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Tighter, Tighter by Alive 'N Kickin'

Album: Alive 'N Kickin'Released: 1970Charted:
7
  • This was written and produced by Tommy James after the dissolution of his group The Shondells. In our interview with Tommy James, he told the story of the song: "I was dying to get back in the studio, and I had written a song called 'Tighter, Tighter.' It was going to be my single. And right about that time, my wife's friend was managing a group called Alive 'N Kickin' from Brooklyn. And they were a good group, a really good group, I went out to see them a couple of times in different places. And I was going to produce them at some point, but sometime in the future. I didn't have the time for it right now, didn't have the head for it. So I went in and I laid down a track of this song called 'Tighter, Tighter,' and I just didn't like the way it was coming out, it just wasn't right. Somehow – it didn't happen to me very often, but I just miscalculated the vocal, and I didn't like the way I sounded on it. I really believed the song was a hit - I had written it with Bob King, my new songwriting partner at that time. And so I remembered this group. They had a male and a female lead singer that would switch off leads. So I re-wrote the song as a duet. I called them up and said, 'You guys, can you come down here and add your players on top of what we've already done, and I think you've got a hit with this.' So they came in and that's just what we did. We put their guitar player on, we put their keyboard player on, we added some horns, and Pepe and Sandy sang the lead, and then Pepe, Sandy and I did backgrounds. And it came out beautiful, we took it to (James' record label) Roulette, Roulette put it out, and it went #1 immediately. It was a big hit record for them. It ended up being the first group outside of the Shondells that I produced. I produced a few other acts, Patti Austin, a group called Troy, which was Benny Mardones who later had a hit with 'Into The Night' in the late '70s. I was producing a few people and having some fun. And then I basically went back in and recorded as a solo act from that point on."
  • Bruce Sudano, the keyboard player of the group, is married to Donna Summer. (thanks, Neil - Skokie, IL)
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Comments: 9

On July 11th 1970, Alive 'N Kickin' performed "Tighter, Tighter" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Two months earlier on May 31st, 1970 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #73; and on August 2nd, 1970 it peaked at #7 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
As already stated, the song was composed by Tommy James; and exactly four years earlier on July 11th, 1966 "Hanky Panky" was the #1 record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
The quintet had one other record make the Top 100, "Just Let It Come", it stayed on the Top 100 for 5 weeks, peaking at #69.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Must also mention Great guitar solo too.Bill - Pensacola, Fl
I like how Tommy says "we added some horns..."
Uh yeah, one of the coolest horn arrangements in pop. The horns are what take this song to the next level
because they bring the energy of the vocals up another notch. Just a great song.
And this song is full of energy.
Bill - Pensacola, Fl
Alive N Kickin is playing at the Nassau Red Cross Annual Dinner on May 13, 2009. The band leader Pepe Cardona is a longtime friend of the CEO of the Red Cross, Frank Cassano.Robert - Mineola, Ny
I was only nine years old when "Tighter, Tighter" came out in 1970, but I remember it well. It too has become my all time favorite song. I work in cardiac rehab (an exercise program for those with heart problems), and "Tighter" is known as our closing song, the day is over, and it's time to go home!

Carol/Clayton, CA
Carol - Clayton, Ca
Loved "Tighter, Tighter" and the b-side, "Sunday Morning." Unfortunately, only a snippet of "Sunday Morning" made it on to the album.Abby - Forest Hills, Ny
The lead singer of the band, Alive & Kickin' is Joseph "Pepe" Cardona.Lawrence Berman - Brooklyn, Ny
tommy james your the best and ty for tighter tighter, its my favorate all time song, alive and kicking your tops with me... babykissesGrace - Reno / Tahoe , Nv
Alive and Kicking was a pop/rock septet from New York led by singers Pepe Carona and Sandy Toder, who scored a number seven hit in 1970 with 'Tighter, Tighter,' a song co-written and produced by Tommy James. They later modified their name to Alive 'N Kickin'. Bruce Sudano, later of Brooklyn Dreams and husband of Donna Summer, was a member.Ron - Curitiba, Brazil