Is it remotely possible that Sha Na Na might have been good?

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My favorite band in fifth or sixth grade or so -- I especially remember liking their covers of "Easier Said Than Done," "You Talk Too Much," and "Romeo and Juliet." Got rid of the recors I had by them once I discovered the originals (which I may or may not own themselves any more - who the hell were the Essex, anyway? Were THEY any good?) and saw *American Graffiti* and figured out they were creepy phonies etc., but it occurs to me I must have been attracted to *something.* They probably rocked, sort of. Bought a copy of *Hot Sox* for $1 at Princeton Record Exchange this past weekend, but have been scared to put it on. Any opinions about them would be welcome.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:04 (fourteen years ago) link

In my eight-year-old 1979-era eyes and ears, they were fantastic! Pure genius on TV and I liked the songs I heard. Sure it was a case of enjoying the full 'package' as opposed to their music straight up as such -- never saw that they were at Woodstock until many years later -- but that never stopped anybody in pop, of course.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:07 (fourteen years ago) link

The Dead Milkmen championed them as the saviors of music on Metaphysical Graffiti. I'm SURE they were being serious.

Vestigal Appendages, Esq. (King Kobra), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:08 (fourteen years ago) link

(x-post with Ned)

I have fond memories of watching their TV show as a little kid. Heard today, they're probably no goofier than, say, Robert Gordon.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:08 (fourteen years ago) link

They're probably a lot better. I mean, Bowzer! A genius!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Best thing in the Woodstock movie by a mile, IIRC.

Soukesian, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:14 (fourteen years ago) link

that wd be richie havens

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:15 (fourteen years ago) link

santana and sly were the best things in woodstock. imho.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:16 (fourteen years ago) link

> who the hell were the Essex, anyway? Were THEY any good?

The Essex were four Army schlubs who recorded when they had free time. They were NOT any good -- "Easier Said Than Done" has the most painfully tin-ear-rusted harmonies I've ever heard, and I am forever astonished that it was not only a hit but a #1.

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:17 (fourteen years ago) link

my family nicknamed a dog with words from a song brooke shield sang on the show! dog's name biff. moral of the story - don't let toddlers name animals after onomatopoeiac showtunes.

blackmail.is.my.life (blackmail.is.my.life), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I was thinking about Sha Na Na lately and wondering if their 1955 routine in 1975 is roughly equivalent to current nostalgia for 1985. In other words, Sha Na Na == Interpol.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:20 (fourteen years ago) link

No, Sha Na Na == Bowling For Soup

Stupornaut (natepatrin), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:23 (fourteen years ago) link

I think once when I was a kid I was sick and watched an entire Sha Na Na marathon.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:25 (fourteen years ago) link

I liked them as a kid, wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole now.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Does anyone remember the syndicated Dolly Parton tv show from the '70s where she came out on a swing suspended from the ceiling at the beginning of every show, singing "Love Is Like a Butterfly?"

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:27 (fourteen years ago) link

ha ha, Stupornaut:

Bowling For Soup > Interpol (I honestly believe that.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Bowzer was great on Hollywood Squares. I watched the show religiously. I still think the black Sha Na Na-er is Byron Allen, kickin' it.

The Obligatory Sourpuss (Begs2Differ), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:36 (fourteen years ago) link

And thanks about the Essex info, Joseph! Though I think I might love that song. (Were the Relections and Joe Jones even worse? I don't even think I remember ever even hearing their names until right this second, when I looked them up in Joel Whitburn's trusty top 40 guide.) (Which I know contradicts what I said above about "discovering the originals," but I guess I meant the originals of that KIND of music, not necessarily of those particular moldy oldies.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Bowling For Soup > Interpol (I honestly believe that.)

