In the Spring of 1966, a suburban Detroit vocal quartet called The Shades of Blue skyrocketed to the top of the charts with their "Blue-Eyed Soul" smash, "Oh How Happy." Thirty years later, that song remains a well-known "Oldies" favorite, yet the background of the group itself has remained a "shady" mystery. That is, until now...
Originating from Livonia, Michigan, The Shades of Blue were: Nick Marinelli (lead vocals), Ernie Dernai (first tenor), Linda Allen (second tenor) and Bob Kerr (baritone).
In an exclusive September 1996 interview, lead vocalist Nick Marinelli recalled the early beginnings of the group: "We got started in the ninth grade at Junior High, singing Doo-Wop type things on street corners. Not long after, we formed a group called The Domingos, which consisted of a fellow named Dan Guise, Bob Kerr, Ernie Dernai and myself. We sang at school, at Union Halls and even Elks Clubs. Our sound was influenced by groups like the Flamingos and the Temptations."
The Domingos continued to refine their sound through high school, and even recorded an original Doo-Wop tune called, "Camel Walk" at a local basement studio. "I still have the original lacquer dub of that in my collection," laughs Nick Marinelli.
Shortly after high school graduation, Dan Guise left the group. His replacement was Linda Allen, a girl who Bob Kerr met while attending Ferris State College in Western Michigan.
In 1965, The Domingos landed their first recording audition with the help of another Livonia-based group, The Reflections (who had recorded the smash "Just Like Romeo and Juliet" for the Detroit-based Golden World label). "We had known the members of the Reflections since high school. They liked our sound, so they put us in touch with a guy named Ed Wingate, who owned to the Golden World label," adds Nick Marinelli.