Shadow

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Shadow spun off from the Ohio Players around 1979 and hung around long enough (three years) to record three albums. Their identity was shrouded in mystery, James "Diamond" Williams (drummer),…
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Shadow spun off from the Ohio Players around 1979 and hung around long enough (three years) to record three albums. Their identity was shrouded in mystery, James "Diamond" Williams (drummer), William "Billy" Beck (keyboards), and Chet Willis (guitar) were seemingly the main members. Other musicians supplemented the trio in the studio; live, their lineup resembled the Ohio Players. Their first LP, Love Life, surfaced on Elektra Records in 1979 and featured songs composed by Williams, Beck, and Willis; the three shared productions credit with Don Mizell. Ironically, Williams and Beck supposedly didn't play on Love Life, the only credited musician is Willis. A press release from Elektra states: "Who are the players on ‘Love Lite'? Only Shadow knows!"

The players were in fact Daniel Zazurus (keyboards), Kenneth Williams, Diamond's brother (drums), Robert Bryant, Garnett Brown, Ernie Fields, Delbert Taylor, Azar Lawrence, and Fred Wesley. Elektra marketed two singles from the LP: "I Need Love" which charted at number 77, and "No Better Love" which soared five slots better at number 72. A second LP, Shadow, emerged a year later with Leon Ware producing. Again the actual players remain a mystery -- no credits. Like the first set, the group wrote the bulk of the numbers, often with Ware credited as co-writer. A single release, "Mystery Dancer," at number 68, obtained a higher chart position than their two previous singles. It may have done better if the disc jockeys hadn't flipped it, the B-side, "Hot City," charted two months later at number 75. The final Shadow album, Shadows in the Street, sealed their fate. No hits charted from this collection produced by Leon Ware. In fact, Shadow never really got off like Williams, Beck, and Willis had anticipated, the singles that charted were nothing compared to what they enjoyed with the Ohio Players. Accustomed to much more, and possibly spoiled by previous success, Shadow disbanded. Whether they called it quits, or Elektra pulled the plugged, no more Shadow albums dropped, and Williams and Willis eventually gravitated back to the revamped Ohio Players; Beck pursued other opportunities.