27 – US Billboard Adult Contemporary

Crystal blue persuasion

Reviewers- Bikash Shrestha/Nirab Kayastha

“Tommy James and the Shondells” is an important American rock band from Michigan, especially active during the sixties. They are an influential rock band with their own hits along with numerous hits they gave to other bands. Formed originally as “The Echoes” with 12 years old Tommy Jackson (James) as lead singer in 1959, they finally named themselves “Tommy James and the Shondells” in 1964. Their most famous numbers include “Hanky panky”, “Crystal blue persuasion”, “Crimson and clover” (Later again a hit for “Joan Jett and the Blackhearts”), “Mony mony” (Later covered by Billy Idol), “I think we’re alone now” (Later covered by Tiffany) to name the few. Although the band could not be as big as they could have been, one important factor being that they had turned down the offering to play in the 1969 Woodstock as they did not want to take off their vacation, nevertheless, they shall always be remembered for their incredible hit numbers and the contribution they had in forming the shape of rock music in the sixties and the decades ahead.

“Crystal blue persuasion” is perhaps their best number, taken from their sixth album “Crimson & Clover” released in 1969 January. The album had their second number 1 hit “Crimson & clover” (the other being “Hanky panky”), and number 2 hit “Crystal blue persuasion”. The song about peace, religion and mother earth, “Crystal blue persuasion” has been the most favorite number for Tommy James’ as well as the fans alike. It had taken a lot of efforts for them to get the song in the present version. It was actually overproduced as a record with guitars, keyboards, as well as drums. This they knew was good but not quite right. So, they began to take out instruments out of it serially over next six weeks, ultimately getting the best version one could ever get, with conga drum, a bonga, a tambourine, a flamenco guitar, light bass and a Hammond.

The song is one of the famous anti war songs. It talks about religion, peace and brotherhood and literally, crystal blue persuasion was the verse rearranged from the Biblical book of Revelation. The song starts with a light sound of conga drum, followed by flamenco guitar and light bass. Once Tommy starts to sing, along with the tambourine, he carries the listeners to their childhood memories and fantasy world. He dreams of a new world and shows us a ray of hope that the world would be a better place one day. The second verse continues in the same manner with addition of Hammond organ. After the second verse, the gap is filled with mesmerizing guitar and Hammond organ dual symphony. The main chorus follows again and slowly, after the third verse, the chorus fades away with all the instruments creating a magical musical ecstasy.

Yes, “Tommy James and the Shondells” may not have been a popular name among the rock fans; they definitely deserve honorable mention. With such classic number as “Crystal blue persuasion” to their credit, it is crystal clear that they could have been much bigger than what they have been!!

Happy listening!!

Resources– Wikipedia.org, Allmusic.com

Crystal blue persuasion

Look over yonder
What do you see?
The sun is a rising
Most definitely
A new day is coming, whoo-hoo!
People are changing
Ain’t it beautiful, whoo-hoo!
Crystal blue persuasion

Better get ready
Gonna see the light
Love, love is the answer, whoo-hoo!
And that’s all right
So don’t you give up now, whoo-hoo!
So easy to find
Just look to your soul, look to your soul!
And open your mind

Crystal blue persuasion, mm-hmm
It’s a new vibration
Crystal blue persuasion, crystal blue persuasion

Maybe tomorrow
When he looks down
Every green field, whoo-hoo!
And every town
All of his children
In every nation
There’ll be, peace and good
Crystal blue persuasion, yeah
Crystal blue persuasion, aha!

Crystal blue persuasion, aha!

Hohoo, oh, oho oooooooooooo

Lyrics link – https://genius.com/Tommy-james-and-the-shondells-crystal-blue-persuasion-lyrics

Video link – http://youtu.be/21hBaG8OGkw

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