Sha Na Na
Synopsis of Pop Music
As rock music reached the end of the 1960’s and began to ‘grow up,’ Sha Na Na became a big success by revisiting rock and roll’s early days with a new energy. Their combination of classic sounds and modern showmanship made them popular with rock music’s older fans and also helped them win over plenty of new ones. As a result, they became fixtures on film, television and the concert stage and also paved the way for future rock-revival groups like the Stray Cats.
Sha Na Na started as the Kingsmen, a group of college students at Columbia University. This glee club became a local hit with their versions of 1950’s doo-wop songs. They soon added a full band to their lineup and took on a 1950’s look, complete with duck-tail hairstyles, gold lamé jackets and drainpipe trousers. The expanded group renamed themselves Sha Na Na after a line from the doo-wop classic “Get A Job” and got their break when they performed before Jimi Hendrix at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Their set became a highlight of the Woodstock film and earned them a record contract.
Sha Na Na released their debut album, Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay, in late 1969. It set the tone for their sound by combining energetic remakes of oldies classics with a few original tunes done in the style of their old favorites. Meanwhile, they became a smash hit on the concert circuit. Their show included choreographed dance routines by the singers and a ‘jiving contest’ that allowed audience members to join in the fun. They also became popular with their fellow rockers: Keith Moon of the Who sat in on drums at one of their shows and John Lennon chose them to open a 1972 concert.
In the late 1970’s, Sha Na Na moved into television and film. Between 1977 and 1981, the group starred in their own syndicated television show, Sha Na Na. It successfully combined music with comedic skits and is still seen on television today. The group also appeared in the film Grease as the dance band Johnny Casino and the Gamblers. They also contributed several oldies covers to the film’s soundtrack and Scott Simon co-wrote one of the film’s hit songs, “Sandy.” Grease went on to become the most successful film musical of all time and its soundtrack album became a monster hit as well.
As Sha Na Na move into their fourth decade, they continue to be as successful as ever. They have sold 20 million albums over the years and continue to release new albums today, their most recent being Rock ‘N’ Roll Dance Party on Pat Boone’s Gold Label. They also maintain a busy schedule of concerts that takes them to concert halls all over the world. In short, Sha Na Na is living proof that ‘rock and roll will never die.’
Artist Release History1971 - Is Here to Stay
1971 - Sha Na Na
1972 - The Night Is Still Young
1974 - From the Streets of New York
1974 - Hot Sox
1975 - Sha Na Na Now
1977 - Rock'n'Roll Revival
1980 - Havin' an Oldies Party With
1981 - Remember Then
1997 - Halloween Oldies Party
2000 - Live in Japan
Pop Sub Categoriesrock
Essential Music AlbumsGreatest Hits (Madacy)
Band MembersScott Powell vocals
Johnny Contardo vocals
Frederick "Denny" Greene vocals
Richard "Ritchie" Joffe vocals
Don York vocals
Chris Donald guitar
Elliot Cahn guitar
Henry Gross guitar
Leonard Baker saxophone
"Screamin" Scott Simon piano
Jon "Bowser" Bauman piano
Bruce Clarke bass
John "Jocko" Marcellino drums