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    Fuller Up, The Dead Musician Directory

David "Chico" Ryan
July 26, 1998

Age 50


Unknown Cause of Death


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      Greaser's Passing

      He sang and played bass in one of the most popular  novelty acts this side of the Village People. He was an international television star, and looked swell in a black motorcycle jacket and slicked-back hair. He was David Allen "Chico" Ryan of the retro-rock act Sha Na Na, and he passed away Sunday, July 26, in   Boston of undisclosed causes. He was fifty years-old. 

                                   Ryan joined the group in 1973, four years too late for their gig at the original Woodstock, but in plenty of time for their 1977-1981 hit television series and  appearance in 1978's Grease. Prior to joining the Na, Ryan was a member of New Jersey's the Happenings, who had two Top 10 hits to their name:  "See You in September" in 1966 and "I Got Rhythm" in 1967.  ~ RICHARD SKANSE Rolling Stone.Com

                                  

      Sha Na Na Bass Player Dies

                David-Allen "Chico" Ryan, bass player for  the '50s revival band Sha Na Na, has died  at the age of 50. He passed away on  Sunday at a Boston-area nursing home;  the cause of death was not specified.   Ryan joined Sha Na Na in 1973 as a  singer and bass guitarist, remaining with the nostalgia-fueled group since. He performed on their popular syndicated television show from 1977 to 1981, and appeared with his bandmates as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers in the 1978 movie Grease. The band recently traveled to Los Angeles to celebrate that movie's  20th anniversary.

                  Prior to joining Sha Na Na, Ryan played with the  Happenings, a New Jersey based band whose songs   "See You in September" and "I Got Rhythm" were both  Top-10 hits. Copyright © 1998 Starwave Corporation All rights reserved.

 

Sha Na Na's `Chico' Ryan dies

BOSTON (AP) -- David-Allen Ryan, who was known as "Chico" Ryan when he sang and played bass with the 1950s revival group Sha Na Na, has died. He was 50. 

Ryan died Sunday at a nursing home. The cause of death was not made public. 

In 1973, after playing in other bands, he joined the already-established Sha Na Na and performed its mock doo-wop and early rock 'n' roll for 25 years. 

He and the band performed satirical versions of the hits of the '50s while decked out in gold lamé costumes or black leather jackets. When he sang Teen-ager in Love, fellow band members handed him a hanky as he wailed through the lyrics.

He toured the world as a member of the group, and also appeared with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the hit movie musical Grease.  In the film, he and his bandmates were Johnny Casino and the Gamblers. 

Earlier this year, the band traveled to Los Angeles to perform at a party celebrating the 20th-anniversary re-release of the film. 

Ryan also performed with the band on its syndicated television show from 1976 to 1981. 

 

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David Allen "Chico" Ryan: Born, April 9, 1948 in Arlington, MA

Sha Na Na Biography

          Spearheading the US rock 'n roll revivalism that began in the late '60s,   the group emerged from Columbia University in 1968 with a repertoire derived exclusively from the '50s, and a choreographed stage act that  embraced a jiving contest for audience participants. Looking the ana-chronistic part—gold lame, brilliantine cockades, drainpiped hosiery  et al -the initial line-up consisted of vocalists Scott Powell, Johnny Contardo, Frederick Greene, Don York and Richard Joffe; guitarists Chris    Donald, Elliot Cahn and Henry Gross; pianists Scott Symon and John Bauman, plus Bruce Clarke (bass), Jocko Marcellino (drums) and—the only musician with a revered past—saxophonist Leonard Baker (ex-Danny And The Juniors). Surprisingly, there were few personnel changes    until a streamlining to a less cumbersome 10-piece in 1973. The band  were launched internationally by a show-stealing appearance at 1969's  Woodstock Festival (that was included in the subsequent film and album  spin-offs) but their onstage recreations of old sounds did not easily translate on disc -especially if the origin al versions had emotional significance  for the listener. From 1972's THE NIGHT IS STILL YOUNG, Bounce In Your  Buggy—one of few self-composed numbers—was the closest the outfit ever came to a hit (though Gross would enjoy a solo US smash in 1976 with Shannon). Nevertheless, the approbation of the famous was manifest in Keith Moon's compering of a Sha Na Na bash in 1971 and John Lennon's choice of the band to  open his One-For-One charity concert in New York a year later. By 1974, however,  their act had degenerated to a dreary repetition that took its toll in discord, nervous breakdowns and more unresolvable internal problems culminating in a fatal heroin overdose by Vincent Taylor, a latter-day member. Yet Sha Na Na's early example enabled archivist-performers such as Darts, Shakin' Stevens and the Stray Cats to  further the cause of a seemingly outmoded musical form. 

MUSIC CENTRAL '96

 

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