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Tommy James & the Shondells to Hit Hard Rock With Herman's Hermits

At the end of the '60s, Tommy James' stock was on the rise. Early entries like "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Mony Mony" helped assure the Shondells their Top 40 appeal, but "Crimson and Clover" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" found them fusing their commercial instincts with headier aspirations and studio innovation. Archivists ought to note that in 1968, after the group accompanied Vice President Hubert Humphrey during his presidential campaign, Humphrey responded by penning the liner notes for their Crimson and Clover album. And you think the Tea Party invented political payback?

Opener Herman's Hermits slugged it out for the devotion of America's masses during the initial onslaught of the British invasion. Alongside the Beatles and the Dave Clark 5, the group carved a niche as a cuddly quintet. Neither as adept nor as savvy as its competition, the group sporting the teddy-bear appeal of Herman himself, AKA 16-year-old Peter Noone, helped spearhead a steady succession of hits — "I'm Into Something Good," "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am," "There's a Kind of Hush," and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" among the many. Noone now helms a new version of the Hermits, but he remains an amiable and ageless entertainer who's still as chirpy as ever.

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