D-Sides, Orphans, and Oddities

The Uncoolest Band In The World!!!

August 19, 2021

You would be right to think of Sha Na Na as a goofy amalgam of caricatures from a bygone era that might not have actually existed. But there was a time, JUST before their crowning achievement: their show being syndicated, when they attempted to be real, songwriting artists. Not of their self-appointed time and place, but as legitimate pop singers. I DO like some of their stuff. Scott Simon, J Jocko, and Denny Greene released solo records. They were not successful. None of these songs were, either. Scott Simon co-wrote "Sandy" for Grease

ShaNaNa (letter-spacing is intentional - this is how the label reads) - Top 40 (1971) Reached #84, the closest thing they ever had to a hit record. Produced by Eddie Kramer, a South African-English recording producer and engineer that collaborated with several artists now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including the BeatlesDavid BowieEric ClaptonJimi Hendrixthe KinksKissLed Zeppelinthe Rolling StonesJohn Mellencamp, and Carlos Santana.

Also AnthraxJoe CockerLoudnessPeter FramptonJohn MayallTen Years AfterMott the HoopleJohn SebastianCarly SimonDionne WarwickSmall FacesSir Lord Baltimore, and Whitesnake.

(Deep breath) Kramer's film soundtrack credits include Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of WightFestival ExpressJimi Plays Monterey, Jimi Plays Berkeley, Live at the Fillmore East, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, The Pursuit of HappinessRainbow BridgeThe Song Remains the Same, and Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More. And this album by ShaNaNa.

Sha Na Na - Bounce In Your Boogie (1972) Produced by Jeff Barry, who co-wrote "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", "Be My Baby", "Chapel of Love", and "River Deep - Mountain High" (all written with his then-wife Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector); "Leader of the Pack" (written with Greenwich and Shadow Morton); "Sugar, Sugar" (written with Andy Kim); "Without Us" (written with Tom Scott), etc.

And he produced this album for Sha Na Na. 

Sha Na Na - Glasses (1972) This is the only song I could find in their discography that was written by John "Bowser" Bowman

She Na Na - Only One Song (1971) This might be their best original, save for the clunky drum punch-ins and mediocre preaching. 

John Lennon's backing band of choice from 1971-1973 or so also tried to succeed on their own terms, first as a kind of hippy-dippy second-rate peace-loving band of conscience, and later as a hippy-dippy second-rate peace-loving band of conscience that had backed John Lennon. Carly Simon was in the band for a brief time. 

Elephant’s Memory - Old Man Willow (1969) This is from the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. I love Buddah Records. 

Elephants Memory - Crossroads of the Stepping Stones (1969) Produced by Wes Farrell who was the music director for The Partridge Family

Elephant’s Memory - Mongoose (1970)

John Lennon - Woman is the Nigger of the World (1972) With Elephant’s Memory and Invisible Strings. I happen to love this song and Yoko's lyrics are truer every day. 

John Lennon - Sunday Bloody Sunday (1972) Which is better? This, or McCartney's "Give Ireland To The Irish"?

Chuck Berry - Bio (1973) Backed by Elephant's Memory

Elephant’s Memory - Running Man (1974) 

Someone gave Ringo Starr a big pile of cocaine (a hell of a drug) and convinced him that he could run a record label, or at least serve as a tax-dodge for someone else. From the website Rare Beatles:

As early as 1970, Ringo had involvement with a production company, Beachport Company Ltd. (in fact, most of the RING O’ RECORDS releases feature this name). On July 26, 1973, Ringo started a new music publishing company, Wobble Music Ltd.. However, his own compositions were published by two other Ringo-owned companies, Startling Music Inc. and Richoroony Ltd.. Ringo purchased Tittenhurst Park, John and Yoko’s old manor, on September 18,1973 and immediately made the in-house studio, re-christened Startling Studios, available for use by other recording artists.

With Apple Records not being fun anymore and virtually little product being released, George formed Dark Horse Records Ltd. on May 23, 1974. Hot on George’s heels, on June 28, 1974, Ringo started a company called Reckongrade Ltd.. By December 11, Ringo changed the name to Pyramid Records Ltd.. On April 4, 1975, Ringo officially declared that RING O’ RECORDS was open for business, even though one single and an album had already been released! Just to add more confusion to the paper trail, the RING O’ name and logo were trademarks of another Ringo company, Wibble Records Limited.

RING O’ RECORDS actually signed artists and produced records. However, Ringo was not, personally, an active participant in the company, nor was he signed to the label. Over a three-year period, seven albums, and 17 singles were released. [Ed: Click that link for a complete discography.]

In North America, Capitol Records distributed the first two singles and the first album of the fledgling label. Polydor issued the label throughout the rest of the world. But distribution problems and the lack of a personal recording deal saw Ringo put his floundering company on hiatus for 18 months.

Polydor became the worldwide distributor for the newly re-launched RING O’ RECORDS in March 1977. Only a handful of artists (eleven) recorded for the label.

In 1978, RING O’ RECORDS, in Europe, became a production company, the Able Label. Ringo’s financially disastrous venture into the record business was over.

Bobby Keys - Gimme That Key (1975)

Dirk and Stig - Ging Gang Goolie (1977) Listen for Eric Idle. This is him and Ricky Fataar, late of the South African band The Flames, The "So Tough"-era Beach Boys, and The Rutles, of which this record is a precursor. If in name only.

 

Someone gave George Harrison a big pile of cocaine (a hell of a drug) and convinced him that he could run a record label, or at least serve as a tax-dodge for someone else. At least his discography is more extensive. Among same:

Henry McCullough - You Better Run (1975) Late of Wings. One wonders how this signing happened. If you listen to "Money" by Pink Floyd, Henry is the one saying "I was really drunk at the time..." They also recorded Paul and Linda but they didn't offer much in the way of insight. Any Beatle fan knows this label. 

Attitudes - Ain’t Love Enough (1975) Yes, THAT David Foster

Jiva - Don’t Be Sad (1975) Jiva was the first American act signed to Dark Horse Records. According to Geoffrey Giuliano's George Harrison biography, Harrison signed Jiva because they were followers of the young Indian Guru Maharaji, to whom he had been introduced by his future 2nd wife Olivia.

Stairsteps - Posado (1976) This was originally The Five Stairsteps and Cubie, and then just The Five Stairsteps. Then Five Stairsteps. And then, for a brief time, "Dr. Jimmy and His Amazing Dancing Uvula", and finally, just Stairsteps.  They recorded "O-o-h Child", the huge hit from 1970. 

Ravi Shankar - I Am Missing You (1974)

Ravi Shankar - Dreams (1974)

 

The Temptations - Psychedelic Shack (long version) (1970)

The Lundstroms with Tiny - The B-I-B-L-E (?)

Think - Gotta Get To Know Each Other (1971) Think had an oddball Top 10 hit in the US with "Once You Understand". 

Traffic Safety Tip (Public Service Announcement) (?)

Spike Jones Without His Orchestra - What is a Disc Jockey? (1954)

Vox Populi - Ah! (1969) 

Wayne Newton - Charade (1964)

We All Together - It's Us Who Say Goodbye (1973)

Werner Müller - The Stripper (1972)

William Shatner - That’s Me Trying (2004)

Wilson Malone Voice Band - Penny Lane (1968)

Xerox - Bit By Bit (?) 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App