High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Have Yourself a Shady Little Christmas! (Secular Sounds of the Season, Pt. 2)



You got it! Welcome back to Pt. 2 of my series
that shines the spotlight on cool secular singles
that were riding the pop chart during the
holiday season in years gone by.


Chicago's Buckinghams band played
sunshine pop, bubblegum rock and
blue-eyed soul. At Christmas 1967
the Buckinghams' girl song "Susan"
was climbing the Billboard chart.

Band members were not happy with "Susan."
They had objected when the producer altered
the track by inserting a psychedelic section
that was highly derivative of the orchestral
crescendo in "A Day in the Life," a song
from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's album.

Some radio stations shared the Buckinghams'
dislike of the Beatlesque interlude and banned
"Susan" from their playlists. Keenly aware that
time is money, other stations played a shorter
version with the instrumental passage edited
out. I for one didn't have a problem with
other acts borrowing from the Beatles.
I thought the producer's nod to
"A Day in the Life" was cool.
Plenty of other fans agreed.
"Susan" charted 12 weeks
and brushed the top 10.

 "Susan" - The Buckinghams 
 (Christmas 1967, January 1968, 
 highest chart position #11) 


Two-and-a-half years after they hit the top 10
with their cover of "Gloria," the Chicago area
garage rock band the Shadows of Knight (no
relation to my band the Shadys of Knight)
staged a modest comeback with
two more exciting singles.

The first of these releases, a punk/bubblegum
hybrid called "Shake," made the top 50.

The recording has guitar riffs and melody
that remind me of two other 60s favorites,
"Can't Get Enough of You Baby," waxed
by ? (Question Mark) & the Mysterians,
and "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party,"
the R&B dancer by The Show Stoppers.

 "Shake" - The Shadows of Knight 
 (November thru Christmas 1968, 
 highest chart position #46 

The killer bee side of "Shake" is
the psychedelic instrumental workout
"From Way Out To Way Under."

This psyched out tune remained uncharted but
went for quite a few spins on my turntable.

 "From Way Out to Way Under" 
 The Shadows of Knight 
 (Nov. thru Christmas 1968, 
 B side of "Shake") 

At Christmas 1968 "Shake" was still being played
on the radio when the SOK unwittingly scored a
TKO with “Gloria ’69,” a new psychedelicized
version of their 1966 single.

Released on the Atco label just in time to
usher in the new year, "Gloria '69" is the same
1966 "Gloria" recording with a fuzz guitar
track added to give it a heavier sound.
Essentially, the producers at Dunwich,
without the band's knowledge or approval,
covered the original with a fresh coat of
dayglo paint, hoping the updated sound
would result in another chart hit.

"Gloria ’69" sold poorly and didn't even register
on Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart, but the
record was played often on WSBA during my
holiday break from classes at Penn State and
the exposure was enough to get me hooked.
I bought the record and still own it!

 "Gloria '69" - Shadows of Knight 
 (Christmas 1968 thru January 1969 

I hope you enjoyed my two-parter,

a selection of AM radio friendly

pop rock nuggets that played

during the holidays in the

mid 60s to early 70s.




  1. I agree that the Beatles interlude made Susan a better, more interesting record for the Buckinghams --It might not have been as big a hit without it.

    The only Shadows of Knight song I knew before this was the original Gloria. I like the heavier sound of Gloria 69 and don't know why it failed to make the chart. The Shadows of Knight sounded like a completely different band on Shake --but I liked that one too. I enjoyed everything presented in this series, Shady. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thanks for popping in for Part 2 of my series saluting secular sounds of the season, this post featuring the Chicago bands The Buckinghams and The Shadows of Knight.

      You're right. It would be hard to imagine "Susan" w/o the "Day in the Life" instrumental segment. We can only speculate how well the record would have been received had that interlude been left out of the final edit. Seems to me the Bucks needed an edgy hook to avoid being perceived as old school at a time when audiences were starting to crave harder rock music.

