Tommy James credits the tune Crimson and also Clover for allowing the band to pivot indigenous a singles-oriented to be radio tape to FM radio progressive album-oriented rock. There is no this change, the is sure, the band’s career would have been over, as the single-dominated music sector had changed almost overnight come one moved by album sales. Such critical song should have an important meaning. What is the meaning of the indigenous crimson and clover? What do they signify?


In enhancement to being an important catalyst that allowed Tommy James & the Shondells to come to be an album band, it to be the an initial song that Tommy James had actually written without his ancient co-writers, Ritchie Cordell and also Bo Gentry. So, exactly how did Tommy James come up v that renowned word-combo crimson and also clover? here is what he had actually to say about it:

I simply made the up as I got out that bed one day. That’s true —just two of my favourite words that i glued together. And, come me, the sounded an extremely profound, however I have no idea what that meant.

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Despite the obvious lack of definition and the writer’s own admission the the indigenous were offered just due to the fact that he liked them and they sounded good together, people will proceed to ‘find’ definition in the lyrics. For example, finding meaning in the shade red, or crimson, and the clover flower.

The non-meaning doesn’t avoid both songwriters indigenous laying case to their origin. When both James and Peter Lucia agree that the location Crimson and Clover come first, there has been some disagreement end which among them come up v the words. Lucia insurance claims that Crimson and also Clover to be his idea and also that the based the on his high school football team, The Crimson. The team often played against a team indigenous a place referred to as Hopatcong. Hopatcong is a native American surname for a ‘green place.’ I intend we are supposed to believe that this make Lucia think of clover leaves, notwithstanding the fact that clover is likewise a flower.

James’s story is less esoteric and an ext believable. His favourite color and his favourite flower popped into his head. Although ns really can’t imagine someone who favorite shade is actually ‘crimson,’ together I doubt most people could choose out crimson from any other shade of red. This was no the an initial time he had actually chosen words in ~ random. Mony Mony is similarly meaningless. Currently that you understand that the words crimson and clover organize no unique significance, i invite friend to view the rest of the lyrics through that lens. It’s a song around a male who watch an attractive girl the ‘he think he might love.’ there is no deep meaning. Tommy James didn’t compose songs v deep meanings.

It was more than simply the profound (sounding) words, though, that made the track unique. The song utilized studio techniques in fix up ways and also was unlike all your previous recordings, sounding favor what countless would speak to psychedelic. They were able to usage 16 track tape, something the did not exist till that year, with countless instruments and overdubs. They completed that weird vocal sound by running the vocals through a etc tremolo.

It to be the biggest solitary the group ever before had, selling 5 1/2 million duplicates within eight weeks. It got to no. 1 top top the Billboard hot 100 in February 1969 and spent 16 mainly on the chart. It also reached no. 1 on the Cash Box height 100 and no. 6 ~ above the Billboard Mainstream rock chart. It did an extremely well in other nations too, consisting of Australia, Canada, Germany, brand-new Zealand, and also Switzerland. Another huge hit indigenous the album to be Crystal Blue Persuasion, which got to no. 2 in June 1969.

Tommy James and the Shondells developed a much longer version for the album. A middle section was added by copying the music indigenous the an initial two verses, maintaining the background vocals but without any kind of lead vocals. Guitar solos were placed using stole guitars and also fuzz guitars, one after another. A copy error produced a slight key drop in the solos, i m sorry was preserved in the recording.

The album, that the exact same name, went double platinum. Hobtration Humphrey, whom Tommy James had campaigned with before releasing the album, created the liner notes.

Cover Versions

Joan Jett and also the Blackhearts extended Crimson and Clover on their debut album in 1981. It reached no. 7 ~ above the hot 100 in might 1982, coming to be their second biggest struggle after I Love rock ‘N Roll, which hit no. 1 in in march 1982.

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The song has been covered many other times, consisting of by Dolly Parton, Prince, and also Cher.