30/4/15 – Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive – 1969 / Tommy James & The Shondells – I’m Alive – 1969

Johnny Thunder 7 inch single 1969New York Doll’s Johnny Thunders allegedly took his name from this fine fellow, stole it actually, but hey it’s just a name and the two styles were so different and a decade apart and nobody in either camp noticed. Then of course there’s the DC comics Johnny Thunder where the name was borrowed from in the first place.

As far as the song, it was originally released in the same year by Tommy James and The Shondells and written by Tommy James and Peter Lucia Jr (Tommy James’ drummer). It was another example of the influence that Psychedelic Pop was having on black musicians as Johnny Thunder recorded his own stirring version of the song. (It was also covered by English singer Don Fardon and professional Welshman Tom Jones).

Tommy James I'm Alive 7 inch single 1969

Johnny Thunder (real name Gil Hamiliton) was the singer of The Drifters for a short while, but in 1963 had his biggest solo hit with Loop de Loop. By 1969 he was grooving to Psychedelic sounds and in my opinion recorded the best version of I’m Alive, putting that black thang into that white thang to great success. It’s the fuzzy guitar, together with his R&B voice that make this a ‘hybrid’ Psychedelic Soul classic. Unfortunately I can’t find a picture of Thunder later than 1962.

Johnny_Thunder_1962

Sadly Peter Lucia died of a heart attack on a Los Angeles golf course at the age of 39. Lucia also co-wrote the Tommy James and The Shondells sixties classic Crimson And Clover a US No.1 single.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Thunder_(singer)

http://www.johnnythunder.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_James

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One Response to “30/4/15 – Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive – 1969 / Tommy James & The Shondells – I’m Alive – 1969”

  1. jedmatthew May 4, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    1969 Rolling Stone interview:

    WENNER: Is there anything happening on the current rock and roll scene that strikes you as good?
    DYLAN: Yeah, I heard a record by Johnny Thunder. It’s called “I’m Alive.” Never heard it either, huh? Well, I can’t believe it. Everyone I’ve talked to, I’ve asked them if they’ve heard that record.
    WENNER: Is it on the radio right now?
    DYLAN: I don’t know. I heard it on the radio a month ago, two months ago… three months ago. It was one of the most powerful records I’ve ever heard. It’s called “I’m Alive.” By Johnny Thunder. Well, it was that sentiment, truly expressed. That’s the most I can say… if you heard the record, you’d know what I mean. But that’s about all…

    source:
    http://www.jannswenner.com/archives/bob_dylan.aspx

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