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Sha Na Na is back!

  • Special to the TIMES NEWS Sha Na Na will be at Penn's Peak Friday night at 8 p.m.
    Special to the TIMES NEWS Sha Na Na will be at Penn's Peak Friday night at 8 p.m.
Published November 11. 2010 05:00PM

Sha Na Na has the distinction of being more popular than many of the bands whose hits they perform in their concerts.

Tomorrow, the band, which got its big break at the world famous 1969 Woodstock Festival, makes a return to Penn's Peak in a concert set for 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.

Opening will be the popular oldies band Remember When.

Jocko Marcellino, one of the original members of Sha Na Na, said he enjoys playing at Penn's Peak. "It's a lovely venue; like a big log cabin," he said in a phone interview.

The concert tomorrow is part of the tour promoting the latest CD of the band, "Sha Na Na 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition."

Marcellino pointed out that at Sha Na Na concerts, you just don't hear songs from the 50s and 60s. There's also audience participation and other fun-filled events.

Of course, you can count on selections from the new CD being sung.

Sha Na Na collection's edition CD features performances from Woodstock, the movie "Grease" (where they starred as "Johnny and the Cruisers"), and The Sha Na Na TV Show!

Among the songs on the CD are "Hound Dog," "Peppermint Twist," "Sandy (from Grease)," and the popular dance number "The Hokey Pokey."

Of "Sandy," Marcellino said member Scott Simon wrote the lyrics. Simon had joined Sha Na Na just after Woodstock.

Marcellino said he was 19 years old and a student at Columbia University in New York when he and Donny York formed the band "The Kingsmen." They had to give up the name because there was another group also called The Kingsmen on the West Coast which already was making hits including "Louie Louie."

He said the current name for the band came from the song "Get A Job." He remarked, "It just caught on with us."

"We did gigs out of college but Woodstock was our ace gig," the Sha Na Na drummer noted.

The show at Woodstock was only the seventh on stage for the newly formed Sha Na Na.

"We went on second to last, at sunrise on the final day, but importantly, just before Jim Hendrix," Marcellino pointed out. "We did 40 minutes and were paid $300 ... and the check bounced."

Sha Na Na was the only Woodstock group without a record deal. It didn't take long 'til they got one.

Asked who his favorite artists have been and Marcellino answered, "I love Little Richard." He said Richard's song "Lucille" is usually done in their concerts.

"We also do Elvis, Buddy Holly. We switch songs all the time, depending on the segments. We just finished doing 'Monster Mash' for Halloween," he said.

Sha Na Na always opens with "At the Hop," which was a hit for Danny and the Juniors.

Marcellino said he enjoys performing, but traveling is the difficult part. "I always say I do the show for nothing, but get paid very well to be there," he laughed. "But you get used to it."

Three members who were on Sha Na Na's TV show, which taped 97 episodes from 1977 to 1981, are still with the band.

"We're looking forward to being back at Penn's Peak," said Marcellino. "Expect to have a good time at our show."

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