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Billy Idol - Mony Mony (Live) (1987)

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  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.62
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Mony Mony" is a 1968 single by American pop rock band Tommy James and the Shondells. Billy Idol version Background and ...

"Mony Mony" is a 1968 single by American pop rock band Tommy James and the Shondells.

Billy Idol version

Background and release

British rock artist Billy Idol released a cover version in 1981 (on the Don't Stop EP). Along with the track "Baby Talk", Idol's version of "Mony Mony" went to No. 7 on the Billboard dance chart. A live recording of the song became a hit for Idol in 1987 as well, while promoting his then-forthcoming compilation work Vital Idol. The live version was released as a single and went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, coincidentally displacing Tiffany's cover of another Tommy James song, "I Think We're Alone Now", from the top spot. It also finished directly behind the Tiffany song at No. 19 in the 1987 year-end Billboard chart.

Idol's version gave rise to an interesting custom. When the song was performed live in concert or played at a club or dance, people would shout a certain formulaic (and usually obscene) variation of a particular phrase in the two measures following each line, for example, "Hey, say what… get laid get fucked!" Or "Hey, motherfucker… get laid get fucked!" This led to the song being banned at high-school dances across North America, although the custom continues at Idol concerts & sporting events today. It became so widespread that Idol would eventually commit the lyrics to record in the "Idol/Stevens Mix" of the song on the 2018 remix album Vital Idol: Revitalized.

Idol revived interest in the original garage rock song. His original studio version can be found on Idol's Greatest Hits compilation album, a 2001 Capitol Records release. That album has received positive critical reviews, with Idol's cover of the James tune specifically praised.

Uses in popular culture

The song was sampled by Australian Seven Network to promote its 1992 (jobs) "Yeah!" campaign. This sample was also used by the Seven-affiliated regional TV network Prime Television (now Prime7).

"Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a parody of this song from his album Even Worse, entitled "Alimony" (based on the live Idol version, complete with a live audience). It is about a recently divorced man complaining about his ex-wife taking everything he owns away from him in alimony payments.

A cover version of the song appeared in Malcolm in the Middle Season 7 Episode 2 Health Insurance (2005) when Craig (David Anthony Higgins) threw a breakroom party for Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) celebrating her 10th anniversary at Lucky Aide; the show's fictional grocery store. Despite obvious changes to the lyrics, the cover otherwise followed the same melody as Idol's version with "Mony Mony" most notably replaced with "Lois Lois".

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