Bill Idol recorded James’ “Mony Mony” in 1987

Published 11:15 am Friday, December 23, 2005

By Staff
Tommy James song “Mony Mony” was recorded by Billy Idol in 1987. Joan Jett and Tiffany had hits with their covers of “Crimson and Clover” and “I Think We're Alone Now,” respectively. Obscene lyrics sung to “Mony Mony” came from “a bunch of kids from Chicago on spring break in Fort Lauderdale and spread across the country. The first time they did that in concert, I thought we were being booed off stage. I was very shocked because I didn't write those lyrics. ‘Mony' is one of those songs like crabgrass. You can't keep it down. I'm very happy it's become the kind of party rock jam that they play all over the world. We had the track done before the lyrics and were desperate for a title. Ritchie Cordell, my songwriting partner who passed away last year, and I looked up at the New York skyline and saw Mutual of New York (MONY, the insurance company). It could just as well have been ‘Hojo' for Howard Johnson's. We wrote a lot of hits together. That's one of those stories that sound like your press agent made up, but it's true.”