In our interview with Tommy James
, he explained: "'Crystal Blue' was interesting. First of all, I was becoming a Christian at that time, and we never thought a thing about it. We never thought that doing something semi-religious was any big deal. We didn't think of it as being politically incorrect or anything like that. We just did what felt right. I wrote 'Crystal Blue Persuasion' with Eddie Gray and Mike Vale. Eddie came up with the little guitar riff, and Mike and I did the lyrics. And it just felt very right as a sort of semi-religious poetic song, but it turned out to be one of the hardest records I've ever made.
We went in and had a set of drums, we had guitars, we had keyboards, and by the end, we just realized we had totally overproduced the record. It just was not 'Crystal Blue Persuasion' anymore. It was a nice track, but wasn't right. So we had to produce the record, and then we had to un-produce the record. And one by one we just started pulling the instruments out, until we ended up with a conga drum, a bongo, a tambourine, a flamenco guitar, and a very light-sounding bass. We took out the drums completely. We took out all the keyboards except one, which was a Hammond. And basically ended up with about four instruments on it. And suddenly it became 'Crystal Blue Persuasion,' the song that we had written. It has kind of an effervescent sound about it, a lot of atmospherics that just weren't there when it had all those instruments on it. Suddenly when you emptied out the record it sounded like 'Crystal Blue' again. It had that light airy sound, which it needed to be right. And it took us about six weeks to do all that. It really was a very intricate un-production, pulling all the things out. Actually, it was tougher than putting them in because you didn't want to mess up the record, but you wanted to empty it out. So it came out and went #1 for us. It was the follow-up to 'Sweet Cherry Wine
.' We were in Hawaii when it went #1, and I often think of Hawaii as I think of 'Crystal Blue Persuasion.'"