Tommy James & the Shondells

Hanky Panky

Composed by Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry

Song Review by

Although he would soon become known for bubblegum and psychedelic pop hits, Tommy James actually began his hit-making streak with an endearingly sloppy slice of garage rock with his cover of an obscure pop tune called "Hanky Panky." The lyrics of this song convey the excitement of a hormonal lad driven mad by a girl who knows how to do the suggestive dance of the title, building themselves around the oft-repeated lyrical hook of "My baby does the hanky panky." The music is equally simple and infectious, building itself on simple verse and chorus melodies that bounce up and down in a pleasant, bouncy fashion. "Hanky Panky" was originally recorded by the Raindrops. It didn’t achieve a lot of chart success but was picked up on by a few garage bands as a solid stage number. When Tommy James heard a rival band thrilling a crowd with it, he added the song to the Shondells’ repertoire and they recorded it for an indie label in 1963. Their version was pure garage rock, a live-in-the-studio effort that layered low-slung guitar riffs over a shuffling stomp of a beat from the rhythm section. James topped it off with amusingly mush-mouthed vocals a la "Louie Louie" and an out-of-control guitar solo that is cheered on by the other band members. The song was forgotten until 1965, when a Pittsburgh D.J. began playing it at record hops and made it into a regional hit. James reformed the by then long-defunct Shondells with a new set of musicians and resurrected his musical career with hits like "I Think We’re Alone Now" and "Crimson And Clover."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1966 Rhino 2:52
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Roulette] 1969 Pair
Cruisin' 1966 1976
Various Artists
Increase Records 3:47
Classic Rock: 1966 - The Beat Goes On 1988
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:55
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Anthology 1989 Rhino 2:53
Top Pop Rock Vocalists 1990
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:51
Born Bad [002] 1991
Various Artists
Born Bad Records 2:58
The Very Best of Tommy James & the Shondells 1993 Rhino / WEA Int'l 2:54
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:59
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Rhino] 1994 Rhino
Original Hits 1995 Disky 2:54
Hanky Panky/Mony Mony 1996 Sequel 2:52
Only Rock 'N Roll 1965-1969: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:54
1966: 20 Original Chart Hits 1997
Various Artists
A Time To Remember
Hanky Panky & Other Hits 1997 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:53
Beat Goes On [Rivie're] 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 2:51
Greatest Hits Live [K-Tel] 1998 K-Tel Distribution 3:56
The Roulette Story 1998
Various Artists
Westside Records 2:52
No Image 1998
Original Soundtrack
Warner Special Products 2:52
Land of 1000 Dances: The Ultimate Compilation of Hit Dances 1958-1965 1999
Various Artists
Ace 2:52
On Broadway: Hit Songs and Rarities From the Brill Building Era 1999
Various Artists
Westside Records
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [K-Tel] 1999 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 3:01
Hanky Panky/It's Only Love 1999 Repertoire / SMD Reper 2:55
Good Morning Saigon 1999
Various Artists
Bcd
Millennium Party Madness 1999
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:01
Rock N' Roll Hits of the 60's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:02
Live at the Bitter End 2000 BMG Special Products 3:32
Live at the Bitter End 2000 Aura / St. Clair Vision
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution
Beat Boom 2001
Various Artists
Disky / Disky Communications 2:53
Wolfman Jack's: Party Tunes 2001
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:01
Cosmic Grooves: Gemini 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:52
Live and on Fire (On Stage and in the Studio + DVD) 2001 Angel Air Records
Sounds of the Sixties: 1966 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Wolfman Jack's: Graffiti Gold Goofy Greats 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:01
All-Time Greatest Hits 2002 K-Tel Distribution 3:01
The Essentials 2002 Rhino 2:53
It's a New Vibration: An Ultimate Anthology 2002 Westside Records 2:55
All Time Greatest Hits: Live at the Bitter End 2002 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 3:42
Red, White & Rock 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Totally 60's: The Essential 60's Beat Album 2002
Various Artists
EMI 2:53
Live! At the Bitter End New York 2002 Angel Air Records 3:42
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Intercontinental] 2003 Masters 3:03
Sexbombs and Other Sexy Songs 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 2:54
Hanky Panky & Other Favorites 2004 Collectables 2:53
Ultimate 16: Retro Rock Let the Good Times Roll 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:53
Rock Breakout Years: 1969 2005 BMG Special Products 3:32
40 #1 Hits: The Sixties 2005
Various Artists
Musicpro
20th Century Masters: Best of Brill Building [Universal International] 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 2:54
Best of the 60s Rock and Roll [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:53
Ultimate Summer Hits: Summer Fun 2006
Various Artists
Collectables 2:53
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
Disky 2:52
All #1 Hits '60s 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:54
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino 2:53
The Classic Sixties Collection: 1966 2006
Various Artists
Rhino
Anthology [EMI] 2007 EMI Music Distribution 2:54
Super Hits Live 2007 Sbme Special Mkts. 3:42
Top of the Pops: 1966 2007
Various Artists
BBC Music / EMI 2:52
Pure: Rock and Roll 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:53
Greatest Hits 2007 Remember Records 2:54
Top of the Pops Collection [43 CD] 2008
Various Artists
EMI
This Is 1966 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 2:53
40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-2006) 2008 Collectors' Choice Music 2:56
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
Massive Hits: Rock 'n' Roll 2011
Various Artists
4 Gold / EMI / EMI Gold 2:53
100 Hits: Swinging 60s 2012
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:53
Party Rock 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:53
The  Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Relayer] 2013 Relayer Records
Beach Party RTL Georges Lang 2015
Various Artists
WEA 2:53
No Image Timeless 2:56
No Image
Various Artists
Pony Canyon Records
Feel-Good Favorites: Pop Hits of the '60s & '70s, Vols. 1-2
Various Artists
Ultimate Mix 2:54
Love Peace & Flower
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Party Rock: Listen To The Music
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:53
No Image Roulette Records 2:59
blue highlight denotes editor's pick