It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of dear friend and musical colleague, John Cossette. John worked as a member of the road crew for Sha Na Na during the 1970’s and traveled with the band on tour across America, Europe and Asia. He went to work with his father, the legendary Pierre Cossette and long-time producer of the Grammys and the Sha Na Na television show, and learned television and live music production. John served as Executive Producer of the Grammy Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards, and Black Entertainment Television Awards for the last 20 years and recently produced the Broadway show, “Million Dollar Quartet.” Dr. Powell attended the London premiere of the play in late February at the Noel Coward Theatre to celebrate John’s achievement. John was the producer of benefits for NARAS and MusiCares, the charity arm of the Grammys. The Pierre Cossette Center at Stetson Powell Orthopedics is named for his father. John is survived by his wife, Rita, and his daughters, Maria and Rose.
A memorial service and celebration of life for John Cossette took place on Saturday, May 7, 2011 on the floor of Staples Center. Speakers included Walter Miller, legendary director of the best of live television for over 50 years and the 30 year director of the Grammys, Neil Portnow, head of NARAS and the Grammy telecast, and Bob Whitney, a longtime friend of John’s from their days on the road with Sha Na Na. Celebration of John’s life in music was provided by the cast of Million Dollar Quartet who sang Johnny B. Goode in his honor. Also in attendance were four members of Sha Na Na, Jocko Marcellino, Scott Simon, Jon “Bowser” Bauman and Dr. Powell, and their former manager, Ron Weisner.