How many times do we hear a song on the radio, but we have no idea what the song is about? I think it happens a lot, like in the case of this classic rock song that was actually written about a dog.

Henry Gross has a handful of hits in the 70s, including the top 10 smash hit "Shannon" in 1976, which has been etched in the memories of most of us who were growing up in the 70s and 80s.

For 40 years I've loved this song, and for 40 years I thought it was some sort of sad love song with some mysterious meaning. Now, after all these years I discover that "Shannon" is actually a dog. No,not some ugly woman, but a real, actual dog.

There are various versions of this story, but this one comes straight from the songwriter himself. On his website, Henry Gross tells the story of "Shannon."

Henry had an Irish Setter named Shannon, but the song is not about his dog. Ironically, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys also had an Irish Setter named Shannon.

Henry had played some dates with the Beach Boys and one day was at Carl's house when he learned that Carl, ironically, had also owned an Irish Setter named Shannon that had recently been hit by a car and killed. Henry was so moved by the story he wrote the song "Shannon" and it became a huge hit.

I was so excited about learning this, I went over to his website - and listened to a bunch of other Henry Gross music, and I was blown away. It was just so good, I had to drop Henry a note and let him know how glad I was to know the story of Shannon - after all these years - and that all of his music was awesome. I was surprised when he ( I think it was him) wrote me back.

Thanks for making my day Zane. I hope you’ll check out my new music at  That’s what keeps the motor running! Cheers, Henry

I wonder how many others besides me have been listening to "Shannon" not realizing it is about a dog. If like me,  you have ever lost a dog in  your life that was near and dear to your heart, I dedicate this song to  you.


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