Woohoo! Absolutely! (Do Bowling For Soup get a lot of shit? I've always liked what I've heard.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:44 (fourteen years ago) link

'"Let's go in the den, Sid," Nancy said.
They grabbed their cigarettes and got up.
"Best fuckin' food I ever ate," Sid said.
"Thank you, Sid," I said.
"Debbie?"
"Yes, Sid?"
"Is Sha Na Na on? On the telly?"
"Do you mean right now?" I asked uncertainly.
"Yes."
"They're on tomorrow, Sid," David told him. "Saturdays at seven."
"Oh," Sid said. "Don't want to miss Sha Na Na. They're my favorites."'

- Deborah Spungen, 'And I Don't Want to Live This Life'

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:49 (fourteen years ago) link

(wonder who his favorite was? Dirty Dan? I saw the one with Cherie Currie!)

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Suzi Quatro on *Happy Days* > Cherie Curie on *Sha Na Na,* though

xhuxk, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:53 (fourteen years ago) link

(vs Joan Jett in 'GI Jane')

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Henry Gross was in Sha Na Na. Maybe not for the record you have, I dunno. Anyway, I always liked "Plug Me Into Something" which isn't nearly as hard as the title sounds. "Southern Band" was a good song, really good subliminal rhythm. "Shannon" -- not on that album -- always sounded like it belonged on a Sha Na Na record.

George Smith, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 19:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Sha Na Na, opening for Dr. Hook, was the first concert I ever went to. I don't have any of their records to listen to now, but certainly, for the music they got me to check out, I'm glad they existed. I also remember one of their last TV shows, where they did a song called "Disco Machine." For the first time, my 12-year-old self said "Geez, those guys are desperate. And clearly finished."

That's a lot of musical firsts provided by one silly cover band.

Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:02 (fourteen years ago) link

u guys should check em out in post woodstock awesome train tour film "FESTIVAL EXPRESS"

charleston charge (chaki), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Festival Express wastes Woodstock for music (and in some ways as a movie); Sha Na Na are pretty bad in both, tho

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:12 (fourteen years ago) link

Sha Na Na are in "Festival Express" along with The Band, Janis Joplin, and the Dead. It was interesting to see them perform live before they had a tv show. They were a lot uglier than I remembered, that's fer sure.

darin (darin), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:12 (fourteen years ago) link

Bowling For Soup > Interpol (I honestly believe that.)

And I honestly believe that's completely out of my range of thinking. (This is my diplomatic way of saying "pfhraghahhhhWHA?" Though I know lots of people think nut cancer > Interpol so hey.)

Stupornaut (natepatrin), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Answer to original question: No, not really, but if you guys say so...

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Grease vs Saturday Night Fever

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:27 (fourteen years ago) link

festival express also exposes the grateful dead and their ilk as cynics - it's kinda awesome in that some kind of monster "we don't realize what we're saying is antithetical to what we represent" way.

xpost

blackmail.is.my.life (blackmail.is.my.life), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:27 (fourteen years ago) link

did they come off better than they did in 'Gimme Shelter'?

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:29 (fourteen years ago) link

they really resented their fanbase in canada. bandmembers are like it's just 15 bucks or something: no biggie, right? (15 bucks back then would be 63 dollars today according to the bureau of labor statistics inflation calculator).

blackmail.is.my.life (blackmail.is.my.life), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:33 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't get any resentment out of the film other than the promoter, who's resentful of the people insisting the shows be free.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:35 (fourteen years ago) link

"Dear lord, this is our last night in the fascist state of Toronto" - M. Ciccone

dave q (listerine), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:36 (fourteen years ago) link

the promoter's able to find a suitable middle ground, but i think it's weir who's going on about all the trouble and how nice the cops are etc and that the kids are just troublemakers which is total nixonoid paranoia imo

blackmail.is.my.life (blackmail.is.my.life), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:39 (fourteen years ago) link

he's talking about a specific incident, though, not cops in general.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:41 (fourteen years ago) link

>Bowling For Soup > Interpol (I honestly believe that.)
And I honestly believe that's completely out of my range of thinking.<

Neither band has made a decent album. Bowling for Soup have made two entertaining singles ("1985" and the Britney cover). Hence, BFS win.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 20:42 (fourteen years ago) link

dude fuck those canadian hippies. bobby was OTM.

charleston charge (chaki), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 21:00 (fourteen years ago) link

i thought there was insufficient evidence based on the footage itself, which sided (understandably) with the promoter, etc. each interaction with the public struck me as an afterthought to what seemed to be a promoter's fantastic effort to capture some youth culture. unfortunately he seemed entirely out of touch with its political aspect.

