Tommy James & the Shondells

Crystal Blue Persuasion

Composed by Eddie Gray / Mike Vale / Tommy James

Song Review by

Sporting a quickly identifiable percussive opening, the pleasant and soothing "Crystal Blue Persuasion" was the other side of the '60s, the peace and love complement to the psychedelic title track of the album which spawned this, Crimson & Clover. Tommy James somehow came up with arrangements and riffs which made each of his hit records distinctive, a move which paid dividends for his live show in the years that followed. It's the sound of the keyboards which stays in the listener's head while the conga drums, tambourine, and simple flamenco guitar build a foundation for the impeccable voices, all playing off the bass line. The spirit is adult contemporary music, a format which would embrace "Three Times in Love," the singer's '80s hit, with the higher power sentiment showing up much sooner on James' 1970s solo effort Christian of the World. It's the strength of the lyrics, which hold their own against the top-notch production and musical innovation. Keep in mind this song became popular about eight months before Santana would take these flavors back to Top 40 in that group's hip blending of different styles. Critics of the day may have wanted to dismiss the Shondells as "bubblegum," but their shortsighted essays could never imagine reggae artists the Heptones and jazz legend Tito Puente bringing total vindication to James through their renditions, or Morcheeba performing this title on the soundtrack to A Walk on the Moon. Written by bassist Mike Vale, lead guitarist Eddie Gray, and singer Tommy James, this composition was the third most popular of the band's 17 Top 40 hits. An Internet search reveals how the song title has earned a special place in pop culture.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Roulette] 1969 Pair
Flower Power: Psychedelic Rock Classics 1981
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:03
Classic Rock: 1969 1988
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:02
Anthology 1989 Rhino 4:06
Crimson & Clover/Cellophane Symphony 1991 Rhino 4:02
At Their Best 1992 Pair
AM Gold: The Late '60s 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:01
The Very Best of Tommy James & the Shondells 1993 Rhino / WEA Int'l 2:55
Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits: 1968-1972 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 4:04
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Rhino] 1994 Rhino
Art Laboe Killer Oldies 2 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:01
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
K-mack 4:02
Original Hits 1995 Disky 4:04
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
Thump Records
'60s Rock: It's a Beautiful Morning 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 4:03
Sunshine Days, Vol. 1: 60's Pop Classics 1997
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese
Greatest Hits Live [K-Tel] 1998 K-Tel Distribution 5:04
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [K-Tel] 1999 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 4:03
Born to Be Wild: Music for Road 1999
Various Artists
Art Laboe's Dedicated to You, Vol. 9 1999
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:59
Live at the Bitter End 2000 BMG Special Products 4:38
Live at the Bitter End 2000 Aura / St. Clair Vision
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution
Old School Love Songs [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Thump Records 4:02
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1969 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 4:03
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 4:02
Live and on Fire (On Stage and in the Studio + DVD) 2001 Angel Air Records
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Realm Records 4:02
All-Time Greatest Hits 2002 K-Tel Distribution 4:04
The Essentials 2002 Rhino 4:04
It's a New Vibration: An Ultimate Anthology 2002 Westside Records 4:03
All Time Greatest Hits: Live at the Bitter End 2002 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 5:08
Live! At the Bitter End New York 2002 Angel Air Records 5:07
Let's Go to San Francisco 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 4:00
Hanky Panky & Other Favorites 2004 Collectables 4:04
Best of the 60s Rock and Roll [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 4:03
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino 4:05
The Greatest Groovy 60's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 4:01
Anthology [EMI] 2007 EMI Music Distribution 4:04
Fab Gear: Classic Flower Power Pop from the Summer of Love 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 4:00
The Nanny Diaries 2007
Original Soundtrack
Artists' Addiction Records 4:04
Super Hits Live 2007 Sbme Special Mkts. 5:07
Flower Power [Time Life Box] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:04
Greatest Hits 2007 Remember Records 4:01
Flower Power: Time of the Season [Time Life #2] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:03
40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006) 2008 Collectors' Choice Music 4:01
Crystal Blues Symphonies: The Psychedelic Years 2009 Rev-Ola Records 4:00
Chartbusters USA: Sunshine Pop 2009
Various Artists
Ace 4:03
The  Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Relayer] 2013 Relayer Records
Romancing the '60s [Time] 2013
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 4:04
No Image Timeless 4:06
Crystal Blue Persuasion/I'm Alive [Digital] Rhino 3:49
Party Tyme Karaoke: Billboard Top 40 Karaoke, Vol. 6
Sybersound Records 3:56
Romancing the '60s: My Special Angel
Various Artists
StarVista 4:04
Windswept Pacific
Various Artists
blue highlight denotes editor's pick