Henry was born on April 1st, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. His older sister, Sarah, was a huge Rock & Roll fan, so Henry's introduction and subsequent addiction to it came at a very early age. His mother Zelda's life long love of music, which included a brief stint with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, encouraged his pursuit of a performing career so strongly that by age fourteen he was playing regularly in local clubs all over the New York area and spending his summers playing at Catskill Mountain Resort hotels.
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At age eighteen, Henry was a founding member of the world famous Rock & Roll revival group, SHA NA NA, wearing on-stage the "Greaser" clothes he wore in high school "because he thought they looked good". The groups' popularity took a giant step after legendary performances in the Fillmore Auditoriums, East and West and at the Woodstock Festival. With the groups' appearance in the movie "WOODSTOCK" their popularity became a worldwide phenomenon.
Henry left the band in 1970 to pursue a career as a singer songwriter signing his first solo deal with ABC DUNHILL RECORDS in 1971. The albums lack of commercial success did not discourage him and in 1973, after performing at colleges and clubs all over the country, he was signed to a production deal by Cashman and West, legendary producers of Jim Croce, who almost immediately placed Henry on A&M RECORDS.
His first A&M album, "HENRY GROSS" sold very well and had several large regional hits including "Simone", "Come On Say It", "Skin King" and a near gold cover of Lindisfarne's European hit "Meet Me On The Corner".
Henry's second A&M album "Plug Me Into Something", sold just short of gold and garnered him a huge following as an exciting performer and he began to achieve national recognition in publications like Rolling Stone Magazine and The New York Times as a great Rock & Roll guitarist.
For his next album he was moved to Cashman & West's new label, Lifesong Records. His first single release on the label, Shannon, a song written about the passing of Beach Boy Carl Wilson's Irish Setter of the same name went gold and became a worldwide hit. Sales of the album called "Release" were big and the second single, "Springtime Mama", sold just short of gold.
On his next album, "Show Me to the Stage", Henry mixed Rock & Roll songs with Phil Spector and Brian Wilson influenced production. While the album had strong sales it produced no "hit" singles.
Henry's recording career continued with albums on CBS Records with " Love is the Stuff" and on Capitol Records in 1981 with The Bobby Colomby produced LP, "What's in a Name". Henry feels his best work of that period, an unreleased record wallowing in Capitol's vaults, produced by Anthony Battaglia (studio guitarist and re-mixer of the latest N' SYNC single) and Ed Machal (engineer of all the Eagles records) will someday see the light of day.
In the Eighties Henry performed in the road company production of "Pump Boys and Dinettes," with a cast featuring Jonathan Edwards, and the late Nicolette Larson. Henry moved to NASHVILLE in 1986 and signed a publishing deal with Pic A Lic Music, a company owned by legendary songwriter Roger Cook and the multi talented Ralph Murphy. A record deal in Europe soon followed through Murphy's efforts and two albums, "I Keep on Rocking", and "She's My Baby", were released by Sonet Records all over Europe and Japan.
Henry continues his song writing and recording career in Nashville. In 1993 he released a CD of twenty-two songs, called Nothing But Dreams, on his independent label, ZELDA RECORDS, about which his motto is, "Not only am I the president, I'm a client as well.".
Henry has a new CD in the works and is constantly writing with a marvelous cast of world-renowned songwriters. In 1995 he and longtime friend Henry Paul, of Blackhawk and Outlaws fame, co- wrote Blackhawk's top fifteen country hit, Big Guitar. With songs recorded by artists as diverse as Judy Collins, Mary Travers, Cindy Lauper, Sonny Burgess, Ronnie Milsap and All The Kings Men, Henry, his wife Marilyn, a Realtor, and their four dogs and four cats live happily in lovely and creative Nashville Tennessee, pursuing their dreams.
The Story of "Shannon" When I was twenty-one years old a wonderful girl came into my life by the name of Kathy Reinmann. As if having her in my life as a friend, a wife and a friend again for the next twenty three years, until she died of lung cancer five years ago this coming August, was not enough, she brought along with her into my heart her two year old Irish Setter, Shannon. She was an uncannily human dog whose ability to manipulate her human counterparts cannot be understated. I was touring around the country quite a lot in 1975 promoting an album called HENRY GROSS, the one with the yellow cover on A&M Records. I had the pleasure of doing long strings of dates with a group whose music always inspired me, The Beach Boys. Carl Wilson, arguably the finest solo voice in the group, was warm and welcoming from the very first show I played with them on a freezing cold day at the University of New Hampshire. After getting to know each other we realized we shared a love for much of the same music and a passion for fine vintage guitars. On a break from touring, while I was in Los Angeles, Carl invited me to his house to spend a day talking guitars, cars and rock & roll. While he was preparing lunch his two Alaskan husky dogs reached up on the counter and inhaled our food. I told Carl, while admiring the military perfection of the raid executed by his huskies, that I had an Irish Setter at home named Shannon. He was quite moved as he told me that he had an Irish Setter named Shannon that had been killed only recently when hit by a car. We spent the rest of the day jamming and driving around Carl's world which as a friend and to be honest a Beach Boy's fanatic was a thrill.
When I returned to New York City, where I lived, I began work on my second A&M album, PLUG ME INTO SOMETHING. A few weeks later just as we were about to master the finished album I was sitting on my bed with Shannon strumming my guitar trying to write a song when I was disturbed by the loud bass sounds from the Latin music blasting from the apartment above me. Rather than complain I made an amazing discovery. If I tried to play records of my own choice I could drown out the intrusive bass sounds but was unable to concentrate. But I found that when I played an environments record called "The Ultimate Seashore" I could drown out the bass and have a pleasing and relaxing background sound that didn't interfere with my writing. In a matter of minutes with the ocean sounds guiding me, and my 1964 Gibson Hummingbird acoustic in my hands, my thoughts drifted to Carl, The Beach Boys and with a glance at my girl Shannon, the indescribable sadness that losing such a beloved partner in life must be. The song seemed to write itself taking no more than ten minutes and with almost no cross outs on the paper. I made a tape of it on my giant Sony cassette recorder and sent it off to Carl. I was hoping to stop the presses and record it for PLUG ME INTO SOMETHING which Carl had already sung on, adding background vocals to the opening song, ONE MORE TOMORROW, but it was too late. I had to wait for the next album to record it. I always wished I could have had Carl sing backgrounds on SHANNON but conflicting schedules dictated it wasn't meant to be. I believed after it was recorded for my RELEASE album, that it was destined to be a hit and lobbied hard for it to be the first single. You see, the man upstairs who had played the loud Latin music, beginning the entire chain of events, came down when he heard me playing mixes over and over to decide which I liked. However, rather than hearing the expected complaints, he said he loved the sound of the record and wanted to know where he could buy a copy. I reasoned if a salsa music fan who spoke little English loved the record through the ceiling, Shannon, Kathy and I had a hit on our hands. Fortunately, history and lady luck proved me right. And that is the true story of the song SHANNON.
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