The story of The Night Shadows begins in 1959 when Alex Janoulis changes the band name from "The Barons" to "The Night Shadows" and the band evolves when Bobby Newell replaces Mike Moore on piano. Bobby "Bones" Jones (vocals & Harmonica) is hired as the first "front man" for the group and Hilton Dickerson joins the group as their first "road manager." The first public appearance as "The Night Shadows" is made on December 13, 1959 at the Maid of Athens' Annual Masquerade Ball. In 1960 – 1961 The Night Shadows became one of two alternating house bands playing shows at the skating rink at “Misty Waters". (The other group was The Zots, a.k.a. Mac Davis and The Zots). Although both groups' shows were primarily blues oriented, radio station DJ's and local concert promoters started to book the Night Shadows as the primary back-up band for solo rock & roll stars who were touring in the area. Their ability to quickly learn the songs of the traveling artists and arrange them in a show format (often just minutes before curtain call) gave The Night Shadows a virtual monopoly over other local bands. It also increased their bookings by giving them a lot of exposure in front of large crowds. They would "warm-up" those audiences with their own show which featured a great blues singer and harmonica player named Bobby "Bones" Jones.
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the Little Phil era
In 1964 The Beatles headed the "English Invasion" of rock bands and the Night Shadows and the other American groups would follow this new direction in music. This broader scope of music became a factor in the change of lead singers later that year when Little Erv quit and Judy Argo departed for opportunities in New York. In June 1964 Little Phil joined the Night Shadows as lead singer. Little Phil had just completed the ninth grade in high school while the rest of the band members were college-age adults. Everyone except Janoulis thought he was too young to front the band. It turned out to be the right decision however, since Little Phil could sing rock and R&B equally well. He remained lead singer for the next five years and Little Phil & the Night Shadows era began.
(pics and info courtesy Duane Blalock)