Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Henry Gross--Shannon (1976)

     Inspiration for songs come from a myriad of places, in the case of the song, "Shannon" it was from a dog, and not just his dog, but Carl Wilson's as well. Here, let him tell you the story.

" I was touring around the country quite a lot in 1975 promoting an album called HENRY GROSS, the one with the yellow cover on A&M Records. I had the pleasure of doing long strings of dates with The Beach Boys, a group whose music always inspired me, Carl Wilson, lead singer on God Only Knows and Good Vibrations, was warm and welcoming from the very first show I played with them. Carl invited me to his house in Los Angeles to spend a day talking guitars, cars and rock & roll. While he was preparing lunch his two Alaskan husky dogs reached up on the counter and inhaled our food. Carl was no nice he couldn't stop apologizing but I told him, while admiring the military perfection of the raid executed by his huskies, that I had an Irish Setter at home named Shannon and had seen this act many times before! He was quite moved as he told me that he had an Irish Setter named Shannon that had been killed only recently when hit by a car. We spent the rest of the day jamming and driving around Carl's world, which as a friend and to be honest, a Beach Boy's fanatic, was quite a thrill.' (courtesy of Henry Gross' website:  http://www.henrygross.com)

     His career actually is quite varied. At the age of 18, he helped form, Sha Na Na, which was a rock and roll nostalgia act (quite likely the first as well). They played Woodstock and was a surprise hit of the festival, he was the youngest participant in the concert, and it launched their careers as performers. He didn't stay there long however, as by 1971 he was working on a solo career. He had several songs in the lower rungs of the top 100 before "Shannon", and except for it's follow-up ("Springtime Mama"  #36--1976) Henry never approached those heights again. In 1980 he performed in the road company of the musical, "Pump Boys and Dinettes" with fellow musicians Johnathan Edwards and Nicolette Lawson. In the mid-80's he moved to Nashville and began focusing mostly on songwriting, although he continues performing and recording as well.


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