Coronavirus inspires La Jollan and Sha Na Na original Jocko Marcellino to sing about face masks

Jocko Marcellino of Sha Na Na wears a face mask that inspired his latest song.
Wearing a face mask inspired La Jolla musician Jocko Marcellino of the longtime rock ‘n’ roll group Sha Na Na to write a song urging everyone to mask up.

Jocko Marcellino, an original member of Sha Na Na, has taken mask-wearing seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the veteran of the “Sha Na Na” TV series and movie “Grease” has written a song about it.

The doo-wop revival band burst into public consciousness on the Woodstock stage in 1969 singing, among other hits, the Silhouettes’ “Get a Job” (from which the band took its name). Now, Marcellino, who has stayed with the group ever since, is giving a new musical directive: “Wear a Mask.”

He and his current Sha Na Na partners are on hiatus, having canceled summer bookings due to the coronavirus pandemic. So the longtime La Jollan, along with Vista singer-songwriter David Rees, put their heads together (while social distancing) and came up with a playful video illustrating their new tune.

It is released on YouTube and streaming websites and pictures famous paintings and photos with iconic figures first not wearing, then wearing, masks of different prints, styles and colors.

Picture a face mask on the Mona Lisa, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, “The Scream” figure, “Dogs Playing Poker,” Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Albert Einstein, Abe Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty, “Whistler’s Mother,” the faces on Mount Rushmore, the Beatles, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix and more.

Even Batman and Robin. “They inspired me because they already have on masks. And now there’s one covering the bottom of their faces,” Marcellino, who owns six masks himself, said with a chuckle.

This collage of iconic figures wearing face masks was created by David Rees and Sha Na Na's Jocko Marcellino.
This collage of legendary figures wearing face masks was created by David Rees (top row, third from left wearing a red mask) and Sha Na Na’s Jocko Marcellino (second row down, fifth from left in a gray mask).

There was nothing funny, though, about the inspiration for the song. He originally wrote it for his rock ‘n’ roll kids’ collection as a way to make wearing a mask less frightening.

“We all should be wearing our masks when we leave our houses,” he said. “It’s scary for us [adults], and I can’t imagine young people trying to deal with this.”

His lyrics urge:

“Hey everybody, I give you this task. Get all your friends to wear a mask.
“You’re goin’ out? Cover your face. It’s the right thing to do. I rest my case. ...
Ain’t too expensive if you’re short on cash. A bandanna makes a real cool mask.
“Wear a mask, wear a mask ... oh, oh oh. Wear a mask when you’re on the go.”

To underscore the point, Marcellino and Rees appear among the collage of legendary figures — wearing masks, of course. ◆