Jimmy Sohns, ‘Gloria’ Singer and Shadows of the Knight Frontman, Dead at 75

by Blake Ells

Jimmy Sohns, who fronted Shadows of the Knight, is dead at 75 years old after suffering a stroke.

The band’s most recognizable hit is “Gloria,” the tune that famously spells out the name “G-L-O-R-I-A.” It reached the top ten in 1966. A version was also recorded by Laura Branigan in the 80s.

Sohns was hospitalized earlier this week following the stroke. On Friday, his daughter announced that he passed. Shadows of the Knight formed in suburban Chicago when they were just teenagers. They quickly had a massive hit with “Gloria.” The band performed shows together for decades, with the most recent being in 2016.

Here’s a vintage performance of the tune from Wolfman Jack’s television show.

Jimmy Sohns formed Shadows of the Knight in 1964, and when the band got together, they were simply the Shadows. But there was a British band that already had the same name. One of the reasons their manager came up with the “Knight” addition was because all four band members attended Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Ill. The high school’s athletic teams were known as the “Knights.”

The band never had a hit as big as their version of “Gloria,” but it allowed them a lot of great opportunities. The song was originally recorded by Van Morrison’s band Them. Shadows of the Knight opened for the Byrds in 1965 in Chicago. They also covered tunes by Bo Diddley and they had a couple of other tracks reach the top 100. “Bad Little Woman” hit 91, while “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” reached number 90.

The band mostly went their separate ways by 1967. Sohns was the only original member at that point. But he forged ahead with new members and celebrated their music for decades.