Shades of Blue

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The Shades of Blue
The Shades of Blue.jpg
Background Information




R&B, Mowtown

Years Active

1966 - 1970, 2003 - Present

Current Members

Donald ReVels
Charles Davis
Carlos Valverde
Stuart Avig

Past Members

Nick Marinelli
Ernie Dernai
Linda Allen
Bob Kerr
Andy Alonzo



In the Spring of 1966, a, suburban Detroit vocal quartet called The Shades Of Blue, skyrocketed to the top of charts with their "Blue-Eyed Soul" smash, "Oh How Happy". 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).

The Shades of Blue concentrated on live performances through the end of the late sixties, but the end of the road was clearly in sight. Around 1967, the whole music scene started to change, Acid Rock was becoming popular and The Shades of Blue didn't want to go in that direction. So in 1970, four years after their Blockbuster hit "Oh How Happy" was recorded The Shades of Blue disbanded.

In 2003 after a 33 year hiatus recording with The Shades of Blue, Nick Marinelli received a phone call from the legendary Motown Group, The Valadiers. The Valadiers recorded with Motown Records in the early 60's and where the first White Recording Group Motown ever signed. Their most successful hit was "Greetings (This is Uncle Sam)". The Valadiers lost one of their members and needed a replacement. Vocal group veterans Stuart Avig (original lead singer of The Valadiers), Andy Alonzo and Donald Revels called upon Nick to join the group.

The Valadiers first performance with Nick was in April of 2003 in Washington DC. On that show were also The Cadillacs, The Teenagers and The Platters. Shortly after the show the group thought it would be a good idea to change their name to The Shades of Blue.

In October of 2003 The "New" Shades of Blue would form their partnership around Andy Alonzo, Stuart Avig, Donald Revels and Nick Marinelli. The Shades of Blue have performed for numerous sold out audiences all over the world ever since. Combining their Motown roots with their Blue-Eyed Soul sound they quickly became one of the finest entertainment groups in the world.

The Shades of Blue would go on to perform on the same shows with the legendary artists from the 50's and 60's such as: The Four Tops, The Platters, The Teenagers, The Contours, The Spaniels, Ben E King, The Drifters, The Skyliners, The Flamingos, Tommy Hunt, Dion, Bowzer and Jay Black to name a few.

In 2006, Donald Revels decided to take a break from touring and he was replaced with former Detroit Police officer, Charlie Valverde. The Shades of Blue continued to tour and perform all across the country.

In 2009, Nick Marinelli decided to leave the group to pursue a solo career in Country and Spiritual music. The Shades of Blue needed a replacement and they enticed Donald Revels to make a comeback to the stage.

In 2011, Andy Alonzo decided to leave the group. The Shades of Blue replaced Andy with the multi-talented Charles Davis from The Contours

The Shades of Blue now consisting of Stuart Avig, Donald Revels, Charlie Valverde and Charles Davis are still going strong. They continue to perform all of their hits including the two that put them on the map, "Oh How Happy" and "Greetings (This is Uncle Sam)".


Donald ReVels

Donald ReVels.jpg

Born in Detroit Michigan, when the American public was recovering from the infamous stock market demise. Donald found out he could sing with the Jr.choir at St. Stephens A.M.E. Church and joined a group called the Canary's. The majority of the group was made up of the brothers of the late great group "The Diablos" While at Chadsey High School in Detroit, Donald helped form the fabulous, "Five Pearls" who were named after Donalds Mother Mrs. Pearl Hart. After performing at the Appollo theatre the Five Pearls were signed to record for Alladin Records.

Donald joined the U.S. Air Force and keeping his voice in tune, performed around the world with many other vocal groups.

After working for Uncle Sam , Donald came back to Detroit and signed with the Lupine Record Company and recorded his rendition of "The Return of Stagger Lee", and was successful in the '60's. The sixties also brought about his new group called "The Society Train" which hit the top "20's" in R&B with a tune called "Slowly but Surely".

The "70's" brought forth one of his favourite groups to perform with, "The Tree City Transit Authority". The 80's and "90's were filled with performances with the great "Latin Counts", the "Valadiers", and the "Royal Joker's.

The new Millennium, and Donald has focused his multiple talents on the Gold record recording group "The Shades of Blue". The future's looking good and it's good to be back on the road performing better than ever.


Charles Davis

Charles Davis.jpg

was born Robert Charles Davis on April 22, 1953 in Jackson, Mississippi. When he was ten years old, his family moved to Detroit. His parents were both music lovers. His mother sang in a church choir and his father was a guitar player. Blues and gospel music were his love, and he and his brothers were motivated to pursue music at a very early age.

Charles attended Southeastern High School before joining the United States Navy from 1969 through 1971, serving in Vietnam. Upon his return, Charles turned to music.

