Hinsdale Central Foundation, Partnership in Lifelong Learning

Jim Pilster

Membership level: Hall of Fame

Jim Pilster

Inductee Year 2013
Jim Pilster
Jim is a 1964 graduate of Hinsdale Township High School. From there he went to Southern Illinois University where he realized a love of percussion and performing.

Jim began his musical career in 1965 when he joined a local Hinsdale band, The Travelers, who soon became The Cryan’ Shames, and released their first single, 'Sugar and Spice', an immediate "hit".

The Cryan’ Shames would soon sign with Columbia Records, the first band from Chicago to be represented by a major recording label. They became a mainstay on the radio throughout the late sixties and early seventy's, eventually releasing many singles, three albums, and four CD's. In the summer of 1967 they released 'It Could Be We’re In Love'. That song was the number one single in Chicago for over four weeks.

For years they performed at what seemed to be every 'teen center' and concert hall across the U.S. with such acts as Jimy Hendrix, The Monkees, Jefferson Airplane, Procal Harem and hundreds more.

After the release of their third album the group disbanded. Jim traveled to California where he opened the 1st Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant in L.A. He eventually settled back in the western suburbs where he began a 32-year career in the real estate profession.

Jim reformed the Cryan' Shames in 1986 acting as manager, booker, road manager and performer. The band is still performing at festivals, fund raisers, and concerts culminating in a recent show at the Symphony Center in Chicago.

Jim was born with a congenital deformity, resulting in an underdeveloped left arm. Despite that, Jim went on to receive his diving letter during all four years at HTHS including Hinsdale's 1st state meet team. He also has played Latin percussions for more than four decades, and, at the age of fifty, took up golf and shot two hole-in-ones just 15 days apart. Jim coached in the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills flag foot ball league for 15 years. He currently lives in Downers Grove with his wife, and love of his life, Lorie. Jim has two children, Jay and Alison, as well as a six-year-old granddaughter, Grace.
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