“Hanky Panky” was written by the legendary song writing duo of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich as a throwaway B side in 1963. Tommy James and The Shondells released the song while in high school and it became a regional hit in the upper mid-west during 1964. It never broke out nationally and the band members went their separate ways.
The lights went back on in 1966 when a Pittsburgh disc jockey found an old copy of the record and began playing it regularly and the rest is, as they say, history. James had to form a completely new version of the Shondells.
It reached number one July 16. 1966 and remained at the top of the charts for two weeks.
It may have been an amateurish release but better times were ahead for Tommy James and The Shondells and they went on to become one of the better singles bands of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
The band did make one mistake as they turned down an invite to perform at Woodstock, although “Hanky Panky” being performed at the festival boggles the mind.