I have several of Sha Na Na's original albums, plus a few CD
compilatons, and here are my brief reviews of some of them.
older Sha Na Na albums are long out of print - try eBay, used record
stores (local or online) and thrift shops to pick these up. For the
CDs, check eBay, www.half.com, CDNow and Amazon)
SHA NA NOW
Without a doubt, my favorite Sha Na Na album (I just found a copy of
the rare Canadian import CD version, well worth getting on CD if you
can find it!). Well, 7 of the 12 songs feature Johnny on lead, so you
do the math! (as one member of the Yahoo Sha Na Na Fans group joked, it
was Johnny's first solo album, and he was kind enough to let the other
guys take the lead on a couple of songs LOL!) The songs are a terrific
combination of oldies and modern pop that somehow reside together here
in perfect harmony. "Shot Down in Denver" is a strong track with
blazing vocals. "Runaway" is a terrific version of the Del Shannon
clasic. "The Only Light On My Horizon" is a beautifully mournful but
hopeful lament of a young man who left a good woman for a glamorous,
shallow siren, and now wants nothing more than to come home. "Basement
Party" and "Party Lights" both capture that classic '50's-style longing
of a guy for a Saturday night dance with his best girl. And the
defining moment of the album is Johnny's hypnotic, haunting cover of
The Raspberries' "Don't Want To Say Goodbye." The aching loneliness in
his voice is heartbreaking - be prepared to get shivers over the spell
he weaves with this one...
A great album (and, like "Sha Na Now," was also released on import
CD)! "Dreams Come True" is stunningly beautiful, combining Denny's
sweet lead vocals and Johnny's pure, ethereal background falsetto to
create a lush, dreamy, unabashedly romantic mood. "(Just Like) Romeo
and Juliet," "Don't You Just Know It," "Sh-Boom" and Jocko's funny,
funky "Too Chubby to Boogie" are great fun. And Johnny's falsetto is
put to glorious use as he takes the lead on The Essex's "Easier Said
FROM THE STREETS OF NEW YORK
Another great Sha Na Na album - fun renditions of classic tunes are
interspersed with hilarious in-between patter beween the guys and the
audience, including their famous dance contest. Highlights include
their two signature tunes, "Get a Job" and "Goodnight
Sweetheart," 'Splish-Splash," the irresistibly fun "Summertime,
Summertime," and the beautiful "Chances Are."
THE GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK AND ROLL
This all-time classic double-live album is a must-have for any Sha Na
Na collection, featuring songs from "Rock Around The Clock"
and "Heartbreak Hotel" to "At The Hop" and "Tell Laura I Love Her." The
energy and exuberance of their live shows comes through loud and
This is an LP released by K-Tel, and it's filled with great, classic
oldies, done Sha Na Na style. From "Monster Mash" and "Witch Doctor,"
to "Alley Oop" and "Rockin' Robin," if you love all those fun old '50's
tunes, this is a must-have for your collection.
THE NIGHT IS STILL YOUNG
Not their best recording, this has a rather odd, quirky, too-modern
feeling to it (unlike the seamless blending of old and new in "Sha Na
Now"). There are some good tracks here, however, and the fun doo-wop
style love/protest song "(The Vote Song)" and a lovely rendition of "In
The Still Of The Night" make it worth checking out.
SHA NA NA (self-titled)
The first side of their second album is a selection of classic oldies
that was recorded live at their alma mater, Columbia University, which
is a lot of fun and full of the usual energy and fun we've grown
accustomed to. The second side features some studio tracks written by
Screamin' Scott and Jocko. Worth it at least for the first side, and
if your tastes run toward the offbeat, you may enjoy side two as
ROCK AND ROLL IS HERE TO STAY
Nice to have for the historical value, as this was their first LP, but
the arrangements often seem rather strange and passionless. Plus, as it
was recorded before Bowzer and Johnny came aboard, it lacks the vital,
distinctive sound and personality that they brought to the group. Not
bad, but not exactly the Sha Na Na we know and love, either.
The latest (2002) compilation, this is a must have CD for you greasers
out there. Plenty of tunes from their classic albums, many of which
aren't available on any other CD compilations. But worth the price
alone is the incredible 12-page booklet, filled with lots of wonderful
rare photos and a nice writeup about our guys' career. Run out and get
this one now!
GREASE FOR PEACE: THE BEST OF SHA NA NA
A fabulous collection of some really great songs, including quite a few
of the fun numbers from the "Silly Songs" album ("Charlie
Brown," "Witch Doctor," "Monster Mash," etc.). There's also two real
gems for us Johnny fans - his gorgeous take on "My Prayer," and his
rollicking rendition of "Da Doo Ron Ron." A terrific CD!
A WHOLE LOTTA SHA NA NA
This one features classic rock 'n roll tunes like "Jailhouse
Rock," "Runaround Sue," "Great Balls of Fire," and "At The Hop." Many
of these are live versions, and while not as good as "Greatest Hits,"
it's still a whole lotta... fun!
THE BEST OF SHA NA NA
A CD (also available on vinyl) featuring a lot of the live tracks
from "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll" album. Perfect for fans of that
album who'd love to have some of the best songs on CD.
Ok, so this isn't technically a compilation, but certainly a must for
any self-respecting Sha Na Na fan's collection! They contributed 6
songs to the soundtrack, including killer versions of "Rock and Roll is
Here To Stay" and "Blue Moon," and the seductive "Those Magic
Changes." If you don't have it, go get it!
AT THE HOP
This video CD (playable on Windows and some video game systems) is
delightful footage of an early '70's German concert full of great SNN
classics like "At The Hop," "Blue Moon," "Tell Laura I Love Her,"
and "Duke of Earl." An audio CD of the music is also included. Highly
recommended for any fan of the group! It's out of print, but comes up
on eBay on occasion. There is also a European-format DVD of the same
concert with four extra songs.
ROCK 'N ROLL GRAFFITI - LIVE IN JAPAN
A very rare CD recording of an early '80's concert in Japan, and
absolutely worth the effort to locate a copy - if just to hear Bowzer
speaking Japanese during the dance contest! Highlights include the
fun "Trickle, Trickle," the aforementioned dance contest, and Johnny's
amazingly gorgeous vocals on "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."
A new 2002 release, the boys' first holiday recording is a real treat -
a blend of traditional favorites and some original tunes. A must-have
for your Christmas music collection!
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