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The Shadows of Knight
The band in 1966. Top, from left: Jerry McGeorge, Warren Rogers, Joe Kelley. Bottom from left: Jim Sohns and Tom Schiffour.
The band in 1966. Top, from left: Jerry McGeorge, Warren Rogers, Joe Kelley. Bottom from left: Jim Sohns and Tom Schiffour.
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres
Years active1964–2022
Labels Dunwich, Radar, Team, Sundazed, Rhino, Atlantic, Atco, Collectables, Wicked Cool
Past members
  • Jim Sohns
  • Jerry McGeorge
  • Warren Rogers
  • Joe Kelley
  • Tom Schiffour
  • Wayne Pursell
  • Norm Gotsch
  • David "Hawk" Wolinski
  • Michael Weber
  • Jeff Millar-Sax
Website Shadows Of Knight Official Facebook

The Shadows of Knight were an American rock band from Chicago, Illinois, that played a version of British blues influenced by their native city. When they began recording in 1965, the band's self-description was "the Stones, Animals and the Yardbirds took the Chicago blues and gave it an English interpretation. We've taken the English version of the Blues and re-added a Chicago touch," to which rock critic Richie Unterberger commented: "The Shadows of Knight's self-description was fairly accurate." [1]

History

1960s

The band was formed in 1964 as simply the Shadows. In the spring of 1965, the band learned of an already existing British group, the Shadows. Whiz Winters, a friend who worked for their manager, Paul Sampson, in his record shop, came up with the name "The Shadows of Knight" to tie into the British Invasion in music of that time, and because four of the band members attended Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, whose sports team had the name "The Knights". [2]

Founding members included Jim Sohns ( vocals; 1946–2022), [3] Warren Rogers ( lead guitar), Norm Gotsch ( rhythm guitar), Wayne Pursell ( bass guitar), and Tom Schiffour ( drums). [4] [5] They released three albums in their first five years of existence. In early Fall 1965, Pursell left the band to attend college and Joe Kelley was recruited to play bass. Kelley would swap bass and lead duties with Rogers in late 1965 at the time of the "Gloria" recordings. Guitarist and vocalist Jerry McGeorge replaced Norm Gotsch in late 1965 after Gotsch joined the U.S. Navy, serving in Vietnam during his tour of duty. [4] David "Hawk" Wolinski, who later worked with Rufus and Chaka Khan, replaced Rogers on bass in late 1966. [4]

After performing in and around Chicago's northwest suburbs in 1964 and 1965, The Shadows of Knight became the house band at The Cellar in Arlington Heights, Illinois, owned by Sampson. [4] They attracted more than 500 teenagers every Saturday and Sunday at the "Cellar" for more than six months until Sampson began booking other bands, giving them a break. (A recording of a Shadows of Knight performance at The Cellar was released in 2018 by Sundazed Records as "Alive in '65", showcasing the five original members of the band.)

A stellar performance in support of the Byrds at Chicago's McCormick Place in early summer 1965 attracted the attention of Dunwich Records record producers Bill Traut and George Badonski. During that show, they performed " Gloria" by Van Morrison's band Them. The band signed with Dunwich shortly thereafter and recorded "Gloria" as a first effort. [4]

Released in December 1965, "Gloria" received regional airplay. The band had slightly altered the song's lyrics, replacing Morrison's original "she comes to my room, then she made me feel alright" with "she called out my name, that made me feel alright" after influential Chicago station WLS had banned Them's original version. This simple change overcame the prevalent AM radio censorship of the era and got The Shadows of Knight's cover version of the song onto the playlist of WLS. The History of Banned Rock and Roll; Classicbands.com.</ref> The single reached the No. 1 position on the radio station's countdown, as well as on local rival WCFL. On the Billboard national charts, "Gloria" rose to No. 10. The secondary publication Cashbox ranked "Gloria" as high as No. 7. [6] In Canada the song reached No. 8 on the RPM Magazine charts. "Gloria" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. [7]

