Tommy James & the Shondells

Crystal Blue Persuasion

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
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1969 1969
Various Artists
Rhino 4:04
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Roulette] 1969 Pair
Flower Power: Psychedelic Rock Classics 1981
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:02
Classic Rock: 1969 1988
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:02
Anthology 1989 Rhino 3:45
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
Thump Records 4:02
'60s Rock Classics, Vol.3 1995
Various Artists
Best of Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 12-13 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:00
Original Hits 1995 Disky 4:04
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
Thump Records 0:00
'60s Rock Hits [Rhino] 1997
Various Artists
Rhino Flashback 4:03
'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
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [K-Tel] 1999 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 4:03
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Disky 4:02
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 4:02
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 4:02
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
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
Disky 4:02
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino 4:05
Anthology [EMI] 2007 EMI Music Distribution 4:04
The Nanny Diaries 2007
Original Soundtrack
Adrenaline 4:04
Party Tyme Karaoke: Billboard Top 40 Karaoke, Vol. 6
Sybersound Records 3:56
Time Life Presents the 60s
Various Artists
Time Life 4:03