The Nineteenth Day of Mellowmas: Jesus and the Shondells

Jeff: Well, Jason, we’re nearing the end of another Mellowmas. Only a few more days to go!


Jeff: We’ve heard so much this year.

Jason: I’ve already done my darndest to forget most of it.

Jeff: We found out about Norwegian country music.

Jason: And yet we didn’t find out what an Arne Benoni really is.

Jeff: We learned what a Mandisa is, though.

Jason: It got all up in my Figglehorn, if I recall correctly.

Jeff: It did, and it was painful. Oh, and we had more Dollytoe!

Jason: Yes, as a part of Scheffmas.

Jeff: What this Mellowmas has been suspiciously light on, however, is songs from artists whose last names could be first names.

Jason: Bryan Adams comes close!

Jeff: Close, but not quite! And I know you love music by artists whose last names could be first names. I mean, hey, Billy Joel. Also Lionel Richie!

Jason: Ah! You forgot one we did! Toby Keith! SUCK IT!

Jeff: Flippity flops CABO WABO!

Jason: But yes. You are right. And I know exactly where you’re going with this.

Jeff: You do?

Jason: Yes. Because it was either last year or the year before when a CD showed up in my mailbox.

Jeff: I’m leaning forward expectantly.

Jason: And it looked a little like this:

Tommy James, "I Love Christmas"


Jeff: leprechaun dance

Jason: You and your goddamn leprechaun dance.

At the time, I believe Mellowmas was just about over, so I stashed the CD in a cabinet and forgot about it.
Which was awesome.

Jeff: Did you forget about it, only to rediscover it months later? Please say you did.

Jason: Unfortunately, I decided to clean the cabinet last month. glares YES, I FOUND IT.

Jeff: Oh, I love this story so much. I wish Jimmy Durante were here to narrate it.

Jason: And this is the worst part: It was like I was in a trance. I walked over to my computer with the CD and ripped it.

There was a part of me that was like, “What the hell are you doing?” but it was this teeny-tiny small part and I could barely hear it. There was a much louder voice yelling “RIP IT! RIIIIIP IIIIIIIIT!”

Jeff: That was my voice! It was me!

Jason: And that’s how Tommy James’ I Love Christmas ended up in my iTunes.

Jeff: wild applause That’s where it belongs. You can’t deny it. I mean, just look at that album cover.

Jason: It’s as if someone took a physical pair of scissors to the photo of him.

Jeff: I wish they’d kept going and given him a haircut. Jesus, Tommy James.

So what’s on this record, anyway? Do we get to hear “Crystal Blue Silent Night”?

Jason: I’ll be honest with you: I never made it past the first track.

Jeff: That’s impressive. You make it through everything!

Jason: According to the press release, it was played on over 3000 radio stations nationwide. And it was what inspired him to record the entire album.

Jeff: “*Nation of Kazakhstan”

Jason: And you’re right. I usually do make it through everything. I didn’t stop here because I was fed-up. I stopped here because I felt like there was just no need to go any further.

Jeff: Oh no. You mean…

Jason: It’s PERFECT. I think we’ve encountered a track like “I Love Christmas” before, Jeff.

Jeff: Did it end with me stabbing myself?

Jason: You know those ones where someone just looks up all the words related to “Christmas” and just chucks ‘em all into one song?

Jeff: Have you ever heard of Mellowmas?

Jason: Ha! Welcome to “I Love Christmas.”

Tommy James, “I Love Christmas” (download)
Tommy James, "I Love Christmas"
From I Love Christmas

Jeff: Ahhhh, shit. I can tell where this is going already.

Jason: Hey, there are the bells Vanessa Carlton was looking for!

Jeff: Aaaaand there are the fake bells.

Jason: Oh yeah! So synthy!

Jeff: Fake everything, actually.

Jason: Who records a beat like this in 2008?

Jeff: This was recorded in 2008?

Jason: That’s when the album was released. Not sure about the track itself, actually.

Jeff: I feel like Tommy James went on a bender in 1989, recorded this in a fit of black holiday hatred, and accidentally rediscovered it in 2008.

Jason: That’s totally plausible.

Jeff: Speaking of black holiday hatred, here’s me right now.

Jason: Hey, YOU sent it to ME, asshole!

Jeff: I had no idea.

Sax solo!

Jason: So pander-y! Ooh, let’s break it down right here.

Jeff: Synth wind!

Jason: So now he’s watching his own kids under the Christmas tree? How small are these kids?

Jeff: Oh, now he’s watching his own kids under the Christmas tree. I bet Kevin Cronin wishes he wrote this.




Jeff: That’s a Mellowmas cock punch right there. Screw you, Tommy James.

Jason: He mentioned “Christmas,” “the USA,” and “Jesus” in a FIVE-SECOND INTERVAL. That’s TALENT!

Jeff: Yeah, and he waited until halfway through the song! He starts off making you think he’s recording a Stephen Bishop B-side, and then he slips in the religious patriotic crap.

Jason: Wait, here comes the ending. Count how many other songs he throws in!

