Hanky Panky (Tommy James and the Shondells)

16 JULY 1966


Tommy James and the Shondells’ raucous single ‘Hanky Panky’ was at #1 in the US Billboard charts on this day in 1966, and start there for two weeks, for some reason. Not bad for a song that the writers and the recording group never thought much of.

The song was hastily written by Barry and Greenwich in 1963 as a b-side for their group The Raindrops. They thought it was actually a 'terrible song'. It was, however, popular among garage bands, such as Tommy James and the Shondells who recorded it during the following year. Their single flopped and the group split up, but in 1965 it became popular in Pittsburgh so the unemployed James decided to re-release it, forming a new Shondells with the first band he ran into (The Raconteurs). It became a national hit, much to the surprise of the songwriters and James himself, who later said of it:
'I don't think anybody can record a song that bad and make it sound good. It had to sound amateurish like that. I think if we'd fooled with it too much we'd have fouled it up.'
Despite such inauspicious beginnings, the band went on to enjoy a few years of decent success (including another US #1 with 'Crimson and Clover, and a UK #1 with 'Mony Mony) before James left in 1970 for health reasons.

B-side: 'Thunderbolt'
Released: May 1966
Highest chart position: #38 (UK) #1 (US)
Length: 2:59
Label: Snap!, Roulette
Producer: Henry Glover

Hanky Panky (Tommy James and the Shondells)

'My baby does the hanky panky
Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
Hey, my baby does the hanky panky

My baby does the hanky panky (yeah)
Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky
Hey, my baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky

I saw her walking on down the line (yeah)
You know I saw her for the very first time
A pretty little girl standing all alone
Hey baby, baby, can I take you home?
I never saw her, never really saw her (oh, yeah)

My baby does the hanky panky
Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky

Ah, let's move it out
Let's go!

Oh, yeah!

I saw her walking on down the line (yeah)
You know I saw her for the very first time
A pretty little girl standing all alone
Hey baby, baby, can I take you home?
I never saw her, never really saw her

Okay, we're low on time, hold on

Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky
Hey, my baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky

Let's knock em dead one time, let's go

Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky
My baby does the hanky panky
Yeah, my baby does the hanky panky'

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