      It's understandable that the Shadows of Knight had a different sound on "Shake." When SOK failed to release a successful follow-up to "Gloria," the band disintegrated and lead singer Jim Sohns kept the name. With a new lineup, Sohns moved the band from Chicago to New York and signed with Buddah Records, a label with a reputation for cranking out hits in the bubblegum rock category. Sohns recorded "Shake" with studio musicians with the understanding that he and his new band would record a full follow-up album (which they did). The sludgy "Gloria '69" was made by taking the original 1966 SOK hit (a cover of a hit single by Van Morrison and Them) and adding new bass and guitar tracks recorded by Chicago rock vets Peter Cetera (later of the band Chicago and solo fame) and Jim Donlinger of Aorta.

      I'm very happy that you enjoyed this second batch of tunes and learned a thing or two, dear Kathryn. Thanks again for your comment!

  2. Dearest Shady, just seeing these 45 rpm records and their jackets brings back so many great memories for me. I had stacks of them! My favourite song by The Buckinghams is 'Kind of a Drag.' :) Thank you so much for sharing, my dear friend, and I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will still be posting, but, as you know, beginning Christmas Eve until after the New Year I will only be posting images and quotations only, no videos. Thanks so much, my cherished friend.

    1. Hi, dear Linda!

      Thank you very much for coming down to see me! Over the years I have been very picky about the images I post. I search high and low for the highest quality scans of 45 rpm record labels, sleeves and album covers. Many of the scans are from my personal collection. I'm very happy to know that the sight of records labels, sleeves and album art can trigger happy memories of your youth.

      "Kind of a Drag" is also a favorite of mine. In fact I love just about everything the Buckinghams recorded. (See also their blue-eyed soul singles "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song" and "Mercy Mercy Mercy" which were also Shady Dell biggies.)

      As you know, I love the videos you present on your blog, but I look forward to reading your inspirational quotes through the new year.

      As you also know by now, Linda, you are a cherished friend. Thank you for sticking with me through 2015. I hope that you will allow me to entertain and inform you in 2016. I wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year!

  3. I have heard the song, Susan. I was surprised to have recognized it. The only one from the Shadows of Knight that I recognized was Gloria. I can't say I'm a huge fan of that band. The guitar sounds are a little too psychedelic for my tastes.

    Thank you for your very kind comments on my blog. I am very grateful for your friendship as well! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi, dear Sherry!

      Thank you very much for making time for a holiday visit, dear friend!

      You are 22 years younger than Shady and it always pleases me when you recognize a tune or two that I post. You knew the girl songs "Susan" and "Gloria" and I am willing to bet that you are also quite familiar with "Sherry," the big hit by the Four Seasons. :)

      Thank you again for coming, Sherry. I am very thankful to have you in orbit around my circle. I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  4. Glad you aren't averse to a little producing shenanigans in your music. I have often read how pissed McCartney was when Spector did what he did to The Long And Winding Road, but it transformed it from a somewhat limp ending for the world's greatest band into a timeless classic.

    I have to go along with the "Kind Of A Drag" crowd, but the Bucks are good on most everything they do. In fact, one of their tunes called Can't Find The Words scraped the bottom of an early M10 without quite making it in (Continuing my yin/yang for making it an M15 or 20). Susan, though, I keep wanting to merge into Don't You Care for some reason.

    Finally got to Gloria '69 playing-wise... I don't know here... Might have to stick with the original here, but I like the concept.

    Have yourself a Merry Li'l Christmas, mon ami!

    1. Hi, Chris! Hi, Scrappy!

      Thanks for dropping in to see what condition my condition is in.

      It must be the producer in me. I very much appreciate the art of the studio mix - the creativity, imagination and wizardry that goes into record making.

      You wrote:

      << I have to go along with the "Kind Of A Drag" crowd, but the Bucks are good on most everything they do. >>

      Shirley you aren't talking about the Tampa Bay Bucs! :)

      Sorry your ears didn't agree that Peter Cetera and Jim Donlinger made a good record better with their guitar dubs on the dayglo, psychedelicized remake of "Gloria." I love that muddy mix!

