|"I Think We're Alone Now"|
|Single by Tommy James and the Shondells|
|from the album I Think We're Alone Now|
|B-side||"Gone, Gone, Gone"|
|Released||January 5, 1967|
|Tommy James and the Shondells singles chronology|
"I Think We're Alone Now" is a song written and composed by Ritchie Cordell that was the title selection from a same-named album released by the American recording artists Tommy James and the Shondells. "I Think We're Alone Now" was a 1967 US hit for James and the Shondells, reaching number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song has been covered several times by other artists, most notably by Tiffany in late 1987. The Tiffany recording reached number 1 on the charts of various countries including the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand. Other cover versions have also charted, including those by The Rubinoos (number 45 US, 1977) and Girls Aloud (number 4 UK, 2006).
- 1 Composition
- 2 Recording
- 3 Commercial performance
- 4 Charts
- 5 Lene Lovich version
- 6 Tiffany version
- 7 Snuff version
- 8 Girls Aloud version
- 9 Other versions
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The writing of the song was credited to Ritchie Cordell, who wrote or co-wrote many songs for Tommy James, including the follow-up single to "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mirage" and its B-side "Run, Run, Baby, Run", and 1968's "Mony Mony". Cordell and his regular songwriting partner Bo Gentry gave the song to Tommy James, who thought it sounded like a hit. According to Tommy James, "I Think We're Alone Now" was written by Cordell and Gentry, but as Gentry was still under contract to Kama Sutra Records, the head of Roulette Records, Morris Levy, agreed a deal naming Cordell as sole writer but splitting the royalties with Gentry.
The song was originally written as a slow ballad, but when James, Cordell and Gentry recorded a quick demo, they made the song faster. Tommy James later wrote: "Ritchie and Bo originally wrote the song as a mid-tempo ballad. I said no way and started speeding it up.... I.. put on a nasally, almost juvenile-sounding lead vocal, and without realizing it, we invented "bubblegum" music." They played the song to Levy, who approved of it, and it was then given a proper recording.
The lyrics of the song speak of parental prohibition, especially against sexual activities, and have both the narrator and the person being addressed "trying to get away into the night" to avoid, evade, or defy such prohibition. The first few words of the song, "Children behave! And watch how you play when you're together," makes this quite clear.
The recording was produced by Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry. Tommy James recorded the vocal on the Christmas Eve of 1966 so that the song could be released in the new year.
Like many early Tommy James and the Shondells releases, only band members Tommy James and Eddie Gray were featured on the record, with the rest of the band providing background vocals. Studio musicians were used as the rest of the rhythm section to back up the Shondells. These musicians include Artie Butler playing Ondioline electric keyboard, Al Gorgoni on guitar, Joe Macho on bass, Paul Griffin on piano, and Bobby Gregg on drums.
They recorded the bass and drums first, and the rest then layered onto the recording. They also made the choruses quieter so that the verses became much more prominent. This the first time they had recorded this way, a process they would replicate in many other later records to produce their signature sound.
The version that James and the Shondells originally performed uses hard-driving arrangements for its two verses, both fiercely performed so as to convey a sense of urgency. However, the refrain (performed twice) is almost whispered and indeed followed by a sound effect of crickets chirping, giving an atmosphere of forbidden activities that are being deliberately kept hidden. The fade-out uses the lyrics of the refrain, but this time, the hard-driving arrangements are resumed.
"I Think We're Alone Now" was a 1967 hit song for Tommy James and the Shondells, reaching number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during a 17-week stay. Rock critic Lester Bangs called the single "the bubblegum apotheosis".
Lene Lovich version
|"I Think We're Alone Now"|
|Single by Lene Lovich|
|from the album Stateless|
|Lene Lovich singles chronology|
In 1978, the American singer Lene Lovich recorded a cover version of "I Think We're Alone Now". Her version was originally released with her hit song "Lucky Number" as a B-side. Lovich recorded the song after contacting the radio presenter Charlie Gillett, who helped her get signed by Dave Robinson of Stiff Records. Robinson liked the record and immediately proposed it to be released as a single. However, her song "Lucky Number" gained so much more attention that it was later re-released as a lead single, at which it peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
Track listings and formats
- 7" single (UK)
- "I Think We're Alone Now" – 2:45
- "Lucky Number" – 2:20
|"I Think We're Alone Now"|
|Single by Tiffany|
|from the album Tiffany|
|Length||3:47 (Album Version)|
4:25 (Single Version)
|Tiffany singles chronology|
"I Think We’re Alone Now″ was re-popularized when American pop singer Tiffany covered the song when she was 15 for her eponymous debut studio album, which was released in 1987 on the MCA Records label. When George Tobin, Tiffany's manager and producer, gave her the cassette of the original version by Tommy James & the Shondells, Tiffany hated the idea of recording a version of her own for her album, mostly because she thought the song was neither modern enough nor hip enough. According to Tiffany, she also did not know that the song is about the prohibition of teenage sex. The producers then remade the song as a dance track, and when Tiffany played this to her friends, they started to dance to it. Tiffany returned the next day to record the song in around four takes.
