January 20, 2020

When The Ramones were on "Sha Na Na" playing "The Ramone Family" in a "Family Feud" spoof.

I just found this YouTube obscurity from 1979:



I was just stumbling around in Wikipedia, researching the insult "greasy," skimming through the subject of the "greaser sub-culture" — "The band Sha-Na-Na models their on-stage presence on New York City greasers (the band members themselves were mostly Ivy Leaguers)" — which led me to the article on "Sha Na Na":
Conceived by George Leonard, then a graduate student in humanities, Sha Na Na began performing in 1969 at the height of the hippie counterculture, and achieved national fame after playing at the Woodstock Festival, where Rob Leonard, the president and bass singer of the band, sang the lead on “Teen Angel” when the band opened for their friend Jimi Hendrix. Their 90-second appearance in the Woodstock film...

... brought the group national attention and helped spark a 1950s nostalgia craze that inspired similar groups in North America, as well as the Broadway musical Grease (and its feature film adaptation), the feature film American Graffiti and the TV show Happy Days....
That was a culturally powerful 90 seconds!
From 1969 until 1971, the band played at, among other places, the Fillmore East and Fillmore West, opening for such bands as the Grateful Dead, the Mothers of Invention, and the Kinks. When Sha Na Na began headlining at other venues, one of their opening acts was Bruce Springsteen...

On their album The Golden Age of Rock and Roll, the lead singer taunts the audience on one of the live tracks by announcing, "We've got just one thing to say to you fuckin' hippies, and that is that rock and roll is here to stay!"
Americans are always looking back to a golden age. Compare "Make America Great Again." Question whether Donald Trump's present day version of "you fuckin' hippies" is any less satirical than Sha Na Na's. They're all Ivy Leaguers restyling American culture for the edification and education of the American People.

And how about those Ramones? How much of a comedy routine were they? And how did they interface with American politics? I'll just say that at the time, in the 70s, I regarded them as a comic act, and let me give you this from Wikipedia:
[Joey and Johnny] were politically antagonistic, Joey being a liberal and Johnny a conservative. Their personalities also clashed: Johnny, who spent two years in military school, lived by a strict code of self-discipline, while Joey struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and alcoholism....
Sounds just like America.

38 comments:

wendybar said...

Joey and Johnny also sound just like the difference between real conservatives and liberals!!!

Yancey Ward said...

It is funny- I was thinking about Sha Na Na as I was reading the greaser part of the Sneaky Fucker post.

My family and I watched the Sha Na Na show all the time- it came on just after "The Muppet Show" where I lived.

tcrosse said...

Sha Na Na owed a lot to Danny and the Juniors.

rehajm said...

Joey Ramone Maria Bartiromo

Bartiromo was pleased...

Rory said...

I still hate mousework.

Carol said...

Trouble is I hated doo wop then and hate it now.

Doo wop is NOT rock 'n' roll!

Mark said...

Americans are always looking back to a golden age. Compare . . .

. . . the left's talk about the glory days of Obama and screams about Trump wanting to turn back the clock to the stone ages (which to them is 15 years ago).

Carol said...

The Beatles brought very welcome relief from that horrid musical era.

Though if not for the British Invasion I might have gone on to a better music entirely. Used to be kids grew into classical, jazz or at least folk music in college.

Quaestor said...

The zenith of rock.

Mark said...

From the NYT endorsement post -

Some in the party view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible.

To the left, Obama's radical fundamental transformation of America (which has been pretty successful) is the new normal. And since they view Obama's regime as the Year Zero, they claim that America always embraced such leftism, that it was the "more sensible America."

Quaestor said...

And this would be the nadir... if not for this.

Fernandinande said...

American Graphite is not having happy days.

Rt41Rebel said...

rehajm, that was my first thought as well. Maria and Joey actually became friends, but I'm sure you know that story.

cf said...

Thank you, Althouse, for such a celebratory American post on this distinctive day. I am in parade mode today:

Happy January 20, 2020!

right there, the numbers align, gets me grinning. (last similar pattern would have been a thousand years ago, Jan. 10, 1010, and the next is a thousand more, Jan. 30, 3030, ahhhaha)

But there's more! it's the Reverend's Celebration Day, and we love our Dr.MLK,Jr.

AND, for moi, the sweetest thing, that gets me into twirler uniform and white boots ready to march is: Inauguration Day! Three years ago today, this amazing specimen of Human Possibilites became President.

Streamin and Streamin blessings somehow are ours, and I am grateful

Mark O said...

Rock and roll is here to stay.

cf said...

. . . actually, realized we get to have a Full Year, 12 months of "20, 2020"s, each month we get to enjoy this factor that won't come around for another one thousand and ten years. {may have to annoy you every month this year, full disclosure}

happy January 20, 2020.

Cheers!

Fernandinande said...

Today is Idaho Human Rights Day, celebrating the rights of the Idahoan humans who invented the potato and potato products such as paste, flour, insulation, wall board, paper, wood stains, shaving cream, soap, hair tonic, skin lotion and laxatives.

Mr. D said...

The essence of the Ramones in one verse:

Slugs and snails are after me
DDT keeps me happy
Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em
That I got no cerebellum
Gonna get my Ph.D.
I'm a teenage lobotomy


My other favorite Ramones memory -- playing "I Don't Want to Go Down to the Basement" on the campus radio station to introduce a tornado warning.

Art in LA said...

In Greaser Feud, interesting that The Ramones were introduced as a New Wave group. I walked out on them when they played at a small club in San Jose, CA in 1987-ish. Super loud, and probably drunk/stoned ... horrible set that night.

gilbar said...