The Shadows of Knight soon released the Gloria album, [8] followed by the Back Door Men LP, in the summer of 1966. [4] Subsequent singles included their version of the Bo Diddley song "Oh Yeah" (which reached No. 39 nationally), [9] "Bad Little Woman" (No. 91), and the powerhouse "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" (No. 90). However, none of these releases approached their initial commercial success. Failure to find a winning follow-up to "Gloria" handicapped the band's earning power and led to its disintegration. Tom Schiffour left the band in spring 1967, first to be replaced by a young local fan of the band, Bruce Bruscato. He was subsequently replaced by Tom Morris. The original band fragmented further when McGeorge departed for acid-rock band H.P. Lovecraft, [4] while Kelley left to front his own blues band. Hawk Wolinski also left the band to form Bangor Flying Circus with Schiffour and guitarist Alan De Carlo.

By mid-1967, the only original member of the Shadows of Knight remaining was vocalist Jim Sohns, who trademarked the band name and inherited the groups's legacy. In the second generation of the band he was joined by Kenny Turkin on drums and vocals, Steve (Woody) Woodruff on lead guitar and vocals, Dan Baughman on rhythm guitar and vocals, and John Fisher on bass guitar and vocals. This generation of the band would perform together for the next 18 months. Sohns signed the band with Buddah Records in New York. [2] Sohns had hoped to take the band in a British power-rock direction, but the Super K record label pulled them into a more commercial orientation, [4] pairing the band with bubblegum groups such as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express on tour. In 1969, the second generation Shadows of Knight released "Shake" on Buddha's short-lived subsidiary Team Records; [4] the track eventually climbed to No. 46 (No. 37 Canada, December 1968). That same year, without the band's knowledge or consent, the unsuccessful update "Gloria '69" was released by Dunwich. [4]

"Shake" and its B-side, "From Way Out to Way Under" were actually recorded by Sohns and a number of studio musicians, on the understanding that a Shadows of Knight reassembled by Sohns would record a follow-up album. That album, Shadows of Knight is today regarded as a distinct recording oddity, being an attempt to mix punk and bubblegum music. [10] From 1960s to 1970s, Chicago jazz rock, blue-eyed soul, blues rock, garage rock scene that included the Shadows of Knight, Chicago, The Buckinghams, the Mauds and The Ides of March. [11]

1970s–1980s

The four years after the breakup of the original Shadows were a dark creative period with little financial success. The band's repertoire consisted mostly of pop cover songs, which allowed them to survive by playing clubs. The second iteration of the band continued to evolve. Baughman left to pursue a career in metal sculpture. Turkin was replaced in early 1969 by Paul Scarpelli, and in 1970 Jack "Hawkeye" Daniels replaced Woodruff on guitar. The band's lineup remained the same for two years. During that time it recorded "I Am the Hunter." John Fisher was replaced by Jorge Gonzales on bass in 1971, who was subsequently replaced by John Hardy the next year. He was then replaced by studio bassist Don Ferrone.

In 1972, Nuggets was created by Lenny Kaye, and the album included the Shadows of Knight's 1966 "Oh Yeah". [12] Over subsequent decades, Sohns fronted varying incarnations of the group on the oldies circuit. He also spent a period of time reflecting on his future in the music business, choosing to become the road manager of the band Skafish from 1978 to 1980. He would join the band to sing "Gloria" as the band's encore.

1990s

The Shadows of Knight enjoyed renewed public interest during the 1990s, significantly due to the 1998 release of their first two albums, remastered by Sundazed Records. In 1992, Performance Records (aka "Donewitch" Records) released The Shadows Of Knight – Live, Featuring "Gloria". This was a previously unreleased performance recorded live in Rockford, Illinois, in 1972. The album is also noted as containing "a wonderfully blistering guitar-laced extended version of Willie Dixon's ' I Just Want to Make Love to You'", which is nearly twelve minutes long. [13] Also in 1992, another live recording, Raw 'n' Alive at The Cellar, 1966, was released by Sundazed Records. As noted by Richie Unterberger, "This is one of the very few live garage band tapes from the mid-'60s of relatively decent sound quality (considering the standards of the era). The song selection of this set should also please fans of one of the most famed '60s garage bands, captured here at a club in their home turf of Chicago in December 1966." [14] In 1994, Rhino Records released Dark Sides: The Best of The Shadows of Knight. Unterberger had mixed feelings about this collection, particularly in view of the absence of "I Just Want to Make Love to You". [15]

