Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Jan 21, 2024
Can you fathom what it would be like to remake a hit record 20 years later at the tender age of 16 and have it go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100?
Well that’s what happened to a young girl from Norwalk, California in 1987 …
In 1961 a singer/guitar player from Brooklyn, New York was introduced to a young songwriter by the name of Paul Simon who was plying his trade under the pseudonym Jerry Landis. A year later, 18 year old Ritchie Cordell released his first single penned by Landis – “Tick Tock.”
Cordell soon began writing his own material, eventually joining Roulette Records as a staff songwriter in 1966. It was there that he was assigned to work with Tommy James And The Shondells who were coming off their first big hit, “Hanky Panky.”
Over the next 3 years, Cordell and his songwriting partner, Bo Gentry, produced 8 charted hits for Tommy James and his group, including co-writing “Mony, Mony” with James and Bobby Bloom in 1968.
However, it was James’ 4th charted release from 1967 that went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 that epitomized the notion that a good song will pass the test of time.
Composed by Cordell and Gentry, it was remade in 1987 by a young teenage phenom who had been discovered by George Tobin, an American musical artist and record producer who has produced albums for a long list of musical artists including Robert John, Smokey Robinson and Kim Carnes.
In 1984, Tobin signed the thirteen year old teenager to a record deal after hearing a demo tape by her. Three years later she released her first album and went on tour. The first single from the album, “Danny,” failed to chart. However, thanks to the prodding by Lou Simon, the program director at KCPX in Salt Lake City, Utah, MCA agreed to release a remake of Cordell and Gentry’s hit song which was also on the album.
In November of 1987, the song went to #1 on the Billboard pop charts and Tiffany became an international star as her recording also went to #1 in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
No one was more surprised than songwriter Cordell who said, “It was very foreign to me. It just wasn’t the same song. All I can say is I don’t argue with number one record.”
Whether your fancy Tommy James And The Shondells or Tiffany’s version, teenagers still yearn for the opportunity to be with a loved one and say, “I Think We’re Alone Now,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
Tommy James And The Shondells –
Tiffany – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsi43H9FTtE
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.