FYI,
I'm currently reading the 1st Volume of Bruce Canton's US Grant bio,
Sam Grant by Lloyd Lewis

And this morning, i got to the part where Sam and the rest of Zach Taylor's army was in Port Isabel, watching the local mexicans unload their supplies; and a news reporter wrote about how, the labors carrying the sides of bacon got so dirty, that they became "the Greaser Brigade". Lewis says by the end of the Mexican War; the whole US Army were referring to mexicans as "Greasers"; but he thinks that it was from the Spanish word "Gris", which He Says means "colored", or shaded (google says it means "gray"). In other words, Indino; or part indian

Other people at the time (according to Lewis) say it came from the english word "Grazer" which the texicans used to describe the locals.

It thought it was interesting the the term went back that far.
I also thought it was interesting the the 1st Volume of Bruce Canton's series isn't by Bruce Canton, but that's another tale

Wince said...

..."male feminist" is always faking it, faking it to get women... It's such a weird, sneaky thing... It's greasy!

Well, not the Ramones:

I just wanna have some kicks
I just wanna get some chicks


Too young to die?

But he's the last of the blue bloods, greaser boys
And all of his mates are doing time
Married with three kids up by the ring road
Sold their souls straight down the line

And some of them own little sports cars
And meet at the tennis club do's
For drinks on a Sunday, work on Monday
They've thrown away their blue suede shoes


The 1973 concert documentary "Let the Good TImes Roll" also instigated the 1950s revival.

When Sha Na Na began headlining at other venues, one of their opening acts was Bruce Springsteen...

Springsteen always had a tinge of 50s greaser boy in his band configuration and professed love of cars (although he didn't get his drivers license until age 24).

Kay said...

There seems to be a moment in the late-60’s when people were into a sort of 50’s revival thing. You got Shanana, Elvis’ comeback special, Rueben and the Jets, Creedence, certain songs from the White album. This culminated in the early 70’s with glitter rock, which had a definite retro 50’s influence in the music.

Jay Vogt said...

I don't follow (and am not a presence on) Twitter that much.
However there are two guys on it who deliver stuff like this, and are generally pretty interesting whom I do follow. Both long term musicians for bands that I have a high fondness for:

Mike Mills (Bassist) of REM, and
Clem Burke (Drummer)of Blondie

two really interesting guys.

robother said...

Jesus, what a dreadful performance! The Fonz was jumping that shark back in '69.

Earnest Prole said...

First rule is "the laws of Germany"
Second rule is "be nice to mommy"
Third rule is "don't talk to Commies"
Fourth rule is "eat kosher salamis"

William said...

I just checked. They still make Wildroot Cream Oil. You can buy it through Amazon.....There was a primitive era in America when you needed hair tonic to keep your hair from shooting and frazzling in all different directions after shampooing. You could minimize the problem with a crew cut but, if your hair were any length beyond that, you needed hair tonic to tamp it down. If you wanted to go for a duck's ass coiffure, it took a considerable amount of hair tonic. Hence the greaser term.....I think they put something in shampoo that obviates the need for hair tonic. Men no longer need hair tonic. I wonder who had the last unironic d.a. hair. Some people apparently still use Wildroot Cream Oil. Probably gigolos from South America.

tcrosse said...

The D.A. morphed into the mullet.

Bill Peschel said...

Seeing that footage today, it sounds pretty campy and gay. A girl wouldn't have run back into a flaming car wreck. It had to be a guy.

That makes Sha Na Na the beta version of the Village People.

Howard said...

Are not all "swarthy" men greaseball greasers?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I can't respect Sha Na Na after how poorly they treated Hot Dog--the guy auditioned 50 times!

Remembering Andy Daly's Wolfman Hot Dog

Rockin' and A-Rollin' with Wolfman Hot Dog

YT - CBB Cheesin' out the Wave D-Hole (Mantzoukas & Daly)

Johnathan Birks said...

The Ramones were a terrific live band. No 20-minute guitar or drum solos, just one fast song after another. 1,2,3,4....

rcocean said...

I like Doo Wop songs:

The Duke of Earl
The Inkspots
etc.

even teenage angel has its campy charm.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Bowser was clearly a long-haired hippie on his days off, but he slicked back his hair for the show.

traditionalguy said...

The Beach Boys had them all beat. And then there was that Parton kid from Little Pidgeon River on the eastern side of the Smoky Mountains. They both had music genius and wrote their own songs.

Tom T. said...

OCD is its own form of strict code of self-discipline.

Bob said...

Among a certain subset of musicians, greasy is a compliment when used toward another musician. Seems to be associated with the Austin music scene - - Ray Wylie Hubbard has used it to describe Gurf Morlix and James McMurtry playing on the song Choctaw Bingo on his Delirium Tremeloes CD: They were righteously greasy. And here is David Lindley mentioning his own greasiness in a cover of Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London.

Ann Althouse said...

“ The Ramones were a terrific live band. No 20-minute guitar or drum solos, just one fast song after another. 1,2,3,4....”

I saw them at the Barrymore in the 90s. Loudest band I ever saw, I’m sure.

khematite said...

Just to show that you never can tell, Rob Leonard of Sha Na Na earned a Ph.D. in linguistics at Columbia University and ended up at Hofstra University on Long Island as a professor of linguistics and director of its graduate program in linguistics. He has often appeared in court as an expert witness in cases involving forensic linguistics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Leonard