“Joys Of Home Ownership”: Sunday, 26th June, 1977

Although we had awoken at half past seven, we lay in bed and wrestled until eight. After breakfast, Tiki sandpapered the ceiling in the lounge while I painted the cornices of the bathroom’s ceiling. I had to perform the splits to get to that area above the bath, having placed one foot on the tiled ledge while the other remained on the ladder. To make my situation doubly precarious, Tiki entered and allowed her hands to roam.

Before she left to visit her parents, at a quarter to one, Tiki undercoated the cupboards in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I continued to paint and finished the ceiling in the bathroom, as well as its counterpart in the lounge.

I listened to 2SM and Frank Hyde’s broadcast of the match between Manly-Warringah and St. George, from Brookvale Oval. The former led by seven points to two at half-time, only to have St. George draw level, early in the second half. However, from that point onwards all of the scoring was done by the home side as it drew away to win by twenty-five points to seven. Manly’s hooker, Max Krilich, was named as the ‘Man Of The Match’.

St. George was in second place on the competition’s ladder prior to its defeat this afternoon. Channel Two presents an edited replay of this match from six o’clock. This is followed by the ABC’s news from seven and, on Channel Nine, from half past the hour, by “Hawaii Five-O”. The movie, “Fantasy Island”, which was only made this year, screens from half past eight. It features Ricardo Montalban, Hugh “The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp” O’Brian, Carl Lynley, Victoria Principal, Sandra Dee, Bill “My Favorite Martian” Bixby, Eleanor Parker and Peter Lawford. Hugh O’Brian’s character slides down a steep hill on an upturned table to avoid being shot.

Tommy James (and The Shondells)

Given his first guitar at the age of nine, it was just a matter of time before Tommy James formed his own band, The Shondells. When Tommy was just thirteen he led the group, from Michigan, in recording sessions. One such session produced the single, “Hanky Panky”, in 1962.

Although “Hanky Panky” met with some regional success, in 1963, it was not to be until 1966 that the recording suddenly became a favourite of a disc jockey in Pittsburgh, that the ditty’s popularity spread not only nationwide, but globally.

Buoyed by having a No.1 under his belt, Tommy James moved to New York City where he linked up with the songwriters and producers, Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry. He also took the opportunity to finalise the remainder of the group whose members were also to become involved in the process of songwriting.

Tommy James and The Shondells, as this band became known, began to release original recordings that have since passed the test of time. Recordings which were to grace the American pop chart on nineteen occasions between 1966 and 1970.

In addition to “Hanky Panky”, Tommy James and The Shondells, took “I Think We’re Alone Now” to No.4 in 1967; “Mirage” (No.10 in 1967); “Mony Mony” (No.3 — No.1 in Britain — in 1968); “Crimson And Clover” (No.1 in 1968); “Sweet Cherry Wine” (No.7 in 1969) and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” to No.2 in 1969. Songs such as “Crystal Blue Persuasion” emerged during that relatively brief window in time when the movement which advocated peace and love, gave rise to the general belief that the world would become a better place.

The group demonstrated its diversity by moving from bubblegum to psychedelia to even voicing strains of protest at the height of the Vietnamese War, with its release of “Sweet Cherry Wine”.

It was in 1970 that Tommy James became a solo artist. Between then and 1981, he had eighteen recordings enter the American pop chart. By far the most successsful of these being “Draggin’ The Line”, in 1971. Of the remainder, “Three Times In Love” peaked at No.19, in 1980.

Among my favourite recordings by Tommy James and The Shondells, I have to give mention to the bright and breezy “Gettin’ Together”, from 1967, and the psychedelic “Sugar On Sunday” (1969). The band released ten albums in all. Tommy followed these with a further three during his time as a solo artist.

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts revived “Crimson And Clover” in 1982. English rocker, Billy Idol and the British band, Amazulu, did likewise with “Mony Mony” in 1987, and, in this same year, Tiffany covered “I Think We’re Alone Now” with mediocrity.

“Joe Cocker, Drunk?”: Monday, 27th June, 1977

It has been a cool, sunny day. “The Bugs Bunny Show”, at 5.00 p.m., was followed by “The Flintstones”. A repetition from Bill Peach’s series, “Holiday”, was screened on Channel Two from six o’clock. It conveys the viewer to Noumea, New Caledonia, and thence to the Wrest Point Casino, which was under construction when I visited Hobart, in January of 1972.

At seven o’clock, on “Willesee”, Paul Makin interviewed a seemingly drunk Joe Cocker. “This Day Tonight”, at half past seven on Channel Two, concentrates on the strike at the Mount Newman Mine, near Port Hedland in Western Australia, which has lasted for five weeks. “In The Wild” with Harry Butler follows from eight. Harry ventures to Barrow Island, which is just off the north-west coast of Western Australia, where, among other things, he catches a goanna, or monitor lizard, to mark it with paint from an aerosol container. This will allow him to identify it in the future. Goannas are capable of growing to a length of nine feet.

Channel Seven, from half past eight, is showing the second episode of “Captain And The Kings”. We missed the first, last Monday, as we paid a visit to some friends of ours. The miniseries stars Richard Jordan and Barbara Parkins.

 

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