Tommy James – Net Worth, Wife (Lynda), Songs, Biography

Tommy James is an American pop rock musician, songwriter, singer, and record producer, who is best known as the leader of the 1960s rock band ”Tommy James and the Shondells.”

The band had two No. 1 singles in the U.S. – “Hanky Panky” (1966) and “Crimson and Clover” (1969). In addition, ”Tommy James and the Shondells”  released five other Top 40 hits – “Mony Mony,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” and “Sweet Cherry Wine.”


He was born on April 29, 1947, in Dayton, Ohio, as Thomas Gregory Jackson.

James was introduced to music at age 3 when he was given a ukulele (a member of the guitar family of instruments) by his grandfather. A year later, Tommy got his initial taste of performing as a child model.

His first band, named – ”The Tornadoes,” was formed in 1959. In 1963, ”The Tornadoes” changed their name to ”The Shondells” in honor of singer Troy Shondell, who was famous for his 1961 release “This Time.”

At this time, the band included Larry Coverdale (lead guitar), Tommy James (vocals and guitar), Craig Villeneuve (keyboards), Larry Wright (bass), and Jim Payne (drums).

In 1964, The Shondells’ first hit song, “Hanky Panky,” was recorded for Snap Records, a small Michigan label. The song set in motion the strange events which led to the rise of The Shondells and their journey recording for a record company controlled by the Mafia. Also, “Hanky Panky” has been Tommy’s RIAA certified gold single.

Between 1966 and 1969, The Shondells enjoyed 14 Top 40 hits, most of which remain among the most eminently listenable even today.

From late 1968, the band started writing their own songs, with Lucia and Tommy penning the psychedelic-tinged classic “Crimson and Clover.”

In 1971, Tommy went solo and had two Billboard Hot 100 top 20 chart hits with “Draggin’ the Line” and “Three Times in Love.”

In the mid-’70s, he made a jump from Roulette Records, where he’d based his career for nearly a decade, to Fantasy Records, and he later recorded for Millennium Records.

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In 2010, he released his definitive life story in the music biz, titled – ”Me, The Mob and The Music: One Helluva A Ride With Tommy James & The Shondells.”

The book tells the intimate story of the relationship between the sweet-faced blonde musician from the heartland and the brutal bully from the Bronx, who hustled his way to the top of the music industry.

Tommy James wiki
Tommy James And The Shondells – © Guliver / Getty Images

”Me, The Mob and The Music: One Helluva A Ride With Tommy James & The Shondells” is currently being developed into a movie. Barbara De Fina is producing the film. Also, Tommy has reunited with the surviving Shondells to record its soundtrack.

During an interview, Tommy said:

“I really wanted to tell this story – it’s a story I’ve been carrying around for 40 years and could never talk about.”

James continued:

“My co-author, Martin Fitzpatrick, and I – actually, I was very nervous talking about it as recently as five or six years ago because these guys were still walking around.”

In another interview, James declared:

“If there wasn’t a Morris Levy there wouldn’t be a Tommy James. Nobody could get singles made faster than Morris.”

Tommy later added:

”He left us alone in the studio and allowed us to morph into anything we could be. If we’d gone to another label, we would’ve gotten lost in the shuffle.”

In October 2007, James and the original Shondells reunited in a New Jersey studio to record once again. The band recorded an album, entitled – ”I Love Christmas.”

In 2008, the group was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.

Tommy James wife
Image source – © Guliver / Getty Images

In February 2018, he became the host of a weekly radio program called ”Gettin Together with Tommy James” on Sirius XM Radio channel 60s on 6.


Tommy James is married to Lynda.


The couple has a son, Brian.

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Tommy was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performing Arts.

Tommy James age
Tommy James & Miley Cyrus – © Guliver / Getty Images

James wrote and produced the million-selling 1970 hit “Tighter, Tighter” for the group Alive ‘N Kickin’.

In March 1970, drugs almost killed Tommy when he collapsed (during a concert), and was pronounced dead. Fortunately, James survived and decided to take a break from the recording studio.

In 1969, Tommy and his band were asked to appear at the legendary Woodstock concert. James turned it down and later said that it was most likely the biggest mistake he ever made.

James replied to his secretary who called him:

“Did I hear you right? Did you say would I leave paradise, fly 6,000 miles, and play a pig farm? Is that what you just asked me? Well, I’ll tell you what, if I’m not there, start without us, will you please?”

