Danny McBride: Guitarist with rock'n' roll revivalists Sha Na Na

Their appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 might have gone against the grain of the "peace and love" generation, but the US group Sha Na Na started a rock 'n' roll revival craze which lasted through the Seventies and took in American Graffiti by George Lucas, the long-running Happy Days sitcom, and inspired British acts such as Showaddywaddy, Rocky Sharpe and the Replays and Darts. The guitarist "Dirty Dan" McBride was a mainstay of Sha Na Na between 1975 and 1980, the high-watermark years of the group, as they hosted their own series on American television and also became part of the Grease phenomenon.

Billed as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers, Sha Na Na appeared in the Randal Kleiser film adaptation of the Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey musical, and contributed half a dozen songs to the soundtrack album, which topped charts around the world in 1978 at the height of the Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta fever. Alongside their interpretations of the Casey and Jacobs compositions "Those Magic Changes" and "Born to Hand-Jive", tongue-in-cheek versions of doo-wop and rock 'n' roll standards such as "Blue Moon", "Rock'n'Roll Is Here to Stay", "Hound Dog" and "Tears on My Pillow" introduced a new generation to the Fifties' genres.

Born Daniel Hatton in 1945, he grew up in Reading, Massachusetts, where he would entertain his childhood friends with puppet shows. In the late Sixties, he graduated from Boston University's College of Communication and went into broadcasting, starting as a news reporter on a North Carolina radio station.

In 1975, he took up the McBride alias and joined Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (vocals), Lennie Baker (saxophone), Johnny Contardo (vocals), Frederick "Dennis" Greene (vocals), John "Jocko" Marcellino (drums), Dave "Chico" Ryan (bass), "Screamin'" Scott Simon (piano), Scott "Santini" Powell (vocals) and Donald "Donny" York (vocals) in the classic line-up of Sha Na Na, in time to record the Sha Na Now album. McBride had his work cut out as the group had featured two guitarists for its first five years, and his predecessor as sole axeman had been "Enrico Ronzoni" – né Elliott Randall – between Steely Dan engagements.

Originally formed as an a cappella group at Columbia University in 1968, Sha Na Na had taken their name from a line in the Silhouettes' hit "Get a Job" and still introduced themselves as coming "from the streets of New York". They wore gold lamé or leather jackets and greased their hair back like the Fifties rock 'n' rollers, but their act was as much send-up as homage.

They had attracted celebrity fans such as The Who's drummer, Keith Moon, and built a live following in the US and overseas. Their dance routines and comedy skits made them television naturals, and they followed Happy Days from 1977. With guests ranging from Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Del Shannon to Paul Anka, Chubby Checker and Jan & Dean via Milton Berle, Ethel Merman and Zsa Zsa Gabor, the series proved a hit and went into syndication. McBride left in 1980, before taping on the fourth series began, and was replaced by "Guitar Glenn" Jordan.

Over the next three decades, McBride found a niche as a broadcaster and voice-over artist, as well as a writer of humorous, opinionated and music-related articles for magazines and websites in the US. He also released a solo album, 16 Tunes... And Whaddaya Get... A Songwriter's Portfolio. Sha Na Na still tour the US with three of the mainstays, Marcellino, Simon and York, at the helm.

Pierre Perrone



Daniel Hatton ("Dirty Dan" or Danny McBride), guitarist, singer, songwriter, broadcaster and writer: born Somerville, Massachusetts 20 November 1945; married; died Los Angeles 23 July 2009.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before