Crimson and clover meaning and origin story of the song

Crimson and Clover

Tommy James and the Shondels were an American rock band in the 1960s. In 1968, lead singer Tommy James and drummer Peter Lucia Jr. wrote a song called “Crimson and Clover.” It was released as a single later that year and became the band’s greatest hit, selling 5 million copies and was on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 16 weeks after its release. It was revived and covered by many artists in later years, including Joan Jett and Prince.

James and Lucia wrote the song to show a different sound and it changed the trajectory of the band’s career. Through the song, they were able to reinvent themselves and prove their ability to sell hit albums.

The One Story of its origin

There is one story about how this song came to be. It was said that Bo Gentry was a ghost songwriter for the band. He threatened to quit so everybody panicked. They all thought that if Gentry quit, the band would be in hot water because they would lose their main songwriter. This prompted James to go to a recording studio with Lucia to work on a song. According to James himself (who did not deny nor corroborate the other story), it took them 5 ½ hours to write, produce, and record the song. They had a gig in Chicago the very next day. While there, he went to WLS-FM and he let John Rook, then station manager, and Larry Lujack, a popular DJ of the station, listen to his rough mix and both loved it. Unbeknownst to him, they made a copy of the song and played it on air. And the rest was history. They never got to do any final mix nor follow their release plan but the album performed so well it did not really matter.

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