James (Jimy) Sohns The Shadows of Knight’s lead singer Jimy Sohns passed away July 29 at age 75. Prior to Sohns’ passing, Goldmine had been planning an interview with Sohns and had previously discussed both sides of their breakthrough single. The Chicago group were the opening act for U.S. shows by The Rolling Stones and The Animals in the mid-1960s. Sohns told Goldmine, “My cousin was in the army, stationed in the U.K., and brought back a single for me by the group Them of the blues song ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go.’ I also played the flip side, written by the group’s Van Morrison, called ‘Gloria.’ We recorded it and the rest is history. Years later Van Morrison said to me, ‘Thank you for financing my solo career’ by making it a Top 10 hit single.” In Chicago, The Shadows of Knight’s cover of “Gloria” reached No. 1 in 1966 on the music surveys of AM radio stations WLS and WCFL.
After learning how to spell G-L-O-R-I-A on the Dunwich Records A side, record buyers flipped the single over and listened to the bluesy “Dark Side.” Sohns shared, “That is the first song I wrote. We continued to do it live as it is one of our most requested songs. We were influenced by The Rolling Stones and The Animals. Eric Burdon is a big Shadows fan. We were the first white Chicago blues band. My talking through the lyrics at the end of the record was influenced by Eric Burdon.” This flip side’s title also served in part for Rhino’s 1994 20-song “Best Of” compilation Dark Sides.
After their sixth single on Dunwich in 1967, including local radio hits “Oh Yeah,” “Bad Little Woman” and “Willie Jean,” the group disbanded, and Jim Sohns took The Shadows of Knight name with him to the Buddah family of labels. The dance song “Shake” brought The Shadows of Knight back to the Top 100 for a final time in 1968.
In recent years The Shadows of Knight have been part of the Cornerstone of Rock concert series in the Midwest along with The Ides of March, The Buckinghams, The New Colony Six and The Cryan’ Shames. Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams told Goldmine, “We are all saddened over Jim’s passing. I knew him since back in the day, and he was an important part of our Cornerstones show since the beginning. He was always a vibrant and energetic performer, always lighting up his audience. He had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around. We will miss Jimy.”
Manny Charlton Nazareth’s guitarist Manuel “Manny” Charlton passed away July 5 at age 80. Charlton was a member of Nazareth from 1968 through 1990. In the early 1970s, Nazareth was heard on FM radio with their songs “Razamanaz” and “This Flight Tonight.” In 1975, the Scottish band achieved their U.S. Top 100 debut with their version of The Everly Brothers’ 1960 album cut “Love Hurts.” Nazareth’s cover became a gold single and reached No. 8 in the U.S. and No. 1 in five countries.
The flip side of Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” was the guitar driven title song from their Hair of the Dog album which achieved extensive FM radio airplay.
William Hart The Delfonics’ co-founder and vocalist William Hart passed away July 14 at age 77. The Philadelphia soul group reached the pop Top 10 twice, first with their chart debut “La La Means I Love You” in 1968 which reached No. 4.
At the end of the year, The Delfonics’ single “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love)” was released and later sampled by The Fugees on their 1996 single “Ready or Not.” In 1970, the group reached No. 10 with their Grammy winning gold single “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).”
Michael James Jackson Producer of KISS’ 1980s Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up albums, Michael James Jackson passed away on July 13 at age 77. KISS’ Paul Stanley stated, “My dearest and best friend for 40 years has died. His kindness and steadfast commitment to me and our friendship was a rock that supported me through the toughest times. He pushed me to start painting and reveled unselfishly in all my successes. I am heartbroken.” Singer-songwriter Adam Mitchell told Goldmine, “Michael was not only a wonderful guy and a close friend for 50 years, but he also introduced me to KISS and completely changed the trajectory of my career. The song ‘Creatures of the Night,’ which I wrote with Paul Stanley, turned into a great recording, is a fan favorite and remains a staple in KISS concerts. His death was a great shock to all of us."
In addition, the songs “I Love it Loud” and “War Machines” from Creatures of the Night and the title tune from Lick It Up are also KISS concert staples.
Bob Rafelson Film director, producer and co-creator of The Monkees television show Bob Rafelson passed away July 23 at age 89. Rafelson began in Hollywood as a screenwriter and assistant producer. He then partnered with his friend Bert Schneider and their first project was co-creating the television show The Monkees, based in part on Rafelson’s experience playing in a band. He directed several of the 58 episodes.
The series ran from September 1966 through March 1968 and during this time The Monkees had six Top 10 gold singles, “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri.” Rafelson transitioned to filmmaking with The Monkees’ 1968 movie Head. He often worked with Jack Nicholson including producing the 1969 motorcycle themed film Easy Rider with a rock soundtrack including songs by Steppenwolf, The Byrds, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Smith.
Alan Blaikley British songwriter Alan Blaikley passed away July 4 at age 82. Blaikley’s co-writer Ken Howard stated, “He was my best friend, and we became friends at the age of seven. We started our songwriting partnership when we were at college and remained good friends throughout his life. We had a lot of success which was another thing that strengthened our relationship. It’s quite a shock.” Their composition “Have I the Right?” became a Top 10 U.S. hit in 1964 for The Honeycombs. Blaikley and Howard’s “I’ve Lost You” was a Top 40 gold single for Elvis Presley in 1970. They had other compositions recorded by The Bay City Rollers, Lulu and the British quintet Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.
Michael Henderson R&B singer and bassist Michael Henderson passed away July 19 at age 71. From 1978 through 1981 he was in the R&B Top 10 three times, first with “Take Me I’m Yours” joined by Rena Scott, then “Wide Receiver” and finally “Can’t We Fall in Love Again” as a duet with Phyllis Hyman. As a bassist, Henderson played with Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Dramatics and many more. Marshall Thompson of The Chi-Lites wrote, “Another sad note. My good friend Michael Henderson has passed. RIP to a great entertainer who traveled all around the world with The Chi-Lites and Aretha Franklin for many years. He will be missed.”
Adam Wade Singer Adam Wade passed away July 7 at age 87. In 1961, Wade reached the Top 10 three times with “Take Good Care of Her,” “The Writing on the Wall” and “As If I Didn’t Know.”