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The Illusion were an American psychedelic hard rock band from Long Island, New York. They released three full-length albums in the U.S., the first of which was also issued in the United Kingdom. All three albums were produced by Jeff Barry.
From the ashes of earlier Long Island, NY bands like The Dell Sonics and The Creations, vocalist John Vinci, lead guitarist Richie Cerniglia, bassist Chuck Alder, multi-instrumentalist Mike Maniscalco and drummer Mike Ricciardella came together in The '5' Illusions. While paying their dues on the local scene, they dropped the '5' and became popular enough to cut their first single, "My Party" for DynoVoice Records, composed and produced by label mate Mitch Ryder. With their reputation growing beyond the local scene, they were offered a contract by hit songwriter and producer Jeff Barry, who had started his own label, Steed Records. The label was also home to Andy Kim and Robin McNamara. The group had one major hit in the U.S. in 1969 with "Did You See Her Eyes", which peaked at number 32 on the Billboard charts and at number 1 in some places in New York, as well as three minor hits: "Together" (peaked at No. 80 on Billboard), "Let's Make Each Other Happy" (No. 98), and "How Does it Feel?" (No. 110). Their first album reached No. 69 and stayed 27 weeks in the Billboard album charts. During their existence the band toured extensively throughout the U.S. opening for a who's who of rock royalty, including The Who, The Allman Brothers Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chicago and Sly and the Family Stone. After their third album If It's So, drummer Mike Ricciardella left the group after a disagreement over the band's future musical direction. All the group's Steed Records albums were released on CD in 1994 on Germany's TRC Records. Their first and second albums, The Illusion and Together (As a Way of Life) were released on CD in 2008, with the band stating "we're working on If It's So".
After The Illusion, Mike Ricciardella joined Barnaby Bye with Peppy Castro (ex-Blues Magoos) and The Alessi Brothers (Billy & Bob), recording two albums, Room To Grow in 1973 and Touch in 1974, for Atlantic Records. In 1976, Ricciardella and Castro (as Emil Theilheim, his real name), with Dennis Santiago and ex-Illusion mates Mike Maniscalco and Rich Cerniglia formed Wiggy Bits, recording one self-titled album for Polydor Records. After their demise, Ricciardella, Maniscalco (as Mike Coxton) and Cerniglia (as Richie C.) formed Network, with Howie Blume, George Bitzer and Illusion vocalist John Vinci, making it a 4/5 reunion of band. The name changes were requested by the record label since they thought their names sounded too Italian! After recording their self-titled first album in 1977, Vinci was replaced by B.G. Gibson in 1978 before recording began on their second (and last) album for Epic Records, Nightwork. In 1986, Cerniglia and Ricciardella (under their real names again) joined Ernie White and Steve Vitale as Aviator, releasing only one self-titled album on RCA Records, later reissued on CD by Escape. In 2010, Barnabye Bye re-formed, recording and self-releasing a third album Thrice Upon A Time, 36 years after their last, while ex-Illusion bassist Chuck Alder released a CD compilation, "The Lost Live Tapes," of unreleased studio and live Illusion recordings 39 years after their demise.