Knight In White Satin

Like New Coke, this post may not go over well, but discovering this newfangled thing called YouTube has allowed me to see the singers of the songs I had only heard and never seen. I have determined that in the pre-MTV era, one could secure a recording contract based solely on one’s musical skills and a face made for radio.

Prior to viewing this performance on Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special (which I honestly had never heard of until today), I figured the band Exile was composed of manly men. Surely fronted by a manly man, anyway. Indeedy do, I was wrong. 

First off, let me say that I INSISTED this song be played at my wedding. And not a wedding in the 70s or 80s or even the 90s. My wedding was in this millennium. The Buck Rogers one. Oh, wait, not that. And my request to the DJ was not made ironically; both my betrothed and I honest-to-God like the song. And so did a few hundred thousand others; it reached Billboard’s Top 40 in August 1978 and remained on the chart for seventeen weeks.

The performance starts out well enough; a normal-looking guy on lead guitar, rocking to the rhythm of the sexy intro. Soon there is a sea of keyboards. Too many keyboards. It’s like a Casio convention. I’m confused. And then suddenly Satin Jacket is at the mike, singing, “I want to be your fantasy” but can’t quite stay in key.

Fortunately, the lead guitarist takes over vocal duties, and Satin Jacket whips his mane about like a seizuring Taylor Swift in a blue jumpsuit. Something is not right. Lead singer Jimmy Stokley’s face is worn, puffy, dry and unfresh. If a man can be rode hard and put up wet, that’s what happened. Was it drugs or alcohol? He just doesn’t seem as lucid and alert as the others. He seems to be operating in some level of delusion wherein he is instead the Aerosmith frontman. It can never be so. stokley The high harmony at the bridge is something to behold. Neither keyboardist nor drummer nor bass player get any face time from the cameraman. I think it would have been beneficial to balance it out. As the song ends, Stokley does a disturbing deep-knee bend in his jumpsuit, and shows the world all his kibbles and bits. I’m sorry you had to see that. Then he jumps high into the air like a rock star, indicative of the era.

Exile, however, was destined for country success, and Stokley left the band the following year (in effect, going into exile). He died at the age of only 41. Such a shame. But each time the radio spins “Kiss You All Over,” his vocals continue to live on.

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18 thoughts on “Knight In White Satin

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  1. We teens in the ’70s had to get our TV facials from ‘Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert,” “In Concert” and “Midnight Special,” Kerbey. Woe be the pre-MTV generation, but I do believe that “In Concert” was the first network program smart enough to simulcast. You put your FM receiver onto the cool rock station and there was the soundtrack to far surpass the tiny little TV speaker.

    Thank you for reminding me of that breakthrough in technology that rocked my world.

    Yes, Exile musicians don’t look all that, um, photogenic in your YouTube clip, Kerbey. Good thing they were just-pre MTV.

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      1. The radio station had to be cool enough to broadcast the audio for “In Concert.” I loved it. I cranked it up until my parents threatened to take the little black and white TV and my stereo out of my room unless I turned it down, Kerbey.

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    1. I literally was talking to a woman about CC a couple hours ago. You read my mind. We were talking about “Sailing.” Yes, he didn’t exactly have abs of steel.

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  2. Sad he died so young, so will preface my comment with RIP Jimmy Stokley. Would have been very pretty as a woman. Unconventionally beautiful. But it didn’t look good on a man. And what were those “dance moves”? Justin Timberlake he is not. Like he couldn’t quite feel the beat and every now and again he’d punch out a limb to see if he could find it. Deeply disturbing, Kerbey. Between this and Key Largo, I am going to be having nightmares tonight.

    On a much more positive topic: Buck Rogers! I loved Buck Rogers! My fourth-grade diary (which sadly, I still have) is full of “Beth Loves Buck” hearts. My plan was to marry him, but I went a different direction. Though a pity maybe, as he still has lovely eyes: http://www.gilgerard.com

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    1. He does have lovely eyes. You can tell he’s not fake, he genuinely likes you. Others have also told me these videos may induce nightmares. Perhaps I will leave it at two videos. Right. Well, 4th grade was when I was writing I heart Magnum or I heart Tom Selleck, so it appears that we were both blossoming into celebrity crushes around the same time. I also had Pac-Man stickers on that same folder with my Magnum dreams. And it’s not sad to still have it. It’s awesome! BTW, Gil Gerard is even a year older than Bertie Higgins, but we will overlook that. Someone should do a post on how manly that name is. Gil Gerard. I know HE wouldn’t drive a Miata.

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      1. who’s cracking up whom NOW, Kerbey. Your are fantabulous, which is even better than groovy.

        Sticker flashback: googly eyes, puffies, smellies, sparklies. Anything ringing a bell for you?

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  3. Hi
    You certainly dont get it !
    Exile would have been so much more popular if they had kept Jimmy.
    The rest of the band where and are still boring old gets…
    Playing and singing still the same old songs ” boring”
    However you remember Jimmy as he stands out from the rest of them.

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  4. I saw Exiles at the Martin Youth Center in the late 60’s when they were doing a James Brown tribute Jimmy was fantastic. After high school I went to EKU to further my education they played there at a bar called Specks I was always pleased with their music that’s all I cared about so thank you Jimmy and RIP #Church Street Soul Revial

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  5. Hey folks what’s up. I’m hoping to offer some insight to help you “get it” or rather understand Jimmy Stokley better though I never knew him but I believe was a kindred soul. I’m a singer/songwriter and guitarist. First off all, Jimmy is not singing off key. Since singing is my strength and I have “fronted” a band many times in the past I would be the first to say so. And I resent ppl who make it to that level of success without merit. His singing is just fine. As far as his moves, he’s a singer not a dancer and he is living in the moment and expressing himself thus making himself vulnerable and that comes through in his performance and reaches his audience. He was very instrumental in the bands’ success. The ladies loved him. Have you made it to that level of success? I surely haven’t. Kudos Jimmy. As far as his outfit, take a look at what Elton John was wearing. Or should I say SIR ELTON JOHN. Jimmy was wearing what was popular at the time. Again, he was just fine doing what he was doing and wearing what he was wearing. Forty years later he’s still being talked about. Good or bad, ppl are talking about him. It’s when ppl stop talking about you that you’re done. Apparently he’s not done yet. God bless him. Also I don’t believe in speaking poorly of the dead since they aren’t here to defend themselves and they have moved on so let them have the dignity they deserve in death. I hope I have been of some help. God bless you. And remember judge not lest you be judged. 😊

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