The Shadows of Knight

The Shadows of Knight  are an American rock band from the Chicago suburbs, formed in the 1960’s, who play a form of British blues mixed with influences from their native city.  At the time they first started recording, the band’s self-description was as follows:  “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 noted rock critic Richie Unterberger commented:  “The Shadows of Knight’s self-description was fairly accurate.”  (More from Wikipedia)
By 1971, the term “punk rock” had already been applied retrospectively by Greg Shaw as well as Greil Marcus to American bands such as Question Mark and the Mysterians, the Standells, the Seeds, the Shadows of Knight, and the Kingsmen who managed to score some hit songs during the height of the British Invasion.  In 1972, Lenny Kaye popularized the term in the first definitive compilation album that he helped assemble for this music, called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968; his liner notes are almost as legendary as the double-album itself.  (This music is now referred to as garage rock and psychedelic rock). 
(April 2010)
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Even before I played Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 the first time, I knew I would love it, because I was already familiar with a lot of these bands.  In fact, I picked up the debut albums by Blues Magoos and the Electric Prunes in the same shipment from Columbia Record Club back when; and it wasn’t long before I also had the first album by the Shadows of Knight, with their killer cover of Van Morrison’s
Gloria”.  The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” was another favorite, though it was awhile before I got an album. 
(January 2011)
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Besides Mouse and the Traps (officially Mouse and Positively 13 O’Clock), the only other band to be featured on the original Nuggets album and also on Pebbles, Volume 1 is the Shadows of Knight.  They are best known for their fantastic cover of “Gloria” that outsold the original “Gloria” by Van Morrison and Them in the United States.  The Nuggets song is their cover of a terrific Bo Diddley song, “Oh Yea”; while the Pebbles entry is a novelty song by the band called “Potato Chip” that was issued only on a flexi disc as part of some snack food promotion.  


(September 2013)

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Haymarket Square gained a solid reputation in the local music scene right away; one of their gigs was at the Playboy Mansion.  Allmusic says that they began “sharing stages with important international groups like the Yardbirds and Cream, as well as local favorites H. P. LovecraftSaturday’s Children, and the Shadows of Knight”.  Before long, the bandmembers began writing songs similar to those of their idols Jefferson Airplane, particularly Gloria Lambert (who was the sole author of 4 of the 6 songs).  
(June 2015)
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The liner notes for High Tide (Big Noses & Pizza Faces) relate the time in 1985 that the Tell-Tale Hearts opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers (right after their first album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers came out) and the Cramps, one of their idols.  “When the Cramps finally took the stage around midnight, we were absolutely blown away.  The level of talent and professionalism was beyond belief – higher than we could have ever aspired to – yet they managed to lose none of their raw, powerful edges. . . .  We were further treated to a backstage meeting with the group later that night, who said that we ‘looked and sounded just like the Shadows of Knight’.  They truly must have understood how much that meant to us.  A nicer, more down-to-earth group of people would be hard to find.”  
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There are some great covers on the Tell-Tale Hearts CD that run the gamut of the whole Sixties scene, among them “Just in Case You’re Wondering” (originally by the Ugly Ducklings), “Me Needing You” (the Pretty Things – the band who inspired the name of Mike Stax’s magazine, Ugly Things), “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (the Shadows of Knight), “Satisfy You” (the Seeds), the great lead-off track, “My World Is Upside Down” (the Shames), and “Cry” (the Malibus).  The band’s original songs are steeped in the same Sixties brew; my favorites include “(You’re a) Dirty Liar”, “Crawling Back to Me”, “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, “One Girl”, and Promise.  As usual though with the UARB’s, all of their music sounds great to me. 
(September 2017)
Last edited: April 3, 2021