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Tommy James and the Shondells - Crimson and Clover - Lyrics Meaning

This song, written by Tommy James and Peter Lucia Jr. and released in November of 1968, was one of the Shondells' biggest hits, with sales of over five million copies in just eight weeks. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in 1969.

With its pre-Christmas release, some listeners misheard the lyrics - they thought it said, "Christmas is over," instead of "Crimson and Clover."

There is a widespread speculation that the song is about drugs. As James was an amphetamines addict in the late 1960s, it is easy to see how one might come to that conclusion. James, however, refutes that. He maintains that "Crimson" and "Clover" were his two favorite words at the time, and he decided to write a song using the words.


Well if she come walkin' over

Now I been waitin' to show her

Crimson and clover

Over and over

"It's not about drugs," he said, "Though it definitely has that psychedelic quality about it in the music." In another interview, he said, "I felt it was a song I had to make, and there was a whole magical feeling surrounding the making of it."

In 1969, James turned down the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to perform at the original Woodstock Festival. James was relaxing on the beach in Hawaii when his booking agent called to ask if he wanted to play at "...a stupid gig on a pig farm in upstate New York." James opted for the beach.