2000s

In 2006, the Shadows of Knight headlined Little Steven's cross-country " Underground Garage" tour with The Romantics. The Shadows also joined Cheap Trick's Halloween show ("Cheap Trick or Treat"), along with guest appearances by members of the Romantics and the Charms. This performance was subsequently televised on VH-1 Classic. At shows on the 2006 tour, they were joined onstage at various times by Rick Mullen (of Van Morrison, Commander Cody, Don McLean), Vince Martell ( Vanilla Fudge), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), and members of The Romantics. Also in 2006, a CD of new material, A Knight to Remember, was released co-produced by Bobby Messano and Lee Brovitz. Messano played all of the guitars and assisted with background vocals on the album.

In 2008, the band toured as part of "The Psychedelic Shack Tour", which also featured a re-formed Nazz, Vince Martell and, on occasion, Henry Gross. Also in 2008, a new CD was released, Rock 'n' Roll Survivors, containing a further reworking of "Gloria".

2010s–2022

Joe Kelley died on September 1, 2013, after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 67. [16]

On August 20, 2016, in celebration of Sohns' 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the release of "Gloria", a reunion concert took place in Arlington Heights, Illinois, reuniting Sohns with original band members Tom Schiffour, Jerry McGeorge and Hawk Wolinski. A recording of the performance was released in 2020 by Giving Shelter, Produced by Jeff Millar-Sax.

On May 27, 2020, classic-era members Jimy Sohns and Jerry McGeorge teamed up with producer/musician Michael Weber to release their first new single together in 53 years, "Wild Man." [17] On November 6, 2020, the record, along with its B-side remake of "I Ain't Got You", was released on Steven Van Zandt's Wicked Cool Records and debuted the following week on Sirius XM's Underground Garage.[ citation needed]

In March 2022, Jimy Sohns released his only solo single in collaboration with Jon Povey (ex-Pretty Things) and the Technicolour Dream, an Italian neo-psychedelic band active from the late 1970s, who released three albums with Twink in 2013–2019. The single includes two garage / psychedelic songs, "Born Again" and "Isis Calling", both written by Marco Conti and Fabio Porretti of the Technicolour Dream and Jon Povey.[ citation needed]

Lead singer and original member James "Jimy" Sohns (born on August 23, 1946, in Chicago) died of complications from a stroke on July 29, 2022, at age 75. [3]

Band members

  • Jim Sohns – vocals (1964–2022; died 2022)
  • Warren Rogers – bass, lead guitar, vocals (1964–1967)
  • Tom Schiffour – drums (1964–1967, 2016)
  • Jerry McGeorge – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1965–1967, 2016, 2020–2022)
  • Joe Kelley – lead guitar (1965–1967; died 2013)
  • Hawk Wolinski – bass, keyboards (1966–1967, 2015, 2016)
  • Norm Gotsch – rhythm guitar (1964–1965)
  • Wayne Pursell – bass (1964–1965)
  • Michael Weber – lead guitar, backing vocals, drums, keyboard (2013–2022)
  • Jeff Millar Sax - percussion, keys, guitar, backing vocals (2012 - 2022)

Discography

Singles [18]

Year Title US
Hot 100
US
Cash Box
Album Label
1966 " Gloria"
"Dark Side"
10 7 Gloria Dunwich Records D-116
1966 "Oh Yeah"
"Light Bulb Blues "
39 Gloria Dunwich Records D-122
1966 " Bad Little Woman"
"Gospel Zone"
91 Back Door Men Dunwich Records D-128
1966 "I'm Gonna Make You Mine"
"I'll Make You Sorry "
90 Non-album single
Back Door Men
Dunwich Records D-141
1967 "Willie Jean"
"The Behemoth"
Non-album single
Back Door Men
Dunwich Records D-151
1967 "Someone Like Me"
"Three For Love"
Non-album single Dunwich Records D-167
1968 "Shake"
"From Way Out To Way Under"
46 60 Non-album single Team Records 520
1969 "My Fire Department Needs A Fireman"
"Taurus"
Non-album single Super K Records SK8
1969 "Run Run Billy Porter "
"My Fire Department Needs A Fireman"
Non-album single Super K Records SK10
1970 "I Am the Hunter"
"Warwick Court Affair"
Non-album single Atco 45-6776
2020 "Wild Man"
"I Ain't Got You"
Non-album single Wicked Cool WKC-69012-1

