The Cryan' Shames

Last updated
The Cryan' Shames
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Garage rock, pop rock
Years active1966–present
Labels Columbia, Sundazed
Past membersTom 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
John Pavletic
Jeff Rutter
Paul Wood
Greg Brucker
Tommy Otto
Michael Ayres

The Cryan' Shames are an American garage rock band from Hinsdale, Illinois. Originally known as The Travelers, the band was formed by 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 song was their cover of The Searchers' "Sugar and Spice". [1]



In 1966, upon learning that another band was already using the name “Tommy and the Travelers”, they needed to find another name. J.C. Hooke was familiar with the Tommy of that band, and JC asked Tommy if he would be interested in joining their band instead; when Tommy Krein (Last name pronounced Cryan) declined, JC remarked that it was "a cryan' shame," thus naming the band. [2] After the Cryan' Shames signed with Bob Monaco, the promotion manager for Destination Music, their first single was supposed to be George Harrison's song "If I Needed Someone"; however, due to publication issues, it was not released (although it was included on their debut album). Instead, their first single was "Sugar and Spice," a Tony Hatch song that had been a 1963 hit for the English group The Searchers. The Shames' version reached number 49 in the USA and number four on Chicago radio (WLS). Another single was released just before the end of 1966 called "I Wanna Meet You" b/w "We Could Be Happy", both composed by Jim Fairs. This record made it to number one in Chicago and number 85 nationally. [3]

The Shames signed to Columbia in 1966, and they 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 it was strengthened by cover versions of contemporary popular songs like "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Hey Joe". Upon its October 1966 release, the album became a hit in Chicago and charted at number 192 nationally. [4]

Follow-up singles met with lesser success, but, in August 1967, "It Could Be We're in Love" was #1 in Chicago on both WLS and WCFL. Before the development of their second album, Stone was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War and lineup changes followed. Their second album, an experimental combination of psychedelic rock and studio arrangements, charted at number 156. Their productions and vocal harmonies had improved, which was reflected positively in album sales. [2]

In 1968 several key members departed, including Jim Fairs. The group formed a new lineup and released their final album, Synthesis. The album marked attempts at progressive rock with jazz influences. The album charted lower than their previous effort and was considered a disappointment. The group disbanded in December 1969, but they later reunited and continue to tour. [5] The Shames were never a national success, but their singles and albums sold well in the Chicago area. 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 died: bassist Dave Purple in June 2001, [6] and his replacement, Isaac Guillory, on December 31, 2000.



YearTitles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
(R): Tracks remixed for album inclusion
Label & numberChart positionsAlbum
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
B-side: "Bits and Pieces"
Columbia 45027
Non-album tracks
Cryan' Shames in Concert, 1966 CryanShames SugarSpice Back Cover Band.jpg
Cryan' Shames in Concert, 1966


YearTitleLabel & numberUS 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

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  1. "Sundazed - Cryan' Shames". Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  2. 1 2 "The Cryan' Shames Biography". Billboard. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  3. Richie Unterberger. "Cryan' Shames - Biography". Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  4. "Cryan' Shames". Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  5. "Synthesis - Review". Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  6. "In Memory of Dave Purple 1945 - 2001" . Retrieved August 17, 2020.