(i think i'm putting something like this up on the stypod this week, in case there's interest)

xpost

blackmail.is.my.life (blackmail.is.my.life), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 21:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Someone told me that one of the members of Sha Na Na went crazy and spiked a baby like a football. Or maybe it was someone who thought he was in Sha Na Na

David Allen (David Allen), Tuesday, 22 March 2005 21:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Yo, see "Grease" again...

the Sha Na Na performance is pretty undeniable.

Bobby Peru, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 23:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Looked at the albums at the record store today. Didn't realize they did so much original material on them. I'm kind of interested in whether they're any good, too.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 02:37 (fourteen years ago) link

I did see some 20/20 special about a guy who faked being in Sha Na Na to bilk people out of their money at mall appearances. Turns out the imposter had escaped from jail and was lying low underneath this guise for years.

Or something like that. I don't remember the baby part, though that might've been what the murder conviction was for.

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 03:51 (fourteen years ago) link

If David's post hadn't been copied to the "laugh out loud" thread already, I would so be putting it there.

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 04:41 (fourteen years ago) link

A couple of the songs on the 2nd album were written by Barry/Kim.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 04:46 (fourteen years ago) link

Wasn't one of the members, one that sang some of the high parts, a dead ringer for Billy Crystal?

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 04:49 (fourteen years ago) link

Does anyone remember the Sha Na Na episode with the Ramones?

late adopter, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 09:11 (fourteen years ago) link

Best thing in the Woodstock movie by a mile, IIRC.
-- Soukesian (byakhee2000nopsa...), March 22nd, 2005.


that wd be richie havens
-- mark s (mar...), March 22nd, 2005.

santana and sly were the best things in woodstock. imho.
-- Eisbär (llamasfu...), March 22nd, 2005.

Nonsense, all of you! It was HENDRIX! But I'd say the four of us together may have nailed the top five, or close to it. And yeah, that includes the hyperkinetic Sha Na Na - possibly the most energetic act of the day. (Not to mention the one most likely to have induced brown-acid freakouts.)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 09:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Were the Relections and Joe Jones even worse?
-- xhuxk (xedd...),

Dunno about the Reflections, but as for Joe Jones, I had occasion to mention him and his song "You Talk Too Much" on this thread:

Worst Rhyming Lyrics Ever...

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 10:02 (fourteen years ago) link

i'm kinda shocked you guys liked festival express! i mean i thought was ok but i figured that was coloured by the canadian-ness of it, which i was a little embarassed of (ACTUAL rock stars hung out here in the '60s!!)

but it's funny that you all mention the sha na na performance, which i thought of when i saw this thread. it was kind of disturbing!!

s1ocki (slutsky), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 10:06 (fourteen years ago) link

A related thread:

Great 20th Century Embarassments: The Mid-90's Swing Revival (A confessional thread)

xhuxk, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:05 (fourteen years ago) link

i had a telemarketing job in the mid 90's that was some sorta union firefighter ticket scam in tejas, and it was centered around a benefit concert featuring Bowszer from Sha Na Na. maybe that's the guy Pleasant Plains is talking about?

and Festival Express is incredible! the footage of the Band before they were junkie-zombies (or Manuel at least) is so vibrant and life-affirming. and the Janis Joplin cosmic bluez suffering and slimy id-slither as stand-up routine brought tears...

Beta (abeta), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:16 (fourteen years ago) link

i like when the give her a box of southern comfort. yah way to enable!

charleston charge (chaki), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Hot Sox was apparently their sixth of seven albums for Kama Sutra!

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 26 March 2005 01:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Bowzer was the ultra-bass guy who looked liked a creepier goofier Henry Winkler.

