The Cryan' Shames actually were a big deal in Chicago in the mid- and late '60s, when a bunch of their singles hit the local Top Ten; some of them were small national hits as well. The biggest of these was "Sugar and Spice," a cover of a Searchers song that made the Top 50 in 1966 and was later featured in Lenny Kaye's renowned Nuggets anthology of '60s garage bands. In their original incarnation, the Shames leaned toward the pop end of garage. Borrowing heavily from the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Yardbirds, guitarist James Fairs wrote a clutch of energetic guitar pop/rockers with sparkling harmonies. After 1966, the group pursued an increasingly mainstream pop direction featuring saccharine arrangements and material. In this respect they uncannily mirrored the devolution of local rivals the New Colony Six, who also shifted from tough pop/rock to MOR in their bid for national success. But the Shames' appeal endures, partly through the efforts of reissue/archival labels such as Sundazed Records, which have kept their music available into the 21st century, and some of the original members, who have kept the band alive as a performing outfit from the 1980s onward.