The Most Cliched Rock Song of All-time

(This post originally was written May 10, 2007. I thought it was a good example of what I’m looking to do at Rock…Paper…Blog. I have cut and pasted the comments section as I thought it had a lot great stuff.

It’s confession time. As someone who reviews a lot of music here, I should mention that lyrics often take a backseat to the rest of the components of the song I’m listening to. Like most, I live a busy life and it takes a lot of extra work to absorb a Dylan-like piece of poetry. Most of the time what I want most from music is the mysterious thing that happens when a voice melds itself to instrument

Just to demonstrate how much I’m in it for the hook, there are times when Arena Rock is my choice. If you are unaware of what Arena Rock is, it is a type of music that ruled album-oriented radio (AOR) stations during the 70’s and 80’s. Bands like Journey, Boston, Foreigner, Styx, REO, etc. were the kings of Arena Rock, filling music venues across the country.

Growing up in Iowa during this time period, this genre was by far the dominant sound coming from my radio. While I have a love/hate relationship with Arena Rock, it still has the power to bring me back to my youth. Arena Rock is comfort food on the level of macaroni and cheese for someone in my age bracket. Sure you know it has no nutritional value, but sometimes it’s hard to not want to consume it.

After going through the litany of arena rock supergroup hit songs, I have come up with what I consider the quintessential most cliched rock lyric of all-time.

High On You by Survivor

There you stood, that’ll teach ya
To look so good and feel so right
Let me tell you about the girl I met last night

It’s understood, I had to reach her
I let the wheel of fortune spin
I touched your hand before the crowd
Started rushin’ in
Now I’m higher than a kite
I know I’m gettin’ hooked on your love
Talkin’ to myself, runnin’ in the heat
Beggin’ for your touch in the middle
Of my sleep and I —

I can’t stop thinking ’bout you, girl
I must be living in a fantasy world
I’m so high on you

Smart and coy, a little crazy
The kinda face that starts a fight
Let me tell you ’bout the girl I had last night
Piercing eyes, like a raven
You seemed to share my secret sin
We were high before the night
Started kickin’ in
Now I’m screamin’ in the night
I know I’m gettin’ hooked on your love
Talkin’ to myself, runnin’ in the heat
Beggin’ for your touch in the middle
Of my sleep and I —

Chorus – I can’t stop thinking ’bout you, girl
I must be living in a fantasy world
I’ve searched the whole world over
To find a heart so true
Such complete intoxication
I’m high on you

There you stood, that’ll teach ya
To look so good and feel so right
Let me tell you about the girl I met last night
Now I’m higher than a kite
I know I’m gettin’ hooked on your love
Talkin’ to myself, runnin’ in the heat
Beggin’ for your touch in the middle
Of my sleep and I —

Chorus – I can’t stop thinking ’bout you, girl
I must be living in a fantasy world
I’ve searched the whole world over
To find a heart so true
Such complete intoxication
I’m high on you
I’m high on you
I’m high on you

Let’s break the song down in 3 parts. First let me begin with the subject matter. In the classic form of arena rock the author discusses how pussy-whipped he is for some chick he met. Totally embarassing, as the lyrics are on the level of a junior high confessional. I’m sure it got him laid time after time by stupid women who always ate this shit up, though.

Next, we will tackle the music. Standard form from the arena rockstar, with guitars that are played like they are singing, while being enhanced by synthesizer fills. The singer for Survivor at this point was a guy named Jimi Jamison, who had replaced original singer, Dave Bickler, who was more of a rocker. Jamison had the high-pitched girly man voice that was vital to any successful arena rock band.

Finally let’s get to the lyrics. The beginning is really confusing, as I can’t really figure out when he is talking about the girl he has the hard-on for…when he is talking about some other chick who is hot, but isn’t her…and when…well, as I said I’m confused. Anyway, what makes this such a classic cliched rock song is on the 8th verse.

Now I’m higher than a kite
I know I’m gettin’ hooked on your love
Talkin’ to myself, runnin’ in the heat
Beggin’ for your touch in the middle
Of my sleep and I —

I can’t stop thinking ’bout you, girl
I must be living in a fantasy world
I’m so high on you

Here begins the rock cliche-fest. Higher than a kite…getting hooked on your love…talkin’ to myself….runnin’ in the heat. Then comes the chorus of how he is living in a fantasy world because he is so high on you.

Oh and don’t think that this is the only cliched song the band wrote. I recommend checking out their other big hits and slather yourself in one cliche after another that made Survivor such a bad band. The lyrics to I Can’t Hold Back are just as dismal. Outside of the horrible ballads Heart was doing at the time, there might not have been a more consistent plague on the charts than Survivor during the mid-80’s.