My father toured with them as a sound guy when I was a wee lad (yup. I'm old) and took me along. Bowzer was a particularly nice guy, and never complained when my tagging along with him ruined his after-show attempts at scary Sha Na Na groupie pussy.

So, yeah, I'll say they were pretty cool.

John Justen (johnjusten), Saturday, 26 March 2005 01:30 (fourteen years ago) link

((( shutter )))

Bobby Peru (Bobby Peru), Saturday, 26 March 2005 01:49 (fourteen years ago) link

http://www.aceproductions.com/Bowser.jpg
I was into Bowser age 6, me.

Silky Sensor (sexyDancer), Saturday, 26 March 2005 02:33 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

"Sha na na na na na na knees" -- Axl Rose.

Anyway, now I'm wondering to what extent Bowzer might have been an inspiration for Joey Ramone.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bfZfH33baMs

xhuxk, Sunday, 6 April 2008 01:50 (eleven years ago) link

That's the Billy Crystal-looking guy singing lead.

Although maybe he doesn't really like all that much like him after all.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 6 April 2008 02:04 (eleven years ago) link

Seeing that clip takes me back to my childhood in a very weird way. I find it disturbing, actually.

Bimble, Sunday, 6 April 2008 04:07 (eleven years ago) link

I turned it off in the middle. Does Kenneth Mars do some strange stuff in there at the end?

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 6 April 2008 04:08 (eleven years ago) link

Whenever I see Sha Na Na, all I can think about is how my grandma loved it when they sang "Goodnight Sweetheart" at the end of each and every episode. DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN.

Terrible Cold, Sunday, 6 April 2008 04:19 (eleven years ago) link

Anyone who thinks Sha Sha Na was any good never heard any originals from Sun.

Jazzbo, Sunday, 6 April 2008 04:53 (eleven years ago) link

what does sha na na have to do with sun? their shtick was very doo-wop/nyc-based. ok, they did "hound dog" and whatever, but it's a pretty different thing from sun.

the laugh track on this video is interesting, like that music could only be performed as camp at that point. in some ways they remind me of hee haw, except that hee haw had the real mccoys on instead of lookalike soundalikes. but i think the cultural effect was the same, a sort of gentle tweaking that reaffirmed the music and gave people permission to like it without feeling utterly square, because the audience was in on the joke.

tipsy mothra, Sunday, 6 April 2008 05:42 (eleven years ago) link

It was the originals of Sunn 0))) that really recontextualized Sha Na Na for me. Hard to take Bowzer seriously after a sit-down with Flight of the Behemoth.

briania, Sunday, 6 April 2008 05:54 (eleven years ago) link

but i think the cultural effect was the same, a sort of gentle tweaking that reaffirmed the music and gave people permission to like it without feeling utterly square, because the audience was in on the joke.

OTM

Bimble, Sunday, 6 April 2008 06:21 (eleven years ago) link

Let me play HOOS for a second and say:
OTMothra

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 6 April 2008 06:34 (eleven years ago) link

Anyway, now I'm wondering to what extent Bowzer ... Joey Ramone

http://www.dickdestiny.com/kings4.jpg

C'mon, xhuxk. Sleeveless black T's on dudes with spaghetti arms weren't anyone's intellectual property. (Actually, the photo CREEM ran of DD&HK when you did the story had three of four -- but not me -- wearing sleeveless at the shoulder, a common white trash thing. Anyway, that's the way I remember it.)

Gorge, Sunday, 6 April 2008 09:13 (eleven years ago) link

Or motorcycle jackets for that matter.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Sunday, 6 April 2008 09:17 (eleven years ago) link

http://www.dickdestiny.com/band.jpg

Did Bowzer influence the sartorial taste of the guy on the right? No -- the carnies at the Allentown fairgrounds plus me showing them the backpages of old Rock Scene mags did.

Gorge, Sunday, 6 April 2008 09:33 (eleven years ago) link

in some ways they remind me of hee haw

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, and almost started a TS: Sha Na Na vs Hee Haw thread

dell, Sunday, 6 April 2008 17:10 (eleven years ago) link

Hee Haw in a landslide.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 6 April 2008 17:28 (eleven years ago) link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NyK3df0xaw

it seems from watching this that tv funnyman david schneider has a past i wasn't aware of.

