The (Kind Of) Complete Woodstock: Sha Na Na

sha na na

Finally, after arriving early Friday to get a good place then  sitting through three days of rain, portable toilets, and stinky hippies your heroes take the stage: Sha Na Na.

For years I assumed that Sha Na Na played Friday thanks to their placement early in Wadleigh’s film.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.  But no, The Na, as nobody calls them, warmed up the crowd for Jimi Hendrix on Monday morning.

I am a child of the seventies, when Sha Na Na’s syndicated variety show was popular with people my parents’ age.  This plus their corny old-fashioned music made them pariahs in my eyes and ears.

Old-fashioned.  Even though their set consisted of songs that were only 10-12 years old (only six in the case of “Wipe Out”), Sha Na Na represented another era to what remained of the Woodstock crowd.  Looking back ten years from right now, Jay Z., U2, and New Pornographers all had albums out. In other words, not much has changed in the last ten years musically, but 1969 and 1959 are completely different epochs.

The crowd dug it.  You can even see Jimi smiling and looking a little baffled during “Teen Angel.”

Sha Na Na is still around. If you’re nostalgic for a nostalgia act you can visit them here:

Here’s the band’s complete Woodstock set list and where you can find official (and not so official) recordings:

  1. Get A Job (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
  2. Come Go With Me
  3. Silhouettes
  4. Teen Angel (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut – Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
  5. (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame
  6. Wipe Out (Youtube)
  7. Book of Love (Youtube)
  8. Teenager in Love
  9. Little Darling
  10. At The Hop (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
  11. Duke Of Earl (Youtube)
  12. Get A Job (Reprise) (Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))

Your official (and bootleg) Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 201

Next week: Jimi Hendrix

<<<Back to Beginning

<<< Back to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.

Here is Sha Na Na‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:

1. “Test, Test”
9. LITTLE DARLIN’ [incomplete]
12. Get A Job (Reprise)
13. Chip Monck – “Thank you for making all this possible”

13 replies »

  1. Really enjoying this series of articles.
    You’re right that Sha Na Na sounds like a totally different era to the likes of Hendrix. Love the guy’s gold jacket. I note from their website that they’ve since gone for a slightly more camp, but no less appealing, image.


  2. I attended Woodstock (still have the unused tickets) and arrived Saturday late morning. We parked on some residents lawn and walked the 5 miles through the little village of Bethel to Festival Field. Comfortable sunny day with plenty of space to stretch and relax, but that changed as the day wore on. Our viewing position was to the right of the nearest speaker tower (looking out from the stage). We saw Country Joe, John Sebastian, Keef Hartley, Sha Na Na and then Santana. I have read that Sha Na Na played Monday morning before Hendrix. While that is true, they absolutely played before Santana on Saturday. I remember turning to my sister’s boyfriend and complaining why are we listening to Sha Na Na at Woodstock! And no, I wasn’t on drugs or drinking. I know what I saw and heard. So why is it I can’t find any Woodstock daily schedule that shows Sha Na Na performed on Saturday?? Funny thing, I have never met anyone else that actually attended Woodstock, that might verify my memory. I lost contact with my sister’s boyfriend years ago and my sister has only a vague recollection. Not me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s amazing, Jack, thanks for sharing. Given the difficulty the producers were having filling stage time, I wonder if Sha Na Na may have been shoved out on stage before Santana as a filler. That’s what happened to John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald (without the Fish), after all.


  3. It’s generally known if you keep digging but, simple and straight from a ShaNaNa co-founder and lifelong member, we performed circa 9AM Monday morning, second to the last act (Jimi Hendrix) in the entire Woodstock festival.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a treat to have you drop in, and thanks for the exact time you guys hit the stage. Very cool!

      Now here’s the big question: Why did Rhino leave one ShaNaNa track off of the big deluxe 50th anniversary box set? Was it an artistic decision? Contractual? Technical? Are they simply a bunch of sadists who know that leaving completists one track shy will drive them crazy?


      • Your writing’s enjoyable to read, and my memories of Woodstock are as clear as many of my memories of last weekend, so I find the “Golden Anniversary” to be “a trip,” as we used to say. I don’t like some of its over-glamorization, and a bit of “schadenfreude” came with seeing the big production concert plans implode (The extant ShaNaNa didn’t even get a feeler to be appearing, and we do make a fine noise!), so may I here? — The link includes my own remarking about Woodstock, still view this long after its 2006 publication.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a lot to unpack here, but in brief that’s one of the most thoughtful essays I’ve read on celebrity and culture in quite a while, and the fact that I never would have found it because it’s on Pat Boone’s website really drives many of your points home.

        One thing that jumped out at me was how Boone was a sort of gateway artist for your generation–the guy who made it okay to rock. Every generation has had that guy (or girl), and it has proven both blessing (in terms of sales) and curse (in terms of critical reputation). The most recent example that comes to mind is Nickelback, a band whose very name is the punchline to myriad social media jokes but whose albums have sold around 50 million copies. Every decade has had their Pat Boones, though, at lease in the context of being “safe” artists for kids to appreciate: Phil Collins, Billy Joel–even the Monkees arguably were the Pat Boone Beatles, who some might argue were the Pat Boone Rolling Stones.

        On a personal note, this line grabbed me: “Our concert audiences came to include kids accompanied by parents and even grandparents.” ‘Sha Na Na’ was appointment television for my family, so when the band played Red Rocks in 1978 or ’79, my siblings, parents, and even my grandfather loaded into the family station wagon and took a drive to the mountains. That was the only show I ever attended with my family, and it remains one of my fondest memories.

        As for Woodstock? I appreciate your level-headedness about the thing. You’re right: The festival has been over-mythologized, and frankly you personally would be more than justified in jumping on that bandwagon. I tend to think that if I were in your blue suede shoes I probably would have started 50 years’ worth of conversations with, “Hi, I’m James. I opened for Hendrix at Woodstock.”

        I don’t remember when it happened exactly– probably when I had kids of my own– but in terms of human interest my focus shifted from the icons to the people who held it all together–the townspeople, the Port-O-Potty man, the Hog Farmers, the “choppity choppities” full of supplies; Chip Monck and John Morris filling the time with announcements, admonitions, and adulation.

        All of that really comes through in the new 38 disc set, as Rhino/Warner included hours and hours of stage announcements. Once can clearly hear both the looming chaos and the tacit agreement among all involved (audience, crew, talent) to hold it at bay. Apply that single aspect of the Woodstock experience–the unspoken agreement not to fuel the chaos–to our current historical moment and things would be significantly different.


    • For Donald York….Appreciate reading your comment about only performing Monday am before Jimi Hendrix. I only saw about 5 maybe 6 acts before leaving the field on Sat. Aug, 16, 1969 about 5:00 pm. Prior to Santana’s appearance, about 1:00 pm, Sha na na performed. I get it that it’s your band and all, but I know what I saw. I was 18, sober and not high on anything except the moment. You played about 35 minutes. Your act was new to almost everyone there and, respectfully, not exactly why I came. However, it was a change of pace and colorful.
      What I’m confused about is why no record of the performance. After all, I drove away knowing I had watched Sha na na and remember it to this day. A few questions if you don’t mind. 1) Was your band physically on the property that Saturday afternoon? 2) Since there was long lag time between acts, might you have been asked to fill some time? 3) Obviously, opening for Hendrix Monday was your highlight, but is it possible you did indeed do a trial run on Saturday? Being new and all.
      I admire your bands staying power and the creativity you brought. I’ve seen your act subsequent times.
      Thank you, My best for your health and a good year.


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