1966 Shadows of Knight – Gloria
Van Morrison wrote the song Gloria in 1963 before he joined the band that became Them. The song became one of seven songs recorded in the band’s first recording session in 1964. The group’s second single included Gloria on the b-side of Baby Please Don’t Go.
Gloria gained notoriety as the band often played versions in concert that lasted up to ten or twenty minutes. It featured a simple three chord structure that helped make it popular with garage bands everywhere.
WLS in Chicago banned Gloria because of one line in the song: “She comes to my room, then she made me feel alright.”
Four students from a high school in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, initially called themselves The Shadows when they formed in 1964. When the group began gaining popularity in the Chicago area the next year, they discovered that a band from England had already registered that name. Their band became Shadows of Knight.
The group became the house band at The Cellar in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Gloria was one song they performed as an opening act for the Byrds at a concert in Chicago. That led to a recording contract with Dunwich Records, and Gloria became their first recording.
Because of the controversy surrounding WLS banning Them’s version of the song, the Shadows Of Knight changed the offending line: “She called out my name, that made me feel alright.”
The resulting single moved quickly up the charts and peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 in 1966.
The group proved unable to follow that up with another hit record. By the middle of 1967, all the members had left the group except Jim Sohns, their lead singer.
Jim moved to New York City and signed with Buddah Records. He worked with some studio musicians to record some songs. Buddah wanted bubblegum records, Jim wanted punk, and the result was an unusual mash-up.
Buddah released a single on a subsidiary, Team Records, in 1969. Shake didn’t get any higher than #46 on the Hot 100.
Meanwhile, Dunwich Records created a new version of Gloria that featured future Chicago member Peter Cetera overdubbing bass lines and Jim Donlinger overdubbing guitar lines on the original recording. Echoes of Sunshine of Your Love graced the recording. Mercifully, Gloria ’69 simply vanished without a trace.
Jim continues to lead a touring group of Shadows of Knight.
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