Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Buckinghams

The Buckinghams were the most successful of all the 60's Chicago bands. They formed in 1966 and went on to become one of the top selling acts of 1967. In early 1966 the band signed their first recording contract with local label USA Records and recorded twelve songs that year. Several were released as singles, including "I'll Go Crazy" and "I Call Your Name". However, it was their number one single, "Kind of a Drag", that provided them with national exposure. "Kind of a Drag" spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1967 and sold over one million copies. The Buckinghams were courted by several record labels before deciding on Columbia Records where the band produced four more Top-20 hits in 1967: "Don't You Care" (#6), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5), "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)" (#12) and "Susan" (#11). The same year, The Buckinghams were named by Billboard magazine as "The Most Listened to Band in America."

The New Colony Six

No single group defined the “Windy City” sound of the 1960s as well as New Colony Six. In all, they recorded for Mercury, MCA, Sunlight, Sentar, and Centaur recording labels. The band charted 21 singles on Billboard’s charts and released four unforgettable LPs between 1965 and 1974. The original lineup featured Ray Gaffia, Pat McBride, Chic James, Craig Kemp, Wally Kemp,and Jerry Van Kollenberg Later Ronnie Rice joined the group on guitar and vocals.

Their long list of chart successes includes: “I Confess” – 1966; “I Lie Awake” – 1966; “Love You So Much” – 1967; “I’m Just Waiting Anticipating for Her to Show Up” – 1967; “I Will Always Think About You” – 1968; “Can’t You See Me Cry” – 1968; “Things I’d Like To Say” – 1968; “I Could Never Lie To You” – 1969; “Barbara, I Love You” – 1969; “Roll On” – 1971; “Never Be Lonely” – 1971 and “Someone Sometime” – 1972.

The Cryan' Shames

The Cryan' Shames formed in Hinsdale, Illinois, as The Travelers, with founding members Tom Doody ("Toad"), Gerry Stone ("Stonehenge"), Dave Purple ("Grape"), Denny Conroy, Jim Fairs, Jim Pilster ("J.C. Hooke"), so named because he was born without a left hand and wore a hook), and Bill Hughes. In 1966, upon learning that another band already had the name The Travelers, they needed to find another name; J.C. Hooke remarked that their difficulty in doing so was "a cryan' shame," and thus named the band. After signing with Destination Records, their first hit single was If I Needed Someone, which was not released in the US. It was soon followed by Sugar and Spice, a song that was a hit in 1963 for the English group The Searchers. The Shames' version reached #49 in the USA while reaching #4 on local radio station WLS. The Shames signed to Columbia in 1966, and while they never were to become a national success, their singles and albums continued to sell well in the Chicago area. The group disbanded in December 1969, but reunited again and continues to tour. Jim (J.C. Hooke) Pilster and Tom (Toad) Doody are the only remaining original members in the current lineup. Two members of The Cryan' Shames have since died: bassist Dave Purple in June 2001, and his replacement Isaac Guillory, on December 31, 2000.

The Ides of March

The Ides of March formed in Berwyn, Illinois, in October 1964 as The Shon-Dels. Their first record, Like It Or Lump It was released on their own Epitome record label in 1965. In 1966, after changing their name to The Ides of March, the band released their first single on Parrot Records - You Wouldn’t Listen. The song reached #7 on WLS Chicago and #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in spring of 1966. In 1970 the band released Vehicle,which reached #2 on the Hot 100 and sold over one million copies. After several less successful follow-up singles, including L.A. Goodbye, the group disbanded in 1973. Lead singer Jim Peterik co-founded the popular 80s band Survivor. In 1990 the Ides of March reformed with all the original members.

The Shadows of Knight

Initially formed in 1964 the band came up with the name "Shadows of Knight" to tie into the British Invasion in music of that time and because all four of the band members attended Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, whose sports team had the name the "Knights." Founding members included Warren Rogers, Roger Spielmann, Norm Gotsch, Wayne Pursell, Tom Schiffour, and Jim Sohns. The band signed with Dunwich Records and in December 1965 released their first single Gloria. The single reached the #1 in Chicago on WLS as well as on local rival WCFL. On the Billboard national charts, "Gloria" rose to #10, selling over one million copies. The Shadows of Knight had two more minor hits, Oh Yeah in 1966 and Shake in 1968.

The American Breed

The American Breed was formed in Cicero, Illinois, in 1966. In the summer of 1967 they had a local hit with Step Out of Your mind but the group's greatest success was the single Bend Me, Shape Me which reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1968. The original members of the group were Gary Loizzo, Charles Colbert Jr., Al Ciner, and Lee Graziano.

Michael & The Messengers

Michael & the Messengers are best remembered for their 1967 garage-rock cover of the Reflections' hit (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet. They also released a cover version of Midnight Hour in 1967.

The Mauds

The Mauds released Hold On for Mercury Records in 1967 and Soul Drippin' in 1968. The Mauds broke up in 1971 and lead singer Jimy Rogers died of cancer in December 2010.

Take Me Back
The Flock (1967)

The Flock is another band that gained international notoriety, beginning their career in Chicago in 1965. Take Me Back released in the fall of 1967 was a local hit played extensively on WLS and WCFL in Chicago. The band released two albums for Columbia records in the early 70s before disbanding.

Face the Autumn
The Family (1967)

Face the Autumn by The Family reached #12 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey in November of 1967.

Sweets For My Sweet
The Riddles (1967)

The Riddles were Patrick Harper, lead vocals and lead guitar, Lee Adams, vocals and bass, Weston Dobson, rhythm guitar, and Ronald Fricano, drums. They were all from the well-to-do western suburb of Chicago. They recorded a cover of the Searchers hit Sweets For My Sweet which made the charts on Chicago stations WLS and WCFL in April of 1967.

Don't You Know
Keith Everett (1966)

Keith Everett (real name Keith Gravenhorst), from Deerfield, Illinois, released Don't You Know in 1966 with Conscientious Objector on the B side. Don't You Know did well in Chicago, entering the WCFL charts in March and reaching #10 two months later. He released another single on TMT-Ting Records, She's The One Who Loved You/Lookin' So Fine, then one more on Mercury The Chant/Light Bulb.

Disappearing Car Prank