Monday, December 3, 2012

Story Songs: Shannon

I've had several friends deal with the passing of  a "best friend" in the past month or so -- their beloved dog.  Some people will say it's like losing a member of your family.

For dog (and cat) owners, it is losing a member of your family. It's painful. It's tearful. And it's sad.

Henry Gross wrote about the passing of a dog in "Shannon."  The song was somewhat inspired by the loss of Beach Boy Carl Wilson's Irish setter, Shannon," that was struck and killed by a car. You can read about the story behind the song on Gross's website.

The tune beings with the mother having problems dealing with the loss:

"Another day is at end
Mama says she's tired again
No one can even begin to tell her"

Then we learn about Shannon:

"Shannon is gone I hope she's drifting out to sea
She always loved to swim away
Maybe she'll find an island with a shady tree
Just like the one in our backyard"

And we learn how her loss affects those who loved her:

"But finally the tears fill our eyes
And I know that somewhere tonight
She knows how much we really miss her"

One comment I read about the song was that it couldn't just be about the passing of a dog; that it had to be a metaphor for personal loss. All I can say is that the death of a pet is a painful, personal loss.

Gross, a founding member of Sha Na Na, is so expressive in the lyrics and his high-pitched vocal -- it simply sounds sad without even knowing the story. It can move you to tears.

"Shannon" reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. Gross, now 61, is still an active singer-songwriter.

So for Doug, Mark, Sharon, Jerry, Jim, Linda, and others who mourn the loss of their dogs (and other pets), this post is dedicated to you.

"Shannon" lyrics

(In the spirit of the holiday season, the digital price of "Laments: Short Stories" has been reduced to 99 cents on, B&, and  If you decide to purchase, please leave review/feedback).


  1. Definately a tear jerker. Yes, our pets are a part of our family, and I know from experience, to lose one is a very, very personal loss.
    Thanks for posting this.

  2. My sweet dog, Bucky, passed away in October 2011, and I still miss him very much. It's a shame our pets don't have longer lives. However, they sure leave wonderful memories.