“I Think We’re Alone Now” was a massive hit for Tommy James and the Shondells, however, some people are more familiar with Tiffany’s cover of the track. So did James like Tiffany’s interpretation of his music? Here’s a look at how James and company created the song — and which version performed better on the Billboard Hot 100.
How Tommy James and the Shondells changed ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ before its release
“I Think We’re Alone Know” is one of the most enduring bubblegum pop songs of the 1960s. However, it was originally going to be a lot less energetic. “‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ was presented to me as a slow ballad by my producers, Richie Cordell and Bo Gentry,” James told The Guardian. “I was 19, but I heard the hook and thought it sounded like a hit. We did a quick demo, souping it up and making it much faster. When we played it to Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, he loved it, so we went back in the studio to record it properly.” James and his band tried to get the record out on Christmas Day because they wanted to get the song out for the new year.
James said he initially didn’t want to sing songs with simple, nursery-rhyme style songs like “I Think We’re Alone Now.” However, he found “I Think We’re Alone Now” very catchy. Despite James’ initial misgivings about the track, he and his band would have several other bubblegum pop hits like “Crimson and Clover” and “Mony Mony.”
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How Tommy James reacted to Tiffany’s cover
Both “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Mony Mony” returned to the spotlight in the 1980s because of covers. During that decade, Tiffany covered the former and Billy Idol covered the latter. How did James react to this?
“Twenty years later, I watched in disbelief as Tiffany’s version of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now ‘and Billy Idol’s version of ‘Mony Mony’ – another of our songs – flew up the charts together like they were holding hands. Neither of them knew about the other before they were released. Tiffany came up to me at a convention to apologize for covering us. I said: ‘Are you nuts? I should be thanking you.’ She did a great job, and she’s a real sweet girl.”
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Which version of the song performed better on the charts?
This raises an interesting question: Which version of “I Think We’re Alone Now” was the bigger hit? Tommy James & the Shondells’ version reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the other hand, Tiffany’s cover reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This illustrates how popular 1960s nostalgia was in the 1980s. Regardless, both versions have a place in pop culture, with Tommy James and the Shondells’ rendition appearing in 10 Cloverfield Lane and Tiffany’s rendition appearing in Ted. The public likes “I Think We’re Alone Now” in the hands of either artist.