Album: Release (1976)
Charted: 32 6
  • "Shannon" was a song written about the passing of Beach Boy Carl Wilson's Irish Setter of the same name. The song went gold and became a worldwide hit. The second single, "Springtime Mama," sold just short of gold. This was Gross' first album and first hit on the new Lifesong Record label. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Randall - Chattanooga, TN
  • This song was a hit in the US in 1976, but is perhaps best known for being the subject of a legendary, profanity-laced tirade by American Top 40 radio show host Casey Kasem while recording an episode of the show in 1985. A listener had requested the song as a "Long Distance Dedication" (a regular feature of the AT40 show) to his own recently-deceased dog. Kasem was upset that the show's producers had placed the dedication immediately following the Pointer Sisters' hit "Dare Me," an up-tempo song that Kasem considered a poor lead-in to a sad song like "Shannon" - and he let the producers know of his displeasure in no uncertain terms. In the end, the dedication, and the mismatched songs, were presented as scripted in spite of Kasem's objection, but the outtake of his rant eventually surfaced as a bootleg recording. The so-called "Snuggles tape" (named for the dog to whom the dedication was made) contradicted Kasem's normally straight-laced, easygoing on-air persona, and provided an amusing footnote to his 18-year-long run as the show's original host. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - Twin Cities, MN
  • The falsetto vocals on "Shannon" were written because Gross was a big fan of Beach Boy member Brian Wilson and was influenced by his singing style. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Graham - Windsor, Australia

Comments: 20

  • Selkie from Not The SeaIsn’t it amazing how one can see, feel, & hear a song so vastly different than another, & both perspectives leaps & bounds away from the song’s writer him/herself?
    I just heard a short sample of this song on a 70’s CD commercial. Being I’m always drawn to the water, our Ocean, I had to look up the lyrics.
    My mind’s eye envisioned a mother going through the motions of her every day, & her sadness came from a longing for someplace, some thing else.
    Not to remotely diminish a mother’s love for her child/children, but I think nearly every human being had a dream, a plan, a passion, for something that never came to fruition.
    Sideline, I’m very in to “Selkie” folklore.
    Anyone who has knowledge about Selkie’s knows their tie to the Sea.
    Anyway, that’s where I went with the song, so it felt very grey, sad, & sorrowful.
  • Ekristheh from HalathKasem's swearing tape had circulated for several years among radio personnel and record store owners, before the experimental sound collage group Negativland used it in their 1991 EP "U2". A parody of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", the recording introduced Kasem's colorful metaphors to a generation of delighted listeners.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 23rd 1976, Henry Gross performed "Shannon" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'...
    Five months earlier on February 22nd, 1976 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and on July 30th, 1976 it peaked at #6 (for 3 weeks) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 29th, 1976 it reached #1 "(for 1 week) on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    In 1969 and 1970 he was the lead guitarist for the rock 'n roll revival group 'Sha Na Na'...
    He had three other Top 100 records and they also charted in 1976; "One More Tomorrow" (at #93), "Springtime Mama" (at #37), and "Someday (I Didn't Want to Have to Be the One)" (at #85)...
    Mr. Gross celebrated his 63rd birthday three months ago on April 1st, 2014.
  • Jeff from Abilene, TxHeard this song today, first time in a long time. Doesn't appear to get much if any air time on the Oldies station and that's to bad as it is a great song. Although it has no special meaning, as some have stated, I love to listen to good music and this song definitely is good. Thanks Henry! Eighteen, hope you find your brother.
  • Dawn from Palmerston North, New ZealandEverytime I heard this song back then I was always puzzled why I burst into tears. Now I have discovered this song again on this site, you can imagine what is happenng to me now. Dont what miracle it has, but you want a good cry - play this song!!!!
  • Jethro from Stillwater, PaThis song is damn depressing. So why do I listen to it then one might ask. It has meaning to me and in my case this has nothing to do with dogs but a real person. I miss you Shannon and hope you find what you've been searching for.