Frogman Henry, Sunday, 6 April 2008 18:07 (eleven years ago) link

Pffft You Were Gone is a timeless classic.

Gorge, Sunday, 6 April 2008 18:31 (eleven years ago) link

Hee Haw in a landslide.

u crazy

dell, Sunday, 6 April 2008 19:11 (eleven years ago) link

again

gabbneb, Sunday, 6 April 2008 19:47 (eleven years ago) link

for years my dad thought kramer (from seinfeld) was a guy in sha-na-na. i believed him for awhile too!

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 6 April 2008 20:00 (eleven years ago) link

gabb beat me to the punch re sha na na's academic pedigree. i was a bit surprised when i found out that they're a bunch of ivy leaguers.

Eisbaer, Sunday, 6 April 2008 20:46 (eleven years ago) link

lol @ tracer's dad.

chaki, Sunday, 6 April 2008 21:02 (eleven years ago) link

it's still pretty amusing to think of michael richards doing his "battle boy" schtick on sha na na's prime-time TV show.

Eisbaer, Sunday, 6 April 2008 21:09 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

I did see some 20/20 special about a guy who faked being in Sha Na Na to bilk people out of their money at mall appearances. Turns out the imposter had escaped from jail and was lying low underneath this guise for years.
― Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///),
Holy shit, the list of members is enormous. Lots of room for Michael Richards and the baby-killing guy on there with nobody noticing. Room for you, too, fellas - go to it.

Bought a Sha Na Na album (Sha Na Now!) for a buck at a garage sale today. The cover was worth it, the music.... not so much. But love this thread.

Bashful Johnny C. (staggerlee), Saturday, 15 May 2010 03:52 (nine years ago) link

Look at this shit (1975):
http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/s89975.jpg
Is it even remotely possible that Sha Na Na weren't a direct inspiration for The Village People?

Bashful Johnny C. (staggerlee), Saturday, 15 May 2010 04:37 (nine years ago) link

one of the best thread titles ever

Mark, Saturday, 15 May 2010 05:34 (nine years ago) link

A while ago, fiddling around at Colindale newspaper library, I read the Guardian's round-up of 1970 in pop. Guy who wrote it - Geoffrey Cannon, maybe? Can't recall - rounded up the Velvets, Joni, Neil Young, and then concluded that the hands-down best album of the year was by Sha Na Na. Wonder if he stands by that.

ithappens, Saturday, 15 May 2010 10:53 (nine years ago) link

A larger image for better WTFs:
http://webspace.webring.com/people/bd/divamagenta/snnow.jpg

Guy far left looks like he's just been kicked in the nuts. There's an underage Henry The Eighth upper right. And if you look carefully behind the bronzed fella lower right, there's a phantom pair of legs behind him, that belong to no torso.

Bashful Johnny C. (staggerlee), Saturday, 15 May 2010 15:26 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

http://www.tampabay.com/music/woodstock-was-a-myth-sha-na-nas-henry-gross-who-played-before-hendrix-wants-to-bust-it-20190807/

“I submit to you that Sha Na Na should have been one of the first people, if there were a legitimate Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to go into it,” he said. “If you want entertainment, the original Sha Na Na cannot be beat.”

Sorry Henry, sorry Chuck--that is some kind of ludicrous. (Just posting this is taking the bait, I know--he's probably half-kidding.) I do like the idea that Sha Na Na was a people.

clemenza, Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:54 (four months ago) link

Maybe he just never got over the dog dying.

Another Fule Clickin’ In Your POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 9 August 2019 00:21 (four months ago) link

Great article

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 9 August 2019 10:13 (four months ago) link

I am a fan of their 1972 single "Bounce in Your Buggy," which sounds more like the Archies than Danny and the Juniors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7nQtuWuY9Y

timellison, Friday, 9 August 2019 17:55 (four months ago) link


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