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Sweet Cherry Wine by Tommy James & the Shondells

Album: Cellophane SymphonyReleased: 1969Charted:
7
  • Expressing his Christian beliefs in this song, James told us that the "sweet cherry wine" is "A metaphor for the blood of Jesus." Talking about his faith, James said: "I don't worship every Sunday; I worship every day. Every hour of every day. It's just me, it's part of me. I became a Christian in 1967. I was brought up Catholic, but I really didn't know my faith very well, didn't know what I believed, why I believed what I believed. And in 1967 I was listening to Billy Graham at Shea Stadium on television. And we were writing, as a matter of fact, and I put the guitars down and started listening. And he just gave the most amazingly lucid teaching on why Jesus came. And I had never heard it put quite that way before. I had heard a lot of over-my-head sophisticated kind of things growing up. But I never really heard the gospel message quite like that. And there's a moment, I equate it to hitting a champagne glass – a crystal champagne glass with a fork, you know how you get that pure tone? That's kind of how I felt when I heard Billy Graham explain why Jesus came. And I knew I'd heard the truth. It's too simple and too beautiful to not be the truth, and not be God. And I was actually high at the time, it's true. It just cut right through everything that was going on with me, and I just got right up to the TV and put my hand on the TV and made my commitment right there."
  • This was song was released at the height of psychedelia. The 2 previous Tommy James & the Shondells singles were also trippy: "Crimson And Clover" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion."
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Comments: 8

On March 16th 1969, "Sweet Cherry Wine" by Tommy James and the Shondells entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; seven weeks later on May 4th, 1969 it peaked at #7 {for 2 weeks} and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
Between 1966 and 1970 the group had nineteen Top 100 records; seven made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Hanky Panky" for 2 weeks in 1966 and "Crimson and Clover" for 2 weeks in 1969...
They just missed having a third #1 record when "Crystal Blue Persuasion" peaked at #2* {for 3 weeks} in 1969...
Tommy James, as a solo artist, had thirteen Top 100 records; with one reaching the Top 10, "Draggin' the Line" at #4 in 1971 {it reached #2 in Canada}...
Mr. James, born Thomas Gregory Jackson, will celebrate his 68th birthday next month on April 29th {2015}...
* The three weeks that "Crystal Blue Persuasion" was at #2, the #1 record for those three weeks was "In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" by Zager and Evans.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Agree with Ron, Rick, and Martin. And Joe of Monroe, NY: you are correct. "C and C" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" were both on the "C and C" album released in 1968, and the single "C and C" was released first. But for some reason, "Sweet Cherry Wine" was released as a single before "CBP." "SCW" was then included on TJ and the Shondells' next album, "Cellophane Symphony."Mac - Evanston, Il
I agree with both Ron and Rick.Martin - Fresno, Ca
Right on Ron.....a fantastic and beautiful song it is....Tommy made some sweet musicRick - Belfast, Me
was this song also a protest against the war in Vietnam?Mike - Eastman, Ga
The actual order of single releases by TJ & the Shondells was: Crimson & Clover, Sweet Cherry Wine, THEN Crystal Blue Persuasion. There is a marvelous gospel version from 2005 that was done by Tommy James with The Kootz.Joe - Monroe, Ny
love it ! babykissesGrace - Reno / Tahoe , Nv
Sweet Cherry Wine is a beautiful song that doesn't get as much airplay as it should. Tommy James has said that "Sweet Cherry Wine" refers to the blood of Jesus Christ. As the lyrics say
"Only God has the right to decide who's to live and die". "To save us He gave us sweet cherry wine". Ron
Ron - Bothell, Wa