of the Greatest Hits
Shurilla and The Greatest Hits debuted August 18, 1989 in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark Shurilla had been performing his tribute
to the music of Buddy Holly for several years at that time. That
show was backed up the The Cadillac Kids, a successful
local band that was quite busy. Needing a band of his own to play
shows of his own, Mark asked his longtime sideman Dan Mullen to
help put a band together for a Buddy Holly-Winter Dance Party
Tribute show. Mullen recruited Bassist Tim Taylor and drummer
Rob McCuen and The Greatest Hits were born!
side note: in the crowd at that first show was Mike Sardina. After
watching the band play a short set of Neil Diamond songs, he was
inspired to start his own legendary tribute to Neil Diamond with
his wife Claire: Lightning and Thunder.)
Shurilla and The Greatest Hits (c.1992)
Tim Taylor, Rob McCuen, Mark Shurilla, Dan Mullen
photo: Francis Ford
the first three years, Mark Shurilla and The Greatest Hits
played small clubs and outdoor festivals like Milwaukee's Summerfest
and Bastille Days. But Mark was ambitious and decided to try renting
the halls that Buddy Holly's Winter Dance Party actually performed
back in 1959, first at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay in
1992 and 1994, the Milwaukee's Eagles Club and Kenosha's Marina
Shores. The response to these shows was amazing! Fans would bring
their photographs and other memorabilia from the original Winter
Dance Party in 1959 to show Mark. He in turn would tell the media
of these fans and bring their stories and photographs to the rest
of the world. Not just performing the music of the Winter Dance
Party but helping write the history of this legendary tour.
As time went on Saxophonist Mike Dober was added
to the show and in 2000, Victor DeLorenzo, former Violent
Femmes drummer, joined with the Greatest Hits to perform
a song that he wrote to a page Buddy Holly lyrics he bought at
an auction along with other songs he wrote inspired by Buddy Holly.
The song was called In Dutch.
After the 2000 shows with Victor, Tim Taylor
and Rob McCuen eventually retired from the band, and bassist Bob
Jorin and Cadillac Kids drummer Terry Garguilo became
the new Rhythm Section for the band.
2006 Keyboardist/Saxophonist/Singer Brian Kurzinski
joined the band expanding its repertoire. Later that year, the
Greatest Hits brought the legendary Esquires onstage
at Milwaukee's Summerfest to perform their top ten hit Get
On Up for the final time! Their performance was filmed by
Greg Kohs who was making a documentary about our friends Lightning
and Thunder for his award winning film Song
Sung Blue. Sadly a month later Lightning was gone.
2008 guest stars Liam Ford, John Van Thiel,
Marlavous Marla, and Valor Yost “The Kid in Black”
joined the band along with past members Danny J and Jayne Taylor,
creating an All-Star tribute show.