Never able to supercede the six million purchases of a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” in 1965, these suburban Chicago, garage blues-heads with an affinity for British pop would only enjoy a good three-year run in the limelight. Those six million purchases were mostly due to a radio technicality, in which stations at the time would play the Shadows version over Morrison’s version due to a racy lyric about a woman entering a room around midnight, as opposed to a woman entering a non-specified place around midnight.
Nevertheless, many of the band’s members—there have been upwards of 35 musicians, with subsequent reincarnations of the band—were and are well respected in the blues community. Axe-slinger Joe Kelley, responsible for the band's signature modern blues meets garage squall sound, led the pack, and has been hailed by peers like Magic Slim as a man who “has what it takes to make strings on a guitar talk,” while bassist David Wolinski would go on to work with Chaka Khan and Rufus.
Signed to Dunwhich Records after an impressive opening for The Byrds at McCormick Place in 1965, the Gloria album dropped in December of the same year, followed by a more hard rock sound with Back Door Men a year later. A series of singles were shot-gunned over the next year—the most notable being a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Oh Yeah” that hit the upper 30s on Billboard charts—before the first incarnation of the band decided to call it quits at the end of ’67.
Vocalist Jim Sohns would inherit the Shadows Of Knight moniker by default, as all three other founding members went on to front their own projects. Sohns relaunched the band many times over the next four decades, surviving by playing the cover-heavy catalogue on the small-club circuit. The band’s next blip on the radar didn't come until 2006, when Shadows was booked into a headlining spot on Little Steven’s “Underground Garage” tour. A guest appearance on Cheap Trick’s Halloween tour the same year saw air-time on VH-1. Shadows capped 2006 with its first new record since the original line-up, with A Knight To Remember, and are currently working on an all-star album.
For more information, visit their website: http://shadowsofknight.com
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