What does the Woodstock Festival [for you youngsters, that's near New York and in 1969 there was the biggest ever open air concert with about 500,000 visitors and top acts like CSN&Y, Jimi Hendrix, The Who] and Rod Clements have in common?
You won't believe it, it's Rod's -Meet Me On The Corner- through the name of one Henry Gross. That name doesn't ring a bell? It's not as bad as that. Before starting research for all those cover artists I haden't heard of him either, but of course I remembered that on the Woodstock festival triple-album there was a song from a young and fresh band called Sha-Na-Na entitled "At The Hop".
And it was none other than a very young Henry Gross who, aged eighteen, was a founding member of that 'crazy' Rock & Roll revival group. Even more, with the groups' appearance in the movie "WOODSTOCK" their popularity became a worldwide phenomeon.
Henry left the band in 1970 to pursue a career as a singer songwriter. Three years later, now signed to A&M Records, he released an album simply titled 'Henry Gross' that sold very well and had several large regional hits including a near gold cover of Lindisfarne's "Meet Me On The Corner".
Discovering this and getting in touch with Henry was one thing and it turned out that Henry is a very pleasant guy who immediately answered my questions about the story of "his" Meet Me On The Corner.
Henry: To the best of my recollection I first heard Meet Me On The Corner when one of my former bandmates in Sha Na Na played it for me having heard it and purchased a copy in England. After a while it was played a bit on the WNEW FM which at that time was New York City's premier rock station. I loved the song and recorded it on my first A&M album.
As you are probably aware I had a fair sized hit with it. It went Top Ten in many markets across the country and sold a few hundred thousand singles. I perform it live occasionally if I'm playing in a city where it was well known for me.
I did get the lyrics off the record. I always preferred the chord change in the chorus under the words 'promise I'll be there'. The Lindisfarne version walks the base notes down from G, F# to E. My producers at the time for some reason preferred the more common G to E minor chord chang that appears on my version. I always thought the change we left out was the most interesting chord change in the song and was probably the biggest reason I recorded it.
Sorry you didn't like the old album cover. Some did some didn't. I, of course, had no say at all over artwork at that point in my career and was forced to leave it up to the geniuses at the label who thought it was clever to promote a new artist with no distinguishable picture on the cover. There is no accounting for the taste of some art directors and label people. In defense of Roland Young who did the cover, the script logo he created for writing my name out became a popular hook in advertising for me for years - so maybe we are both wrong and he knew better.
I have never met Alan Hull or any other member of the band for that matter but would love to get in touch with them and hope we could finally meet. I am delighted to be linked to your site and it is funny that you cntacted us at this time. A week ago -while staying three weeks in England- I bought a CD copy of the Fog On The Tyne LP at the Tower Record shop in Picadilly Circus. Coincidence?
Henry Gross, August 2000
Coincidence? Magic! - For everyone who likes to learn more about Henry, you are welcome to spend some time at his personal website www.henrygross.com where you can order his CD(s) and read a lot about his songwriting collaborations with people like Clive Gregson and Randy Bachman to name only two from a long list. Apart from this, today Henry lives in Nashville with Marilyn, four dogs, four cats and has his own recording studio "Grossland" and "Zelda Records" (his independant label).
Yet another strange coincidence!!! While writing this story some days ago I received the following press info from Henry.
HENRY GROSS HAS A NEW CD - "I'M HEARING THINGS"
FOURTEEN NEW SONGS written and performed by HENRY, featuring co-writes with world-renowned songwriters ROGER COOK, CLIVE GREGSON and ANTHONY BATTAGLIA among others. Henry, a founding member of SHA NA NA, performed at the WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL in 1969 and is still enjoying a long, successful career as a recording artist and songwriter. His many albums were very well received critically and commercially. His 1975 A&M RECORDS album "PLUG ME INTO SOMETHING" is legendary and among A&M's top 50 best sellers. His LIFESONG RECORDS album "RELEASE" contained the worldwide hits "SHANNON" and "SPRINGTIME MAMA". Living in NASHVILLE he recently wrote "BIG GUITAR"; a big hit for the ARISTA RECORDS country group, BLACKHAWK. "I'M HEARING THINGS" has great performances by many of Henry's favorite musician friends including singer DENNIS LOCORRIERE of DR. HOOK fame, bass guitarist GARRY TALLENT of the E STREET BAND and MIKE CHAPMAN bassist on all of GARTH BROOKS' RECORDS.
Plug him in again! order a copy of "I'M HEARING THINGS" today by sending $15.00 by check or money order (postage included) to:
ZELDA RECORDS P.O. Box 150163 Nashville TN 32715 We at ZELDA RECORDS thank you for your continued support and wish you and yours a healthy and happy holiday season! Contact email@example.com for more information or visit our site