      Chris, good buddy, our friendship is one of the great success stories to come out of 2015. You are into the music, you have a great sense of humor and you write interesting comments. Those qualities make you a treasured friend and follower. As Jay and the Techniques sang, let's "keep the ball rollin'" into the coming year. Merry Christmas to you and Scrappy and your entire family, good buddy Chris!

  5. Hi Shady,

    I enjoyed the 2-part series about the Chi- town bands. All new artists to me. I didn't like "Susan" too much, it was a little too syrupy sweet for my liking. My favorite in this post was, "Gloria"! I have heard "Gloria" before but that was a whole different version! Like it a lot. I can't get over how much it reminds me of Eric Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Cocaine"!

    I also loved "Shame, Shame" in Part 1!!!!

    Have a Merry Christmas, Shady/Tom!

    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, dear Toni!

      Thank you very much for coming by, my wonderful friend!

      I'm pleased to know that you liked this two-parter. If you didn't care for "Sweet Sue" then stick around for my next post. I'll be bringing 2015 to a close with a bang, calling all rockers to be here for my first annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve in the Shady!"

      You made a very good observation about "Gloria '69." The intention was to give the original SOK recording an updated, edgier sound that would fit the changing music scene. "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Cocaine" are good examples of the heavy, guitar driven rock that listeners and record buyers were craving. I think "Gloria '69" deserved to be a top 40 hit instead of a complete miss!

      Thank you very much for your visit and excellent comment, dear friend Toni. I wish you, your dogs and your entire family a very Merry Christmas!

  6. AM radio....we're definitely talking 60s and 70s.
    Happy Tuesday and happy holidays, Shady.

    1. Hi, dear Sandra!

      Thanks for visiting, sweet friend! Yessum, even if you never heard a particular recording before you can usually come close to guessing the year it was released based on the arrangement and production style. I hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane to the late 60s when psychedelia was popular.

      Thanks again for coming, dear friend Sandra. Please come back again soon!

    2. You know, back in the day, I did see Gloria performed live.

    3. You did? That's great, Sandra. Did you see it performed by Shadows of Knight or by Van Morrison? I saw the Beach Boys in 1966 and James Brown in 1968.

      Thanks for the cheery visit, dear friend Sandra!

  7. Enjoyed those videos. But podcasts are taking over AM radios now, don't they?

    Happy Christmas! :)

    1. Hi, dear Lux!

      Thank you very much for coming by, my friend around the world! Yessum, modern music lovers get their tunes in many different ways. Decades ago when I was your age we listened to our favorite home town top 40 radio station and remained loyal to it and to the on-air personalities that seemed like family to us.

      I hope you enjoyed my latest batch of oldies, dear friend Lux. Thank you again for visiting and commenting!

  8. I certainly remember the Buckinghams and the song "Susan"...and I also loved Gloria too! I had a good friend named Gloria and we have recently reconnected on Facebook. I wonder if there's a song for every kid I knew? The only song with Kathy in it is "Kathy's Clown"..remember that one?! I have to give S O K, "Shake" a big 10...good beat and easy to dance to! I don't remember that tune but I really like it. I hope you and Mrs. Shady have a wonderful Christmas and I'm sure a fun post ushering in the new year will appear next week! I can't believe how fast this year has gone..then again, I can't believe how fast the last 62yrs have gone! Take care!

    1. Hi, dear YaYa!

      Thank you very much for coming by, my special friend!

      It would be fun to list all the girl name hit records that were on the charts over the years. The Everly Brothers record you mentioned was "Cathy's Clown" (Cathy with a "C"). That's a topic for another post - how there seemed to be more Cathys in those days than Kathys. Do you agree? Then there was "Lucille" by the Everlys (covering the Little Richard original), "Sherry" by the Four Seasons, "Down at Lulu's by the Ohio Express (a group you should know), "Close to Cathy" by Mike Clifford (from my Village of the Giants post), "Patti Ann" by Johnny Crawford (also from Village of the Giants), "Diane" by the Bachelors, "Susie-Q" by Dale Hawkins and CCR, just to name a few off the top of my head.

