Donny York

Donny York is a founding member of the famed doo-wop band, Sha Na Na, and continues to front the band more than 50 years after their 1969 debut. Donny (lead vocals) was attending New York’s Columbia University in 1969 when he and Jocko Marcellino (drums) formed Sha Na Na, donning leather jackets or gold lame, sporting pompadors and ducktail hair and playing 1950s doo-wop. And despite the hippie era and counterculture steering music to more of a heavy psychedelic genre, Sha Na Na was packing clubs and playing at the iconic Fillmore East in Lower Manhattan and Fillmore West in San Francisco. Only months after the band’s inception, Sha Na Na was booked to play Yazgur’s farm and the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in front of 400,000 fans and appeared as the second to last act prior to Jimi Hendrix closing the show. York and the group were slight outsiders with the “square” music and retro look, but he recalled Hendrix enjoying their 30-minute set prior to taking the stage. York, Marcellino and Screamin’ Scott Simon (keyboards/piano - joined in 1970) are considered the only original members and Sha Na Na have gone through dozens of lineup changes over the years, but continue to play. From 1977-1981, York and Sha Na Na hosted a variety show that featured some of the great 1950s artists like Jan & Dean, Chubby Checker, Danny and the Juniors and Fabian. In 1978, they also appeared in the megahit movie Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. He also provided commentary for the Pat Boone’s America: 50 Years memoir in 2006. Donny York remains a member of Sha Na Na, but has returned to his roots in the Northwest relocating to Spokane, Washington.