To date, more than 300 musicians have recorded versions of Tommy’s music.

Tommy James Net Worth
Image source – © Guliver / Getty Images

When asked if he ever had a chance to meet Elvis, Tommy replied:

”I talked to him, but never met him officially. I was in Nashville with Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana in 1971 doing an album.”

James later added:

”Elvis was going to come over from Memphis to Nashville and we were going to have steaks out somewhere, but he called the studio and said he couldn’t make it.”

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Tommy James – Net Worth

James earned most of his wealth by selling his albums and selling tickets to his concerts. During his career, James and his group released nine platinum albums and sold more than 102 million records worldwide.

Tommy appeared on late-night infomercials selling collections of music from the Woodstock era for Time-Life. Therefore, musician Tommy James has an estimated net worth of $8 million.

Featured image source – © Guliver / Getty Images.

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13 thoughts on “Tommy James – Net Worth, Wife (Lynda), Songs, Biography”

  1. I’ve known Tom Jackson since we were in Art class together in Niles, Michigan. I am glad he is doing well and hope he keeps on singing.

  2. Love your music forever..I still listen to your songs . They are classic. You guys still look good. Bless you guys for lyrics that speak today . Love much

  3. I saw Tommy in 1966 at the Champion Roller Rink in Champion Ohio. The roller rink is gone by my memories of that night live on!
    Crimson and Clover was my theme song as we skied our way thru Western New York on the we weekends a few years later. Thanks my friend!

  4. My wife and I met tommy James at a casino in Mississippi. A few yrs ago. He was so polite. And gave us time and didn’t rush us off. His voice is still. Great. I’d love to see him again. Thankyou for all the great music. Besafe. Wayne dale. Hammond.

  5. I saw Tommy James in Ohio at a club called the Utopia, I was given tickets by local DJ for my birthday for me and 10 of my friends I was too young and had to convince my aunt to take us!! It was the best night of my young life!! All these years later I still
    Listen to his records and swoon❤️❤️. It would be the best thing ever to her to meet him!!! Love ya Tommy James !!

  6. It’s Monday. Saturday morning two days ago I had this dream or something upon waking. Was definitely thinking about a son that passed 35 years ago. Name Ronnie James. And I was like what? As I’m searching for coffee. For some reason I was confused, pre-coffee, go figure, right? And I’m thinking, did I name this boy after one of my tween and teen age favorite rockers unknowingly? So I look him up. Nope it’s Tommy. Sorry dude, I kinda remember the 60’s and 70’s. Ha! But then I find your vid during pandemic! I was like oh THANK GOD he’s STILL ALIVE! AND HE sounds GREAT! So I sent this link to 28 friends and family Saturday morning. Cuz it’s SO fitting especially right now again. Bless your heart, thanks for that vid Tommy. LOVE IT . ALL of these years, I had no idea about your walk with God. I’m SO thankful that your shared what I have found. This morning it was interview with 700club. Sent THAT link to all my atheists and/or addict friends AND a few others. Because it’s such a great testimony. Blew me AWAY when I read/heard some references to southern Wisconsin and NY, East Coast. God’s up to something here. Stay safe and well now. Til we meet again, Keep Smiling!

  7. Tommy James’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion” masterpiece song consist of a gorgeously hypnotic/spellbinding and tranquil melody with a moralistic lyric plea for a world of love and peace. Simplistically stated in the lyrics “And that’s alright!” is an opportunity for every generation to coexist in an “eternal utopian mindfulness.”
    God Bless Tommy James

  8. So great! I grew up in Niles. Tommy James and the Shondells used to play the armory a lot. I had broken my ankle in 9th grade football, but went to his show with my date anyway, my leg in a big cast. Tommy saw us dancing and called me up on stage, gave my a goodhearted ribbing and a couple albums. He worked at Spin-It Records in Niles. I’d go in, listen to music, buy an album, ask him about new records. Great guy.

  9. My group was at Roulette in 1958 recording DooWop – so I am familiar with that studio,etc.His life-changing testimony means much to this musician and fan of his music and his group. What a great musician and person he is.

  10. Simply the best! I have had the pleasure to see Tommy well over 60 times & he never disappoints. Keep ROCKIN” TJ….


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