Seven! “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and it doesn’t even fit!


Jason: And a creepy “I love Christmas” whisper! Do you see why I stopped here?


Jason: These things continue to happen, Jeff, so long as your wife allows you access to a credit card. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

Jeff: You make a good argument, but I’m going to keep on blaming Tommy James. “Happy Birthday Jesus.” GOD.

Jason: That was the moment I knew we had to listen to this track together.

Jeff: What do you think the odds are that he wrote this song with a straight face?

Jason: Oh, I think they’re quite, quite high.

Jeff: I don’t know much about Tommy James, but I feel like any sane adult would know what a load of crap this is.

Jason: Well, happy birthday Jesus, everyone.

Jeff: I feel like we could have gotten Him a better gift, but, um, it’s Mellowmas. Ho, ho, ho?

Jason: Are your ears red right now? Because EVERYBODY ON THE INTERNET IS GLARING AT YOU.

  • jabartlett


  • CraigoryVOL

    This is what the season is all about.

  • dslifton

    Even though I’ve never been a Tommy James fan, I don’t know why I should have expected better.

  • dslifton

    Even though I’ve never been a Tommy James fan, I don’t know why I should have expected better.

  • Old_Davy

    I didn’t even listen to the track but I can still tell this is the worst Mellowmas song so far this year.

    That picture. You guys had that picture and not ONE Eddie Money joke?

  • Beau

    I’m picturing the big dude in the Simpsons with Michael Jackson’s voice singing, “Jesus, it’s your birthday! Happy birthday, Jesus!”

  • Michael Burke

    Listen to the synth bass! Holy crap! This is hilarious!

  • Michael Burke

    Listen to the synth bass! Holy crap! This is hilarious!

  • Michael Burke

    Listen to the synth bass! Holy crap! This is hilarious!

  • Anonymous

    1. I actually read some of Jason’s lines in Jimmy Durante’s voice upon Schozzola’s mention.

    2. You overlooked the self-reference (“cherry wine”, as in “Sweet…”) in the SECOND FRICKIN’ LINE.

    3.The line about “I’m glad we live in the USA, which is God’s chosen land” guarantees I won’t be adding Tommy Keith to the Mellowmas folder. Did he plug this disc on Huckabee?

  • Anonymous

    Key change!

  • Dale Smith

    Tommy James’ I Love Christmas is among the greatest Christmas songs ever.  It brings a pop rock beat, beautiful voice, and a combination of the best there is in celebration of the “secular” and “Christian” holiday.  And I am glad to be living in the USA.  I love this song.

    And you goes should go deeper into the CD and listen to It’s Christmas Again.  A wonderful love lost and hopefully regained type of song.  Most everybody has an opinion, and that is mine!

    Thanks for the forum!

    Dale Smith
    Lebanon, IN

  • Dale Smith

    Hi Beau, I don’t know if you have actually heard the song or not, but Tommy’s I Love Christmas is a song that a little kid, grandma and grandpa, and everyone else will enjoy.  Hey, it’s Christmas, and this is a great song!

  • Beau

    Oh yes, I always make myself listen to the Mellowmas fare. Every now and then, I actually like it. Not this time. I wasn’t a fan of homogenized synth beats like that back when they were popular in the ’80s, and while I consider myself religious and patriotic, I thought the shoutouts to Jesus and the USA were heavy-handed at best.

  • Brett Alan

    OK, I’m not going to go overboard like Dale did, but I like this song. Well, I don’t like the lyrics, but I like the tune. And, yes, I actually have heard it on the radio.

    Tommy James ought to be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. I mean, obviously not for THIS, but he should be, anyway.

  • Dale Smith

    What do you mean by heavy-handed?  A sportswriter?  I wish I had taken off in that direction during college.

  • Dale Smith

    Hello Brett, I’d be interested to hear what you think about TJ’s song It’s Christmas Again.  You can find it on u-tube.

  • Curt Shannon

    He made some great make-out music in the 60’s, but this really, really sucks.  Some research on Wikipedia reveals this gem, which says it all:
    “As the band (Tommy James and the Shondells) embraced the sounds of psychedelia, they were invited to perform at the Woodstock concert but declined.”

  • Curt Shannon

    Umm, Dale, you obviously are not familiar with this “forum” or you would not be giving thanks…

  • jefito

    Now, now. We appreciate Dale’s input, as well as his manners.

  • Beau

    Sportswriting is a good career if you’re not attached to abstract things like “money” and “dignity”?

  • Brett Alan

    Sorry to say this, but I didn’t care for it. Sounds like an 80’s arena rocker, Eddie Money or REO Speedwagon or something. Not to my liking. Listened to a couple other tracks–I liked his take on “Little Drummer Boy”.

  • Stephen

    Am I the only one who heard Anne Murray’s “Walk Right Back” in the beginning of this song?

  • Stephen

    Am I the only one who heard Anne Murray’s “Walk Right Back” in the beginning of this song?

  • Stephen

    Am I the only one who heard Anne Murray’s “Walk Right Back” in the beginning of this song?