  • John from Vineland, OnI trust that the song is about more than just a dog named Shannon. I imagine that Shannon is also a metaphor as were the real life characters in JT's Fire and Rain, which was actually about JT's conflict with child abandonment and ensuing drug use. I also think the authors story very closely parallels Eighteens experiences. The genius is the artist's ability to take the pain he feels every day and encapsulate it in an experience that can be related to collectively by the public. The song starts out in typical song and verse discussing Mom being "tired" again at the end of the day and then the escapism follows both through verse and musical style. Then back to reality "Mama tried hard to pretend....", then back to escapism. This song was written from the perspective of a child and the content does not reflect how an adult would mourn the death of a pet with his Mama. Whatever the mechanism; be it drawing on past experiences or the effective use of the "Ultimate Seashore" recording with his trusted canine friend at foot, it is one of my all time favourite songs.
  • Ljayz from Topeka, KsHere is the link to Casey Kasem's rant. If you're offended by cursing, then you won't want to hear it.
  • Ljayz from Topeka, KsHenry Gross story behind the song can be found on his web page:
  • Dave from Easton, PaHenry Gross is a founding member of the rock and roll revival band Sha Na NA.
  • Stormy from Kokomo, InThanks, Joshua in Twin Cities, MN, for reminding me of the Casey Kasem rant! I remember listening to it somewhere on TV and it was HYSTERICAL! He (Kasem) was really pissed off and with all of the "bleeping" it really made it funny!
  • Amber from San Francisco, CaI hate to disagree with you, but Carl Wilson's dog was actually a Samoyed and Henry Gross's dog was the Irish Setter. Both dogs were named Shannon. It was Carl Wilson's dog that had passed away and this song was written in honor of the dog.
  • David from Lakeland, FlI have to agree with my brother Ron from Auburndale
    on Eighteens comment. Very unfortuneate and i hope one day you will find shannon. Ron and I grew up loving this song because it stood out, and it was rarely heard after like 1980 which makes it nice so it isnt burned out like other songs. By the way yall, the Casey Kasem blowing up is on you tube. listen to it if you get a chance!
  • Ron from Auburndale, FlGreat song! In response to Eighteen's comment, that is such a sad story!! I sincerely hope you have some luck in finding your brother... I probably won't listen to this song the same way again!
  • David from Zanesville, OhThis song reminded me of losing Barney my dog. When I was 14 in 1976 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I told my older sister about Barney and she said to listen to this song and wow it explained in words what I was feeling.
  • Darrell from Eugene, United StatesThis song is one of the worst of all time. I like Sha Na Na, but there IS a reason why Henry's last name is also a colloquial term for "disgusting" or "icky".
  • Jan from Star, NcThe song "Shannon" is absolutely beautiful. For many of us it has meaning, mine is that it is my daughter's name. Eighteen - I hope that you find your brother, God Bless. -Jan
  • Tony from Memphis, TnThis was not Henry's first album. Actually it was his 4th. His previous 2 before Release had some reional hits. He is still playing and putting out some good music.
    Tony Memphis Tn
  • Eighteen from Marysville, Mi In 1976 when this song came out I was 11 years old and my brother Andy was 10 and my brother Shannon was 2. One day our alcoholic mother was just going a few blocks down the street to the liquor store and she never came back. She had met a truck driver there at the liquor store and left with him to go to Texas and she never cam back. Just a few days later the state social worker people came and they took our little brother Shannon away and we would never see him again. Everytime my brother Andy and I would hear the song "Shannon" we would just look at eachother and get very silent. We wouldn't turn it off or change the radio station, we would just silently listen to the song, "Shannon is gone...
    It's been 30 years. We never speak of it and we dont know what happened to Shannon Patrick Snowden, birthdate November 4, 1974 in Port Huron Hospital, Port Huron, Michigan. We still miss him.
  • Dale from Memphis, TnAfter reading the facts above, it kinda ruins my longtime vision of a dog that simply ran away one day, as what had happened to a favorite dog of mine a few years before the song was released.
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