      I am delighted to know that you played Rate-A-Record and gave "Shake" a 10. I agree it's a groovy platter. I loved it back then and I still do now.

      My next post is coming up Monday and yessum, I will be ringing out the old and ushering in the new. Beware, dear friend, it's my first annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve"... one of the few times each year that I reveal my love for the hard stuff. Please hang in there with me and try to keep an open mind and an open heart and find something to enjoy in that post.

      Thank you again for your visit and kind comments, dear friend YaYa. You're right. The years are flying by and I am very thankful to have you as one of my greatest and longest lasting friends. Thank you for sticking with me, dear Yaya!

      Merry Christmas to you and Jack, your mother, Chubbs and Eddy and your sons and grandkiddos. God bless!

  9. When i see others' comments about how the bars and measures of this tune bring back memories, it makes me smile and for a moment, almost feel left out, that i'm not able to relate in that way with those readers/listeners. But then i remember that the days they look back on are the ones that i am making into memories now. ANNNND i can use the same songs as well!
    On the subject of cool holiday time tunes, the Beach Boys Christmas album has and probably will always be one of my top favorite holiday jams from yesteryear. (which, i'm sure, doesn't' surprise you much, knowing my love for those guys)
    -Abigail and Daisy

    1. Hi, dear Abigail!

      Thank you very much for coming over to sample the songs in Part 2 of my secular seasonal sounds series.

      You are very wise to understand that you should never feel left out here at SDMM. You belong here, my dear. As part of a new breed of millennials, you are in a unique position. In your youth you are in the process of making memories and you are becoming anchored to some of the same songs and recordings, TV shows and movies that made an indelible impression on me 40, 50 or more years ago. It's a mind boggling phenomenon, a bond that we share, and one that I treasure.

      You and I must have a psychic connection, Abigail! I listened to Brian Wilson's Pet Projects earlier today and the Beach Boys' hit "Darlin'" was featured in an episode of the Big Bang Theory that Mrs. Shady and I watched this evening. How well I remember listening to "Little Saint Nick" during the holidays.

      Thank you again for popping over.

  10. Great post, I loved the songs by Shadows of Knight - thanks for introducing me to them! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Shady.

    1. Hi, dear Sarah!

      I am very happy to see you again, my wonderful English friend!

      I'm pleased to learn that you are "psyched" about the SOK band. I agree that they cranked out some of the most exciting sounds of the late 60s. As our friend Toni Deroche pointed out, their psychedelicized remake of "Gloria" added guitar riffs that sounded like Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" and JJ Cale's (and Clapton's) recordings of "Cocaine."

      Thank you again for your comment, dear Sarah, and especially for remaining a faithful friend and follower in 2015. I invite you to stick with me for another year of music & memories in 2016. You are a valued friend!

      Merry Christmas, Sarah!

  11. Another great AM session. I liked the Shake song. This song, along with the others presented here, so much easier to listen to than being screamed at. As is the case in some "music" played on the radio these days.

    1. Hi, Jeffrey!

      Thanks for popping in, good buddy! I'm excited to find out that you appreciated "Shake" by the SOK, a biggie on my local WSBA radio station. At home, I played the fab flip, the instrumental "From Way Out To Way Under," nearly as often.

      I'm sensing that you prefer emo over screamo, Jeffrey. My next post on Monday, "New Year's Rockin' Eve in the Shady," is 50% screams and 50% clean vocals. Some songs are a mix of both which, to my ears, creates a nicely balanced listening experience. I invite you to check it out and I hope you find a tune or two that you like.

      Thanks again for joining the fun, good buddy Jeffrey, and merry Christmas to you and yours!

    2. Oh, I'll stop by. I always do.... eventually. LOL
      As always, I'll let you know which I do or do not appreciate.

    3. As Brenda Lee and Juice Newton sang, "Break it to me gently," good buddy.

      Thank you, Jeffrey!

