Tommy James & the Shondells

Hanky Panky

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 2:59
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
Anthology 1989 Rhino 2:59
Top Pop Rock Vocalists 1990
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Columbia 2:51
The Very Best of Tommy James & the Shondells 1993 Rhino / WEA Int'l 2:54
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1962-1966 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1966 [1993] 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:59
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Rhino] 1994 Rhino
'60s Rock Classics, Vol.3 1995
Various Artists
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
'60s Rock: It's a Beautiful Morning 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Hanky Panky & Other Hits 1997 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:53
Beat Goes On [Rivie're] 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 2:51
The Roulette Story 1998
Various Artists
Westside Records 2:52
No Image 1998
Original Soundtrack
Warner Music 2:52
On Broadway: Hit Songs and Rarities From the Brill Building Era 1999
Various Artists
Westside Records 2:51
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [K-Tel] 1999 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 3:00
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
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Disky 2:53
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 2:53
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
Remembering 1966 2001
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:01
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
The Best of Tommy James & the Shondells [Intercontinental] 2003 Masters 3:03
Hanky Panky & Other Favorites 2004 Collectables 2:53
Rhino Hi-Five: Tommy James & The Shondells 2005 Rhino 2:59
Ultimate Summer Hits: Summer Fun 2006
Various Artists
Collectables 2:53
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
Disky 2:52
The Definitive Pop Collection 2006 Rhino 2:53
Anthology [EMI] 2007 EMI Music Distribution 2:54
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
This Is 1966 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 2:53
Massive Hits: Rock 'n' Roll 2011
Various Artists
4 Gold / EMI / EMI Gold 2:53
No Image Roulette Records 2:59
Time Life Presents the 60s
Various Artists
Time Life 2:52
Top Hits/60's Only Number 1's
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:54