blatantly bad 70s music: shannon (henry gross)

hey. i have a great idea. let’s write a top 40 smash hit. the topic?

a dead dog.

from the what the hell were they THINKING file: henry gross, a founding member of Sha Na Na, struck it out on his own and made an album. one of the songs on it was titled skin king. well, where do you go from there?

you change record companies, of course.

gross moved over to another record company, where he wrote this little ditty about the passing of beach boy carl wilson’s dog, shannon. i guess once you write a song with a title that might sound like a film vehicle for ron jeremy [warning, kids: don’t open that last link up at work or the bells will go off], where else do you go? as we learned as english majors reading john donne, there’s nothing closer to sex than death. so of course, in the classic tradition, gross made the leap… into an irish setter’s demise.

you old folks might remember the long distance dedication moment on kasem’s american top 40? well, someone wanted kasem to dedicate shannon to the requestor’s deceased dog snuggles. apparently, all hell broke loose when his coworkers programmed something upbeat before the doggy downer:

…I want a goddamn concerted effort to come out of a record that isn’t a fucking up-tempo record every time I gotta do a goddamn death dedication! It’s the last goddamn time; I want somebody who uses his fucking brain to not come out of a goddamn record… that’s up-tempo and I’ve got to talk about a fucking dog dying!

nothing like a dead-dog song to bring us all together.


16 Responses to “blatantly bad 70s music: shannon (henry gross)”

  1. We used to put this song on at slumber parties and just cry and cry.

  2. Funny… I never realized it was about a dog! I assumed it was about the mother’s daughter or something. I even still know most of the words. The mind is scary.

  3. I’ve never heard that. Ever. And now my ears are bleeding.

  4. Ha! I wish YouTube weren’t blocked at work. I’d love to hear this one.

  5. I’m with Catherine.

  6. ah, nylon and catherine. you youngins 😉

  7. OMG, fifteen seconds of this and I was about to barf.

    Who knew Shannon was about a dog?

  8. I need to find the lyrics to it – none of the phrases I remember really indicate anything about a dog (although there was something about a backyard). Was it just one of those inside scoop things?

  9. yep. i remember casey kasem (in a non cursing moment) telling the story about Carl Wilson’s dog Shannon being the subject. it’s been corroborated numerous times.

  10. Oh my god. All these years I thought it was about some poor girl dying. A dog! Now I’m reallly sick to my stomach.

  11. All these years I couldn’t believe that someone would be weepy enough over a dog’s death to bum out an entire nation of radio listeners.

  12. Best part of the Kasem thing? The middle, when in full rant (to Don, on the phone) “…and what happened to those pictures I was supposed to see this weekend!”

    sorry…lurking. I’m a sucker for lists about music. even bad music.

  13. i’m glad you said that — i have been wondering (to meself) about those pictures. the nature of those pictures. ah, casey, you naughty man.

    please continue lurking. or commenting. 🙂

  14. The Langley Schools kids totally should have covered this. They did do “Wildfire,” though, so they’ve got the dead-pets genre covered.

    Carl Wilson was not available for comment, but I like to think of his response as, “Geez, Henry, you’re more broken up about this than I am. Dennis was allergic to Shannon, and Carnie and Wendy couldn’t come over because Shannon kept trying to bite them. Oddly enough, Shannon loved Mike.”

  15. Well if you can’t sympathise with the passing of a dog you must be made of plastic. They do make dummies out of plastic these days.

  16. james amen Says:

    the reason you cannot recognize beauty is because your heart is so darkened. the song is NOT ABOUT a dead dog..

    just so you know, the song is about a fact of life; which is, people who know how to love are hurt the worst when the object of their love is “taken from them”.

    the song, my friend, is about coping with that hurt; which, is why you do not understand it… because you have never felt that hurt,…
    because you have never loved anything but yourself,…
    because you have never met JESUS CHRIST to change your heart.

    learn of JESUS,.. learn to love,..then you will learn what lyrics really
    mean for some songs.

    i’ll pray for you. yes, THE LORD LOVES you, too.
    james amen

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