Tommy James may best be known for boarder-line clean cut pop hits like â€œMony Monyâ€ and â€œCrimson and Cloverâ€, but in realty his life was more Henry Hill from the Good Fellas, than squeaky clean pop singer.
Me, the Mob, and the Music, details the early childhood of Tommy James (born Thomas Jackson), his discovery by a Pittsburgh DJ and through his career at Mob-run Roulette Records. The book focuses a lot on the singerâ€™s complicated relationship with his sometime mentor and friend, Morris Levy, the owner of Roulette. Despite his overtly abusive nature and the fact that he never paid James royalties for the millions he earned the label, the singer still considered Levy a friend and was hit pretty hard by his death.
In his own words, James admits to being an alcoholic, drug addict and a crappy husband and father. The memoir is an unflinching look at one guyâ€™s efforts to live up to the sex, drugs and rock â€˜nâ€™ roll mantra.
Despite its dark themes, the book is surprisingly humorous at times, like the story of James giving Vice President Hubert Humphrey a Quaalude when he complained about having to stay up late to write a speech.
Compelling to the end, the memoir is and honest look at a musician whose influence stretched beyond 60â€™s and 70â€™s top 40 radio. Having sold 100 million records across the globe, artists from Springsteen to Prince have covered his songs.
Me, the Mob, and Music by Tommy James with Martin Fitzpatrick/Scribner/240 pages