Nick A. Marinelli (The original Shades of Blue lead singer) was born in Detroit, and he spent his early years in Detroit's northwest Italian neighborhood. The family moved to California for a short time and in the '50s, moved back to Livonia, Michigan, where Nick attended Emerson Jr. High. At this time, Nick hooked up with some guys who were into street-corner Doo-Wop. That's when things took off. Back then they called themselves "Little Bow & The Arrows," singing at local schools and small teen clubs.
In the late '50s and early '60s, while attending Franklin High in Livonia, Nick got serious about music. Nick, Bob Kerr, Ernine Denai and Dan Guise renamed the group "The Domingos." The group got their first experience recording in a basement studio with a song called "Camel Walk." Nick still has this record to this day. The group emulated such starts at the Tempations, Countours, Penguins and the fantastic Flamingos.
The guys worked at colleges and local clubs like the old Walled Lake Casino, with local DJs Lee Alan and Dave Prince. This was when Mich Rider was called "Billy Lee and the Rivieras." Nick says, "Those days were full of freebie gigs, but we did keep busy working local teen clubs throughout our high school years. While attending college, the group lost Dan to other interest. The then changed the dynamics of the group by adding a girl and developed a little different sound. The group now consisted of Nick Marinelli (Lead), Ernie Dernai (1st tenor), Linda Alan (2nd tenor) and Bob Kerr (baritone). Little did they know in this time they would touch so many lives with a simple song.
Nick said, "Prior to this period of time, some friends of theirs, 'The Reflections,' became stars with a hit song, "Just Like Romeo and Juliet." These guys were instrumental in connecting them with Golden World Studios as backup and demo singers. Within a short period of time, the group proved to be a talent to deal with. Edwin Star, "Agent Double O Soul," decided to work together with the group developing new songs. The best of the bunch was a tune called "Oh How Happy."
At the time, Golden World had no interest in another white vocal group similar to "The Reflections." John Ryse, an independent producer who liked what he was hearing took the group to Harry Balk at Impact Records. The group, along with John, renamed the group to "The Shades of Blue," developed from soulful R&B white singers known as blued-eyed soul groups. "Oh How Happy" was released in the spring of 1966 and rocketed to the top of the charts, becoming a Gold Record.
The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, the song has sold millions of copies and has been licensed over twenty seven times. "The Shades of Blue" also had two other charted hits, Happiness and Lonely Summer. They also released an album called "Happiness is the Shades of Blue," which Nick has recently re-mastered on CD. After four years of touring around the country performing with various groups doing concerts, TV shows and touring with Dick Clark, the group decided to retire in 1970. At that time, acid and hard rock music started to dominate talented harmony groups.
Through the years, Nick has been busy producing and writing some Country and contemporary Christian music with friend Marshall Block of Real II Reel Productions. Together, they produced a Country Christian Album called "Out of the Blue," but never released it. He also has done some syndicated TV production.
During the '80s and '90s, Nick performed as a solo artist with various artists under the stage name "Nick Alan." In 2003, giving in to prompts from many fellow contemporaries, Nick hooked up with a local group known as "The Valadiers": Stuart Avig, Andy Alonzo and Donald ReVels. They soon realized the power of an International Gold record and wanted to become a part of "The Shades of Blue" history.