The Cryan' Shames
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The Cryan' Shames
The Cryan' Shames
Cryan Shame promo 1966.gif
The Cryan' Shames in 1966. This picture was taken in Piper's Alley, Old Town-Chicago, IL. Front Row - Denny Conroy. Back Row, Left - Right Gerry Stone, Jim Fairs, Jim Pilster, Tom Doody and Dave Purple.
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Garage rock, pop rock
Labels Columbia, Sundazed
Tom Doody
Jim Pilster
Gerry Stone
Dave Purple
Denny Conroy
James Fairs
Lenny Kerley
Isaac Guillory
Dave Carter
Alan Dawson
Bob Stroud
Ron Kaplan
Ron Brandt
Larry Coveny
Tim Rutter
Ted Kalamatas
Jeff Rutter
Paul Wood
Greg Brucker
Tommy Otto
Michael Ayres

The Cryan' Shames are an American garage rock band from Hinsdale, Illinois. They originally formed as The Travelers with founding members Tom Doody ("Toad"), Gerry Stone ("Stonehenge"), Dave Purple ("Grape") of The Prowlers, Denny Conroy from Possum River, and Jim Fairs from The Roosters, Jim Pilster ("J.C. Hooke", so named because he was born without a left hand and wore a hook), and Bill Hughes. The band's most successful moment came with their cover of The Searchers song, "Sugar and Spice".[1]


In 1966, upon learning that another band already had the name Tommy and the "Travelers", they needed to find another name; J.C. Hooke being familiar with Tommy asked him if he would be interested in becoming their still needed lead guitarist but after learning "Tommy Krein" (Last name pronounced Cryan) would not be available, JC having fun with his last name remarked that it was "a cryan' shame," and thus named the band.[2] After signing with Bob Monaco, the promotion manager for Destination Music, their first single was supposed to be George Harrison's song, "If I Needed Someone", but was not released in the US (but included on their debut album) due to publication issues. It was soon followed by "Sugar and Spice," a Tony Hatch song that was a hit in 1963 (everywhere but in the US) for the English group The Searchers. The Shames' version reached number 49 in the USA (while reaching number four on local radio WLS). Another single was released just before the end of 1966 called "I Wanna Meet You" b/w "We Could Be Happy". That record made it to number one in Chicago and number 85 nationally. Both songs on the single were Jim Fairs compositions and further spotlighted the harmony capabilities of the band's singers.[3]

They signed to Columbia in 1966, and while they never were to become a national success, their singles and three albums continued to sell well in the Chicago area. The band focused on their first album release, which was heavily influenced by The Byrds. Their album, Sugar and Spice was recorded in just two days, but strengthened by cover versions of popular songs of the period like "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Hey Joe". Overall, the album, upon its October 1966 release, became a hit in Chicago and charted at number 192 nationally.[4]

More singles followed their debut which were met with lesser success. Before the development of their second album, the band lost the services of Stone. Stone was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War and lineup changes followed. The second release proved to be more successful when it charted at number 156. The Shames were experimenting with a combination of psychedelic rock and studio arrangements. Productions and vocal harmonies showed signs in improvement, reflecting positively on album sales.[2]

In 1968 several key members began to depart from band activities, most notably Jim Fairs. Despite the losses, the group formed a new lineup and released their final album, Synthesis. The album marked attempts at delving into progressive rock and jazz influences. Still, compared to their previous effort, the album charted lower and was considered a disappointment. The group disbanded in December 1969, but reunited again and continues to tour.[5] Jim "J.C. Hooke" Pilster and Tom Doody (Toad) are the only remaining original members in the current lineup. Two members of The Cryan' Shames have since died: bassist Dave Purple in June 2001, and his replacement Isaac Guillory, on December 31, 2000.



Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
(R): Tracks remixed for album inclusion
Label & number Chart positions Album
1966 "Sugar and Spice"
B-side: "Ben Franklin's Almanac"
Destination 624
Sugar & Spice
1966 "I Wanna Meet You"
B-side: "We Could Be Happy"
Columbia 43836
1967 "Mr. Unreliable" (R)
B-side: "Georgia" (Non-album track)
Columbia 44037
A Scratch in the Sky
1967 "It Could Be We're in Love" (R)
B-side: "I Was Lonely When" (R)
Columbia 44191
1968 "Up on the Roof" (R)
B-side: "The Sailing Ship" (R)
Columbia 44457
1968 "Young Birds Fly"
B-side: "Sunshine Psalm" (R -- from A Scratch in the Sky)
Columbia 44545
Non-album track
1968 "Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith & Jones" (R)
B-side: "The Warm" (Non-album track)
Columbia 44638
1969 "First Train to California" (R)
B-side: "A Master's Fool" (R)
Columbia 44759
1969 "Rainmaker"
B-side: "Bits and Pieces"
Columbia 45027
Non-album tracks
Cryan' Shames in Concert, 1966


Year Title Label & number US chart positions
1966 Sugar and Spice Columbia CL 2589 (Mono) / CS 9389 (Stereo)
BB #192
1967 A Scratch in the Sky Columbia CL 2786 / CS 9586
BB #156 / CB #78
1968 Synthesis Columbia CS 9719
BB #184, CB #83
BB = Billboard; CB = Cash Box


  1. ^ "Sundazed - Cryan' Shames". Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "The Cryan' Shames Biography". Billboard. Retrieved 2010. 
  3. ^ Richie Unterberger. "Cryan' Shames - Biography". Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ "Cryan' Shames". Retrieved 2015. 
  5. ^ "Synthesis - Review". Retrieved 2015. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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