Tiffany also recorded "I Think We're Alone Now", but in a different arrangement, for her sixth album and her second as an indie artist, Dust Off and Dance, which became her only album in the electronica genre. It was released in 2005. For the 2007 compilation album I Think We're Alone Now: 80's Hits and More, her vocals were re-recorded, using the remixed 1987 backing track as a guide. Her earlier version is referenced in the alternative group Weezer's song "Heart Songs" on the band's 2008 Red Album. Weezer incorrectly referred to it as having been performed by Debbie Gibson, who performed a similar style of pop music and was popular during the same time as Tiffany. Rivers Cuomo admitted that he noticed the mistake while writing the song, but left it in the finished song.
Tiffany and Tobin made no attempt to contrast the verses and the refrain, as James and the Shondells had, instead keeping the "peppy"[according to whom?] arrangements they used all throughout her recording and performances.
"I Think We're Alone Now" proved to be Tiffany's biggest hit once she did record and release it. Her version of the song spent two weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (coincidentally, another Tommy James & the Shondells cover, Billy Idol's version of "Mony Mony", followed it on the top spot) and three weeks at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.
"I Think We're Alone Now" was not the first single from Tiffany's debut album. The first single was "Danny", but radio started picking up "I Think We're Alone Now", another selection on the album. It became a runaway number 1 hit and was the eighteenth highest selling single for 1987 and the thirty-second highest selling single in Australia for 1988.
The music video was shot in numerous shopping malls in Utah, which echoed the way her early career had been promoted. Fashion Place Mall (Murray, Utah), Crossroads Mall (Salt Lake City, Utah), 49th Street Galleria (Murray, Utah) and Ogden City Mall (Ogden, Utah). Elements of the video were filmed in the now demolished Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham, UK. The video was featured in the 2012 film Ted and the song was also on the soundtrack and appears in its sequel.
Track listings and formats
- "I Think We're Alone Now" – 3:47
- "No Rules" – 4:05
12" vinyl single
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (extended version) – 6:35
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (single version) – 4:25
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (dub version) – 6:35
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||626,700|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|"I Think We're Alone Now"|
|Single by Snuff|
|Released||August 12, 1998|
|Label||Fat Wreck Chords|
|Snuff singles chronology|
In 1989, Snuff covered the song for their first album, Snuff Said. In 1998, Snuff again covered the song for the compilation album Punk Chartbusters Vol 3. Unlike the original, this version is very punk-heavy. In addition to the original length of the song that was released, many different length versions of the song exist: there is such an extended version with a length from 6:36 minutes, a 3:00 minutes long remix, and an a capella version, which contains a length from 5:50 minutes. On the B-side of the song is the single "Christmas Song".
Track listings and formats
- "I Think We're Alone Now" – 1:50
- "Christmas Song" – 0:05
- "I Think We're Alone Now" – 1:50
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (extended version) – 6:36
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (remix) – 3:00
- "I Think We're Alone Now" (a capella version) – 5:50
Girls Aloud version
|"I Think We're Alone Now"|
|Single by Girls Aloud|
|from the album The Sound of Girls Aloud|
|Released||December 18, 2006|
|Length||3:42 (single mix/version)|
3:18 (album version)
|Girls Aloud singles chronology|
In 2006, the British-Irish all-female pop group Girls Aloud recorded a cover version of "I Think We're Alone Now" for their greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud and the soundtrack of It's a Boy Girl Thing. Girls Aloud's version was produced by Brian Higgins and his production team Xenomania. The song was recorded just days before the group's greatest hits was sent to be manufactured. Following a single remix, "I Think We're Alone Now" was released as a contender for the Christmas number one. It reached the top five on the UK Singles Chart.
The music video, inspired by heist films, features Girls Aloud robbing a Las Vegas casino. "I Think We're Alone Now" was promoted through various live appearances and was featured on 2007's The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. The track was criticised and labelled "pointless" by contemporary music critics.
