Shoes (American band)

Shoes is an American power pop band, formed in Zion, Illinois, United States, in 1974 by brothers John and Jeff Murphy, and Gary Klebe and incorporating several different drummers including Skip Meyer, Barry Shumaker, Ric Menck, John Richardson, and Jeff Hunter.

Shoes formed their own record label, Black Vinyl Records, and owned and operated their own commercial recording studio (Short Order Recorder) from 1983 to 2004. Many artists recorded at the studio and some went on to sign major label recording contracts, including Local H and Material Issue.



The Murphy brothers and Klebe were high school friends and decided to form a band following graduation. At the time none of the members knew how to play an instrument so each member picked an instrument to learn and promised to reunite within one year. Within the first year the three got back together to rehearse and eventually record their first album.In 1977 Shoes recorded the album Black Vinyl Shoes in Jeff Murphy's living room and pressed 1,000 copies on their own label, Black Vinyl Records. The album was sold at local record stores and by mail order through Bomp! magazine. Shoes then released a single "Tomorrow Night" on Bomp! Records in June 1978. Soon after that Black Vinyl Shoes was licensed to PVC Records which released the album in November 1978. The group signed to Elektra Records in April 1979 and released their first major label album, Present Tense, that September. The album peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200 and yielded the minor hit single "Too Late" which reached number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1980s and 1990s

When MTV went on the air on August 1, 1981, the channel aired four of Shoes' videos: "Too Late", "Tomorrow Night", "Cruel You" and "In My Arms Again", making Shoes one of the first bands to be shown on MTV.

The band went on to do three more videos: "In Her Shadow" (1982), "When Push Comes to Shove" (1985) and "Feel the Way That I Do" (1991).


The Shoes song "Your Very Eyes" was covered by Jeffrey Foskett on his 2000 album Twelve and Twelve.

In early 2007, the band released a double CD titled Double Exposure, which contains demos of their songs from the albums Present Tense and Tongue Twister. In the same time frame, Jeff Murphy published a book entitled Birth of a Band, the Record Deal and the Recording of Present Tense, which documents the band's inception, major label signing and subsequent recording of their first internationally distributed album, Present Tense. In January 2007 Jeff released a solo album titled Cantilever.


In January 2011 Shoes got together in the studio with drummer John Richardson to lay down rhythm tracks for a new batch of Shoes songs. Over the next 14 months recording continued on what would become their first studio album of new material in over 17 years. Released in mid-2012, Ignition adds to a career that spans more than four decades, giving the band the milestone of releasing music in each of the decades 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.

On July 9, 2014, Skip Meyer died. He was 64 years old.


Some have inaccurately stated that the group's name originated from an interview the Beatles granted on their first American tour in February 1964. However, as noted in Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes by Mary E. Donnelly (New York college professor and managing editor of with Moira McCormick in interviewing John Murphy:



Singles and EPs

Tracks on compilations