Monday, July 20, 2009

So Now Sweet Sixteen Turns Sixty-three

Okay, random thought......

Bob's Seger's song "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" has the line "so now sweet sixteen turns thirty-one." I use that as a mnemonic to remember that the code for the coffee I like at the local grocery store is code 31 on the u-scan lanes.

If sweet 16 was 31 when the song was released (1977) that makes a birth year of 1946 (can you say baby Boomer?) and a sweet 16 year of 1962. So what rock and roll songs would have been popular at that time?

In the top 25 of 1962, 4 of them have some variety of the word "twist" in the title. (btw, way to milk it, Chubby Checker.) Most of the songs wouldn't qualify as rock and roll by any historical standard. Here I copy the list from musicoutfitters.com:

1. Roses Are Red (My Love), Bobby Vinton
2. I Can't Stop Loving You, Ray Charles
3. Let's Twist Again, Chubby Checker
4. Stranger On The Shore, Mr. Acker Bilk
5. The Stripper, David Rose
6. Johnny Angel , Shelley Fabares
7. The Loco-Motion, Little Eva
8. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Neil Sedaka
9. Mashed Potato Time, Dee Dee Sharp
10. Soldier Boy, Shirelles
11. Hey! Baby, Bruce Channel
12. The Wanderer, Dion
13. Duke Of Earl, Gene Chandler
14. Good Luck Charm, Elvis Presley
15. Let Me In, Sensations
16. Wolverton Mountain, Claude King
17. Slow Twistin', Chubby Checker
18. It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin', Johnny Tillotson
19. The One Who Really Loves You, Mary Wells
20. Palisades Park, Freddy Cannon
21. Midnight In Moscow, Kenny Ball
22. Sheila, Tommy Roe
23. Twistin' the Night Away, Sam Cooke
24. The Wah Watusi, Orlons
25. Peppermint Twist, Joey Dee and The Starlighters

If 1962 was a bland year for popular rock and roll, 1977 was lousy with disco in contrast. Bob Seger leaves us with a universal truth: if you have to pick between catchy lyrics and sociohistoric accuracy, go for the song lyrics.

EDIT: What, nobody's going to call me out about calling 1962 bland? There are 12 songs out of the 25 that don't include the word "twist" that I immediately identify as classic rock and roll songs of the era.

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