Inspired by such groups as The Temptations, The Originals, The Dells, and The Four Tops, Charles and his two brothers, Moses and Leonard (Pee Wee) started a group called The Chosen Few. Alonso Mason, Reggie Royster and Ron Stafford (who later sang with C.P. Spencer's Originals and Detroit's Own Dynamics). were the other members. They won some local and high school talent shows. About 1972, the group turned professional. Sadly, within months, Moses was killed by street violence which was very common on the streets of Detroit at that time. By 1974, the group broke up and Charles returned to military service. He joined the Army and went on to start a group while stationed in Wurzburg, Germany. This group played all the major clubs and also worked for the U.S.O.

After leaving the service he returned to Saran Industries, where he had worked before he enlisted. He also went back to school, majoring in Chemistry (paint formulation). Even though he became the plant manager at his day job, he still managed to sing at parties, but not as often as he would have liked.

One day while sitting around with some friends singing different songs he met a young man named Martin (Bennie) Upshire who, at the time, was the lead singer for THE CONTOURS. They became good friends. Shortly afterward, on November 11, 1984, Bennie invited Charles to audition for THE CONTOURS to replace Arthur Hinson, who was leaving the group. He accepted and found himself sharing the stage with Joe Billingslea, an original member of THE CONTOURS that had inspired him as a young man.

Charles continues to tour with THE CONTOURS worldwide and as a solo artist performing an incredible tribute to Lou Rawls in addition to being the newest member of The Shades of Blue!


Carlos Valverde

Carlos Valverde.jpg

Carlos Valverde (Charlie) was born in Corpus Christi, TX, in 1947. His family moved to Detroit, in 1952, where he still resides. He attended Western High School in Detroit where he took vocal lessons and was selected to sing solo the song "Maria" from West Side Story at age fourteen

His Teen years were spent hanging out at practice sessions of one local group known as The Latin Counts where he could listen and sometimes harmonize with them.

In 1967, at age 20 Carlos was appointed Business Agent for AFL-CIO Local 1991 and was elected Vice President of the same union, but, continued to attend the practice sessions for The Latin Counts and occasionally joined them on stage

Carlos pursued a career as a Detroit Police Officer in 1977 and retired in 2001. During his law enforcement career he pursued his musical interest by singing whenever he could at local clubs or parties and still maintained his friendship with The Latin Counts which included Andy Alonzo and Stuart Avig.

Prior to 2007, Carlos had never sang with a vocal group professional until The Shades of Blue invited him to audition for them. His understanding of the history of harmonizing and the hard work it takes to attain the perfection required by The Shades of Blue, he is honored to be the fourth member of the group.

Finally, Carlos is enjoying his lifetime dream of performing with the group and singing the music he has always considered a huge part of his life.


Stuart Avig

Stuart Avig.jpg

Joined the VALADIERS in 1959, at the age of 16. Seven months later we scheduled an Appointment with Berry Gordy (President & Chairman of the board of MOTOWN RECORDS) in Detroit which even at that time was considered one of the most successful independent recording companies existing. Following the audition Berry Gordy was so impressed with us that he decided to make us a part of the Motown family. I also had the distinction of having been the lead singer & member of "THE FIRST" white vocal group to become part of the Motown family.

In 1961 we released our first single. "GREETINGS THIS IS UNCLE SAM" which was a big hit, especially in the east coast. From early 1962 -!963 we had several more releases such as "While I'm Away", "I Found A Girl" and "Because I Love Her". In 1964 my contract with Motown was up and the group then disbanded.

I then, as a solo artist signed to a contract with GOLDEN WORLD RECORDS and had one release "KING FOR A DAY". I remained with GOLDEN WORLD until Dec.1 1964 when I then received my "GREETINGS FROM UNCLE SAM" & was Inducted into the Military. Following my release from the Military, I resumed my singing career briefly and then decided to call it quits until the early ' 80's. when I was asked to join a local singing group called THE LATIN COUNTS. which was later changed to our original name THE VALADIERS.

In 1989 & 90 we became part of a major project of which there were several known MOTOWN artists, along with us that recorded as well. Our releases included: PAINTED SMILE, WHATS WRONG WITH ME BABY, NO COMPETITION, LOVE DON'T LOVE NOBODY & THE TRUTH HURTS.

For the next several years we performed locally doing private parties & a variety of concerts until 2001 when one of our members left the group and was replaced by a new member. However the new member came with serious credentials. He is none other then the original lead singer of THE SHADES OF BLUE (NOTABLE HIT RECORD) "OH HOW HAPPY" 1966 release.

For the past several years, I have had the distinct pleasure of performing with Such acts as: DION, THE SPANIELS, THE DELLS. MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS, THE TEENAGERS, GENE CHANDLER, PEGGY MARCH; THE CONTOURS: and many many more. We continue to remain very active today doing concerts frequently. However we are most grateful to be a part of a musical history that will always be appreciated and never die.

Regarding my personal life, I have been happily married for 34 years, & have been blessed with 2 wonderful sons. " WHO COULD ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE?. We are also the owners of a precious metal refining company called "NORTHERN REFINERIES". Contact:



Complete Discography on discogs


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