Until three days before the greatest hits was manufactured, a cover of Irene Cara's "What A Feeling" was going to be in place of "I Think We're Alone Now". But members of Girls Aloud had called their record label on a Friday afternoon to say that they would rather record "I Think We're Alone Now"; the group recorded the song the following morning, and the album was mastered on Monday, three days afterwards. The album version was drastically reworked for the single release, due to the initial version having been so hastily recorded. Higgins said that "Xenomania used the only idea they could think of, which was to make the song sound like 'Something Kinda Ooooh.'" Sarah Harding said, "We’ve given it a Girls Aloud twist, made it a bit clubbier, and also brought it up to date." The single features an alternative vocal arrangement and an entirely new backing track. Later pressings of the greatest hits include the single version of "I Think We're Alone Now".
The song was released on December 18, 2006. It was available on two CD single formats and as a digital download. The first disc included a previously unreleased track entitled "Why Do It?", co-written by Girls Aloud. The second CD format features a number of remixes, as well as a cover of the Christmas classic "Jingle Bell Rock". Girls Aloud's cover of "Jingle Bell Rock" was originally featured on the Christmas bonus disc that came with the limited edition of 2005's Chemistry. The artwork for the second disc features Girls Aloud draped over a Fender guitar amplifier.
Girls Aloud's version of "I Think We're Alone Now" appears on the soundtrack to the film It's a Boy Girl Thing (2006), starring Samaire Armstrong and Kevin Zegers. The film was produced by Elton John's husband David Furnish.
Girls Aloud's cover of the song was widely slated by music critics. An unidentified staff writer at WalesOnline described it as "cheap, obnoxious, totally pointless and, destined to be loved only by people too out of their heads on Christmas spirit to know any better". Adam Burling of musicOMH exclaimed, "Christmas does funny things to people. Even pop groups as reliably excellent at singles as Girls Aloud toss out pointless, lazy covers in a ruthless attempt to snare that coveted seasonal chart-topper from the X-Factor's clutches." A BBC Music review of The Sound of Girls Aloud chose to "ignore the Xmas party cover". Yahoo! Music stated "the karaoke rendition[s] of [...] Tiffany's 'I Think We're Alone Now' really drag this collection down". On the other hand, John Murphy of musicOMH said the cover "actually does the impossible by making Tiffany's version sound good".
The single debuted at number 50 on the UK Singles Chart a week prior to its physical release, due to download sales. The following week, "I Think We're Alone Now" peaked at number 4 on the Christmas chart, being beaten by Leona Lewis' "A Moment Like This". The song slipped to number 7 in its second week. It spent a total of seven weeks in the top 75. The song also peaked at number 11 on the Irish Singles Chart and spent six weeks in Ireland's top 50. As their 17th best selling single it has sold a total of 85,000 copies.
Three different endings to the video were shot. The first shows the girls getting caught and tied up after opening a box full of money in the casino's safe; the second features Kimberley Walsh (with her back to the camera) removing her clothes in front of casino owners, causing them to faint; and the third features the girls playing with the money. 3 customers were allowed to vote on their favourite ending from November 8 to November 15, 2006. This last ending won the vote, despite the version with Kimberley stripping being uploaded to the internet. In March 2007, all versions of the video were made available to download on iTunes, though in the UK Store only.
The band performed the song at the following events:
Track listings and formats
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "I Think We're Alone Now".
UK CD1 (Fascination / 1714586)
UK CD2 (Fascination / 1714587)
The Singles Boxset (CD14)
Credits and personnel
- Guitar: Nick Coler
- Keyboards: Brian Higgins, Tim Powell, Toby Scott
- Mastering: Dick Beetham for 360 Mastering
- Mixing: Brian Higgins, Tim Powell
- Production: Brian Higgins, Xenomania
- Programming: Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, Tim Powell, Paul Woods
- Vocals: Girls Aloud
- Published by Warner/Chappell Music and Xenomania Music
The song has also been covered by a number of other artists, including The Killers, The Turtles, Trust Company, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, The Spinto Band, Pascal featuring Karen Parry, The Click Five, Bel's Boys, The Birthday Massacre, Comadre, The Pipettes, Ratcat on their EP Ratcat, Screeching Weasel, The Crimea, The Rubinoos, Kids Incorporated, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
A Japanese adaptation "Futari no Sekai" (ふたりの世界) was recorded by Yōko Nagayama on her album Tokyo Menu (トーキョー・メニュー).
A Spanish adaptation "Ahora estoy solo" was recorded by Los Hitters. The lyrics take distance from the meaning of the English version as the song relates about a guy that got a break-up rather than the innuendo of the English lyrics. The song was covered later by Mexican duet Cereza y Miel as "Ahora Estoy Sola".
