Shades of Blue
On March 30, 1966, "Oh How Happy" (Impact-1007) made its public debut on Detroit radio stations WKNR and WXYZ, as well as Windsor, Ontario's 50,000 watt giant, CKLW. The platter took off like a "shot out of the blue", and blasted to the #1 spot on all three stations in less than three weeks. The record spread like wildfire into other major markets abroad, hitting #12 on the national pop charts, #7 on the R&B listings, and reaching the top ten in Canada. The overnight success of "Oh How Happy" caught everyone by surprise, as Nick Marinelli remembers: "We literally hit the road running. . In addition to a grueling cross-country tour schedule, the Shades TV appearances included several spots on Dick Clark's "Where The Action Is", and Jerry Blavat's Philly-based "Discophonic Scene" teen show. In the Detroit area, They were regulars on Robin Seymour's "Swingin Time".
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July 1966 saw the release of the follow-up single, "Lonely Summer", (Impact-1014). Coming once again from the pen of Edwin Starr,. the song showcased a divine blend of satin-smooth soul and up-tempo pop. Sadly, the record was hampered commercially by its ill-timed, "late summer" appearance on the airwaves. Still, "Lonely Summer" caught on long enough to reach #25 in Detroit, and #72 nationally. Hot on the heels of "Lonely Summer" came the release of the third single, "Happiness"(Impact-1015). Both WKNR and WXYZ in Detroit jumped on the disc instantly, with the song appearing on both surveys for the first time on September 5, 1966. By all accounts, the record had the ingredients to make it a quick smash. Unfortunately, "Happiness" fell short of expectations, stalling at #21 regionally and #78 in Billboard. On September 17, 1966, the LP, "Happiness Is The Shades Of Blue", (1mpact-lO1) hit the record store shelves. The album included the groups three previous singles, along with a wonderful group-written ballad called, "The Night". A September 1966 Billboard album review described the eleven-track offering as, "A well-performed, sure-fire winner". In 1967, two final Shades Of Blue singles, "How Do You Save A Dying Love" (Impact-1026) and "Penny Arcade" (Impact-1028) were issued.
Tthe Shades Of Blue created a sound and style that remains as timeless today as it was thirty years ago. Each song evoked a sublime sense of "Happiness" and honesty that only The Shades themselves were capable of delivering. But then again, "Happiness" is what The Shades Of Blue are all about.
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