Studio albums

Year Title Label
1966 Gloria Dunwich Records 666
1966 Back Door Men Dunwich Records 667
1969 Shadows of Knight Super K SKS 6002
2007 A Knight To Remember Bassic-Lee Music

Live albums

Year Title Label
1992 Raw 'n Alive at the Cellar, Chicago 1966! Sundazed Records SC 11013
1992 Live! (In Rockford, IL. 1972) Performance Records DONE 5CD
2015 Live 1966 Sundazed
2018 Alive in '65 Sundazed
2020 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert Giving Shelter

See also

References

  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. Biography of The Shadows of Knight at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  2. ^ a b Biography of The Shadows of Knight; Classicbands.com.
  3. ^ a b "James A. "Jimy" Sohns 1946 - 2022". Chicago Tribune. August 3, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 399. ISBN  0-7535-0149-X.
  5. ^ See Biography of Jimy Sohns; Skafish.com.
  6. ^ Cash Box Top 100 5/14/66 Archived 2010-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. Cashboxmagazine.com (1966-05-14). Retrieved on 2012-11-10.
  7. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p.  212. ISBN  0-214-20512-6.
  8. ^ Gloria album Retrieved 14 January 2023
  9. ^ Oh Yeah Retrieved 16 January 2023
  10. ^ As described by one reviewer, "It was supernatural. As well as crudely produced and swept into a schizoid zone all its own where it barked and drooled while trying to behave. Which it did — badly. It is one of the most incorrigible displays in a space and time renowned for incorrigibility. The album is a catalog of first takes, mistakes, outtakes, and every-other-kinda-takes as well as how NOT to produce a record; let alone one to rescue a diminishing career with some semblance of a return to form. But as far as providing true con-o-sewers with enough fuzz, junk, kicks, and yucks for its half an hour duration, it scores a big time punk 'f***, yeah!' Although not zackly up there with the likes of Basic Blues Magoos (let alone The Litter’s far more consistent Emerge) it is strange, unique, and nonplussing-as-f*** enough to earn laurels galore from those starved for more rama-lama-fa-fa-fa from the twilight zone twixt garage, heavy Rock and points beyond (Namely: ‘people like me’ as Jim Sohns once sang in his usual gutsy, adenoidal, and succinct manner.)" See Review of Shadows of Knight by "The Seth Man"/"The Book of Seth", October 1, 2008; Headheritage.co.uk.
  11. ^ Vehicle by The Ides of March Medium.com Retrieved 16 January 2023
  12. ^ Mark Deming. "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  13. ^ Leggett, Steve. Review of Live Featuring Gloria at AllMusic. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  14. ^ Unterberger, Richie. Review of Raw 'n' Alive at The Cellar, 1966 at AllMusic
  15. ^ "More easily available to North Americans than the British Edsel best-of, but not necessarily an improvement. Adds some tracks from both the original lineup and their unimpressive, more pop-oriented singles from the late '60s, and has more comprehensive liner notes, but also omits a few decent covers that are on the U.K. compilation, particularly their smoking, over-the-top version of 'I Just Want to Make Love to You.'" ~ Richie Unterberger, AllMusic, as reprinted in MP3.com; the original review appears to have been deleted at allmusic.com.
  16. ^ "Joseph J. Kelley Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  17. ^ Kotal, Kent (May 27, 2020). "Forgotten Hits: It's Another FORGOTTEN HITS EXCLUSIVE!". Forgotten Hits. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Many Shadows of Knight singles were released multiple times with different B-sides. Chart lists original issues only.

External links