Sha Na Na and ho, ho ho

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BY BILLY SUTER

REMEMBER the ’50s-influenced Sha Na Na, the fun US rock ’n’ roll group that featured on early SABC television and appeared in the hit movie Grease?

Well, not only is the team alive and well, but they are back on track with a new Christmas-themed album, Rockin’ Christmas (The Classic Christmas Collection), highlighting a new single, Ugly Christmas Sweater.

Noted for gold lame suits, leathers and ducktail hairdos, and a lively song and dance repertoire of classic 1950s rock ’n’ roll, both loving tributes and parodies, Sha Na Na featured in Grease as the band Johnny Casino and The Gamblers. That was the band at the school dance towards the end of the hit film that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

Sha Na Na also featured in the original Woodstock Festival line-up and the band’s popularity led to them landing the Sha Na Na TV Show from 1977 to 1981. It ran for 97 episodes and was hugely popular in South Africa.

The group still headlines more than 50 concerts a year at venues all over the world.

The group was of most note locally for its lead bass singer, wide-mouthed, skinny Bowser, real name Jon Bauman, who wore a black muscle shirt and flexed his small biceps. He quit the group in 1983, after 13 years as a member, and celebrated his 70th birthday in September.

According to Wikipedia, after his heyday with Sha Na Na, Bauman was a VJ on the VH1 music channel during its first two years. He has appeared on several television series, including Miami Vice, and has also done voiceovers for animated series such as Animaniacs and the films My Little Pony: The Movie and The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones, adds Wikipedia.

He reportedly still performs with his band, Bowzer and the Stingrays

Rockin’ Christmas is a celebration of the holidays with the legendary greasers of Woodstock; that, joyfully, will help dance the night away with 23 classic Christmas and holiday songs, a la doo-wop and rock ’n’ roll,” says a spokesman.

The collection also features six original songs, including I Saw Mama Twistin; with Santa Claus and Rock Rudolph Rock.

 


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