A big part of my family's mythology is the time we spent criss-crossing the continent in the early 70s. And the soundtrack to that myth was provided by my parent's eight-track tape player. I still consider it a fantastic format as the tape would automatically change sides and seemed impervious to damage, or at least any damage thought up by a bored ten-year-old.
To this day, those eight-tracks remain iconic and visceral sign posts of where I have been. I still see the Rocky Mountains when I hear "Half-breed" by Cher. I still think of the Badlands of North Dakota when "Annie's Song" comes on the radio, and any warm day driving near water reminds me of the long trip to PEI and "Brother Love's Travellin' Salvation Show". But of all the blessed eight-tracks, the one titled the "Golden Age of Rock and Roll" by the Sha Na Na was my favourite. Not only were all the songs easy to remember and fun to sing, they gave me some small insight into the lives of my parents when they were young in the 50s. Being young and easily mislead, I thought the Sha Na Na were the original artists. I thought they were the 50s (and you may recall the ridiculous resurgence of 50s music and style right up to the disco age). So here comes the heartbreak, courtesy of Youtube. My beloved Sha Na Na was a comedy band. A parody. A send up. I had learned to accept them as a tribute band, but jeebus christ, they played Woodstock! They were the voice of Grease! And now I find out that they beat the Village People to the punch by a wide margin. But as god is my witness, I thought they were as legit as the Monkees. What can I say? I was young and liked what I liked. So, as it is with any good mythology, I will have to adjust reality to match my memories and try to push on.
And a fun side note, the group's first guitarist, Henry Gross, went on to become a solo artist, and had a hit single titled "Shannon" in 1976. It always comes back to Shannon.