Henry Gross - lead vocals, guitar; John Colbert - piano; Ben Harrison - piano, vocals; Mark Clarke - bass; Warren Oates - drums
Henry Gross never hit it big enough to be called an A-level rock star, but he certainly has had a long and credible career as a music industry pro. This show, the first of two captured at New York's Bottom Line came two years after Gross had struck gold with a sentimental pop ballad called "Shannon." Supposedly written about his friend Beach Boy Carl Wilson's grief process after the death of his Irish setter dog, "Shannon" was a Top 10 hit that put Gross on the map and allowed for a prolonged recording career on a handful of indie and major record labels.
Gross first emerged in the late '60s as a member of Sha Na Na, the '50s parody act that zoomed into pop culture after being featured as part of the Woodstock film and soundtrack album.
Not wanting to get stuck in a cover band, Gross departed Sha Na Na after the success it saw from the Woodstock appearance. He signed first with ABC Dunhill Records (which had beaucoup de bucks from the success of Three Dog Night). ABC did nothing for Gross, so he left and signed with A&M. He had enough of a reputation to sign with producers Cashmen & West, who were guiding the career of another aspiring singer-songwriter, Jim Croce. It was with Cashman & West that Gross wrote and recorded Release, and its hit, "Shannon," which went gold.
From there, he was signed by CBS Records, who had given a distribution deal to Cashman & West's label. His subsequent albums failed to match the success of Plug Me In, and eventually he was dropped. He recorded for several indies after that before forming his own label, Zelda Records.
After the success from "Shannon" faded, Gross began to focus on songwriting and producing. He would go on to write and/or produce material for Mary Travers (during a sabbatical from Peter Paul & Mary), Cyndi Lauper, Judy Collins, and Blackhawk, for whom he wrote "Big Guitar." He continues to record today.