Saturday, September 12, 2020

"Mony Mony" by Billy Idol

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3255
Date:  09/05/1987
Debut:  72
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Idol's 1984 album Rebel Yell was a success in the US reaching #6 and eventually going double-platinum thanks mainly to the #4 hit "Eyes Without a Face." In his UK homeland, the album didn't do quite that well. It got to #36 and failed to generate a Top 10 hit. To help boost Idol prior to his next LP, a "mini" album of seven remixed tracks from Rebel Yell and his debut EP Don't Stop was assembled and issued out in the UK and other countries as Vital Idol. It ended up selling well getting to #7 in the UK, however the album wasn't released in the US. After the platinum success of his 1986 LP Whiplash Smile, Idol's label then decided to push out a revised edition Vital Idol in the US. The LP contained a remix of "Mony Mony," which first appeared on Don't Stop. The original version was issued out as a single in 1981, but it failed to make the US chart (bubbling under at #107). Vital Idol provided an opportunity to try the song again as a single, but instead of using the new remix version, a live recording of the song, which was not on the album, was pushed out for release. The single began to catch on and eventually it became Idol's first and only song to top the US Pop chart. It also got to #27 at Rock. Even though the live version wasn't on Vital Idol, the single helped promote the LP and it ended up becoming Idol's third US platinum record topping out at #10. Back in the UK, the single made it to #7 with the updated version of Vital Idol getting to #41. However, a new 1988 compilation titled 11 of the Best would be issued out in the UK and other countries (not the US) and it would contain the live single version of "Mony Mony." It would be a platinum seller in the UK getting to #2.

ReduxReview:  I find it funny that this live version went to #1 because I don't remember it all. I only remember the studio version. At least that is what got played on my local radio stations. The live version is actually not too bad. The performance is solid, the production (which was probably enhanced in the studio) was beefy, the background singers were great, and Idol sounded terrific and really into it. I still prefer the studio version, but this is a rare live track where the excitement of the moment is nearly captured.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Tommy James & the Shondells. Their original version would reach #3 in 1968. It was written by James along with Bo Gentry, Ritchie Cordell, and Bobby Bloom. The odd title came about when James was wanting to write a song with a catchy, kind of nonsensical title like "Bony Maroney." When he and Cordell were in a hotel room trying to finish off a tune, James got frustrated in trying to come up with a title, so he took a little break and went out on the room's balcony. He looked up at a nearby building and saw the big logo for the Mutual of New York company - M.O.N.Y. Inspiration from high places. 2) Oddly enough, when this song reached the #1 spot, it replaced a remake of another Tommy James hit. Tiffany's version of the Tommy James & the Shondells hit "I Think We're Alone Now" had just spent two weeks at #1 when Idol's remake kicked it out of the top spot and spent a week there.


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