Dave Garr, who wrote a good deal of song parodies about computers, covered this as "I Think We're a Clone Now". The parody dealt with the licensing of the Macintosh from Apple Computer to other companies during the short period in which Macintosh clones were made. The video was recorded in 1995 at Apple's headquarters and features the building and its landmarks of the day, references to former Apple CEOs Mike Spindler and John Sculley, and some vintage Macintosh computers including a Macintosh Classic and an Apple Lisa.
Also, as part of RadioShack's "TheShack" commercial campaign, one commercial features a man in an office cubicle with headphones on singing part of the bridge and chorus in a falsetto range to Tiffany's version.
Swedish group Cosmo4 covered Tiffany's 1987 version of "I Think We're Alone Now" for their debut album Around The World as requested by the Russian record label Style Records. Despite the album having been shelved, the song was released to the compilation Dance 2008, Vol. 2 in Thailand by the record label Red Beat in 2008.
- James, Tommy (16 Feb 2010). Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells. Simon and Schuster. pp. 99–101. ISBN 9781439142646.
- Simpson, Dave (30 July 2019). "How we made I Think We're Alone Now: Tommy James and Tiffany on their shared hit". The Guardian.
- "Search listener". Flavour of New Zealand.
- "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
- "Top 100 Singles of 1967 in Canada". Music Canada Blog. October 29, 2015.
- Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967, Music Outfitters. Accessed February 23, 2017.
- "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1968", Cash Box, December 23, 1967. Accessed February 23, 2017.
- Juneau, Jason. "Innovation in New Wave:Lene Lovich", Perfect Sound Forever, September, 2001.
- I Think We're Alone Now (UK 7-inch Single liner notes). Lene Lovich. Stiff Records. 1978. BUY 32.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "The Top 100 Pop Singles of 1987". 80sxchange.com. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
- "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1988". ARIACharts. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
- "Australian-charts.com – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 310. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and June 19, 1988.
- "Austriancharts.at – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Ultratop.be – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- Nanda Lwin (2000). Top 40 Hits 1975-present. Mississauga, Ont.: Music Data Canada. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0908." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- "Lescharts.com – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Íslenski Listinn Topp 10 (5. febrúar 1988)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 26, 2018. Cite magazine requires
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Tiffany". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Hit Parade Italia - Top Annuali Single: 1988" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Charts.nz – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". VG-lista. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- "Swisscharts.com – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Tiffany - Chart history (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Tiffany - Chart history (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 240.
- "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1987/Top 100 Songs of 1987". musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1987
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Top 100 Singles of '88" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 10. December 24, 1988. p. 9. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- "End of Year Charts 1988". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
- Scaping, Peter, ed. (1991). "Top 100 Singles: 1988". BPI YearBook 1989/90. London, England: British Phonographic Industry. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-0-9061-5410-6.
- "Canadian single certifications – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". Music Canada. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
- "Official Charts Flashback 1988: Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". The Official Charts Company. January 25, 2018.
- "British single certifications – Tiffany – I Think We're Alone Now". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type I Think We're Alone Now in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- Robinson, Peter (2009). "I Think We're Alone Now". The Singles Boxset (Booklet). Girls Aloud. London, England: Fascination Records. pp. 32–33.
- Jacqui Swift (December 22, 2006). "Girls are loud and proud". The Sun. News International. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- "Girls Aloud - I Think We're Alone Now (CD, Single, CD1)". Discogs. Zink Media Inc. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "Girls Aloud - Chemistry (CD, Album + CD, Bon)". Discogs. Zink Media Inc. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "Elton's heart's meltin' at Xmas". The Sun. News International. December 20, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- "Girls Aloud, I Think We're Alone Now". walesonline.co.uk. Media Wales. December 20, 2006. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- Adam Burling (December 9, 2006). "Girls Aloud - I Think We're Alone Now (Polydor)". musicOMH. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- Talia Kraines (November 14, 2006). "Girls Aloud The Sound of Girls Aloud: the Greatest Hits Review". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- Adam Webb (November 2, 2006). "Girls Aloud - The Sound Of Girls Aloud". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- John Murphy (2006-10-03). "Girls Aloud - The Sound Of: The Greatest Hits (Polydor)". musicOMH. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "I Think We're Alone Now". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "X Factor's Leona has festive No 1". BBC News. BBC. December 25, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "Archive Chart - 6th January 2007". The Official UK Charts Company. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "Girls Aloud". The Official UK Charts Company. British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- "I Think We're Alone Now". aCharts.us. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- "Girls have Christmas all tied up". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. November 8, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- "Girls Aloud are in pole position". The Sun. News International. November 8, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
- Kim's Aloud to keep kit on in video, Sunday Mail
- "Download Girls Aloud Music on iTunes". Retrieved April 23, 2011.
- "Chart Track: Week 51, 2006". Irish Singles Chart.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.