  12. Another great AM radio tribute! I like the song Susan a lot. Shake was kinda cool too. One thing I don't agree with though is management taking creative license with their clients' works and doing something like that without their consent. That just seems wrong to me. I think there was much shady business practices going on back in the day and management took advantage of musicians with unclear contracts and underhanded deals. That's just my opinion of course.

    I think my favorite version of Gloria is the one by Patti Smith. Are you familiar with it?

    Are you enjoying the holiday season Shady? I hope so! Christmas is only a few days away: hard to believe. Merry Christmas my friend!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Thanks for coming over for a look and a listen, dear friend! Seems like you are one of the few people who like "Susan" as much as Shady. The two doctored recordings in this post are "Susan" and "Gloria '69." I agree it is wrong when record company weasels pull a fast one and tinker and tamper with artists' creative work without their permission. However, sometimes the producer knows better than the artist what a record needs to achieve greatness. Artists sometimes let their pride and their egos get in the way and it clouds their judgement. I was a producer and admit that I am biased. In the case of "Susan" and "Gloria '69," I like the recordings that resulted from unauthorized tweaking.

      I never heard Patti Smith's version of "Gloria." I listened to it on YouTube just now and hardly recognized it. Tons of extra lyrics were added. To be honest, I didn't like it as much as the two SOK versions.

      Yessum, I am enjoying the holidays, immersed in family. Christmas is only TWO days away, dear friend. :) I wish you and your parents and your bow-wows a very merry one, Michele!

  13. Yes, I can see where creatives can let their pride get in the way of improvement so I guess it would just depend on a case by case basis, as with most things.
    Thanks for listening to Patti Smith's version. She's not for everybody, that's for sure!
    Glad you are enjoying the holidays with lots of family. Two Days away?? Holy Crap!! Where is the time going??? I'm ready for January! Picking up a ton of poop for the last week and until the New Year. My poor garbage collection guys: I'm so appreciative of them! :) The dogs are all having a good time, as are we. But I'll be ready for a break come January for sure...
    Merry Merry Shady!

    1. Michele, I just want to add that I am very thankful for our friendship. As you recall, it almost didn't happen. I tried for months to leave a comment on your blog without success. I thank myself every day that I didn't give up battling the Wordpress demons and finally found a way to communicate with you. You are such a nice person and I admire you all the more for your dedication to helping dogs. :)

      Thank you for sticking with me as we end 2015 and swing into 2016. I look forward to sharing much more with you in the coming year, dear friend.

      Bless you, Michele, and merry merry merry Christmas!

    2. Oh Shady, I just now got your message here. What a nice thing to say. I'm glad for our friendship too. Thanks for sticking it out and reaching out! This new year should be a lot of fun!! Looking forward to many music battles and conversations in 2016! Happy new year!

    3. You too, sweetie! I'm glad I checked back here and found your follow-up remarks.

      Happy new year to you and yours!

  14. I can always count on smiling every time I visit and you've yet to disappoint! Great post - I'll be thinking of 'Susan' as I create a snowman out of a box the size of a refrigerator. Some memories are so worth unearthing, don't you think?
    Merry Christmas - See ya next year, dear Shady:-)

    1. Hi, dear Diedre!

      Thanks a bunch for paying me a visit on Christmas eve, my wonderful friend!

      You're making a snowman out of a refrigerator size box? This I have to see! Please post a picture when he's finished. Will his name Frosty... or Frost-free? :)

      Dear Diedre, I consider myself very lucky to have met you this year and to have forged a wonderful friendship. I will continue to do my best to entertain you in the coming year. Thank you very much for sticking with me!

      Merry Christmas and happy new year, dear friend Diedre!

  15. I have to say I didn't know this song by the Buckinghams.. the interlude is jarring and copycattish. But to each his/her own, eh? Scanning through the comments, I see a couple of references to Kind of a Drag.. a favourite of many.. and misunderstood by a few to be saying "Canada Dry." ;)

  16. I love the music! Thanks so much for sharing the Shadows of Knight songs! I enjoyed their version of Gloria but to hear more tunes was an added treat.


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