Let me mention that Survivor’s juvenile lyrics and generic sound made them a real target to me when Jamison was the singer, but during their prior years with Bickler, I think they had 4 or 5 good singles. I defy anyone not to feel the energy that Eye of the Tiger brings to your system, as Starbucks understood when they used it as the theme of their great commercial they created a few years back.

For a few years now, I have been contemplating covering the topic of what is the most cliched rock song of all-time. While all genres of music have their basic formula for success, no type had more cliched lyrics as Arena rock. Basically there were 2 topics in a classic arena rock song.

  1. Attempting or succeeding in getting in a woman’s pants. (see above)
  2. The glorification of rocking out.

This second category is where I still feel the tug of this music. Sure this tug on its merits might be no better than the tug you would get from a lot lizard on the backlot of a truck stop giving manual release to feed her meth habit (also known as cranking for crank), but sometimes you can close your eyes and just concentrate on the feeling it provides and forget the hand that brought you the pleasure. (This last sentence was approved by David Foster Wallace’s editor.)

While rappers have always been able to seem cool discussing how they rock the mic, white musicians seem really corny discussing how hard they rock. Well, this is where my inner 14 year-old still inhabits me, because as silly as I realize it is to offer up a lyric like the following, I still kind of dig it on another level.

I Like to Rock by April Wine

Well alright, somethin’s got you goin’ tonight
Doin’ all she can, it’s alright
Come on can’t you see
That when we all let go
We get high on rock ‘n’ roll

Journey to the stars, rock ‘n’ roll guitars, yeah
I like to rock, some like it hot, baby
I like it, you like it
I like to rock, I like to rock

I can sing, that’s the kind of life for me
Want it loose and fancy free
Come on then let’s go
And it’ll be alright
We can rock ‘n’ roll all night

Journey to the stars, rock ‘n’ roll guitars, yeah
I like to rock, some like it hot, baby
I like it, you like it
I like to rock, I like to rock

Ooh, I like to rock
Some like it hot, baby
I like it, you like it
I like to rock, I like to rock

I mean how ridiculous are these lyrics? Journey to the stars, rock ‘n’ roll guitars, yeah…I like to rock, some like it hot, baby…I like it, you like it….I like to rock, I like to rock!
And somehow, with a driving beat and some bad-ass guitar solos, it works for me. Tenacious D has embraced this element of rock, by both giving tribute and satirizing it at the same time.

Way before even Chuck Berry recorded Rock and Roll Music, the term rock and roll was being used by blues and country artists. My guess is what really set about the whole song about the rock lifestyle was the Grand Funk Railroad classic, We’re an American Band.

Grand Funk Railroad had been out on the road for 40 days, when last night in Little Rock put (them) in a haze. Sweet, sweet Connie (was) doin’ her act and we all know that she had the whole show and that’s a natural fact. You see, booze and ladies keep (them) right, as long as (they) can make it to the show tonite. Later that night they met some ladies who had some plans. They was out to meet the boys in the bands. They said “come on dudes, let’s get it on.” And guess what, (they) proceeded to burn that hotel down. Why? Because (they are) an American Band. (They) come into your town, they’ll help you party it down. Because (they are) an American band.

Any red-blooded American boy who heard that had to think, “this is what my life’s calling must be.” Below are more arena rock songs from the 1970-1985 era that are all about rocking. Enjoy.

There’s Only One Way to RockSammy Hagar

Now quickly, check the hands on the clock
It’s 8:05, it’s time to rock
And this world can disagree
They don’t understand how it can be
And it’s not my point of view
It’s a fact, and you know that it’s true
Crank up the drums, crank out the bass
Crank out the Les Paul in your face

But there’s only one way
There’s Only Way to Rock

Sammy Hagar might be the leader in the clubhouse on writing songs about rocking out. The one above is one of the best. I mean come on people, check the hands on the clock, it’s 8:05, it’s time to rock. Hey it’s not my point of view, it’s a fact, and you know that it’s true.

We Will Rock YouQueen: When you go over the brief lyrics to this song you realize that Freddie Mercury didn’t spend much time writing this one. Of course, this gave him more time to do the important things in life, like shopping for one-piece leotards and giving free mustache rides to any Tom, Dick or Sally.

Rock and Roll FantasyBad Company

Here come the jesters, 1 2 3,
It’s all part of my fantasy,
I love the music,
And I love to see the crowd,
Dancing in the aisles
And singin’ out loud, yeah
Here come the dancers, one by one,
Your momma’s callin’ but you’re having fun,
You find your dancin’ on the number 9 cloud,
Put your hands together now, and sing it out loud.

It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy
It’s all part of my rock and roll dream

Much like Sammy Hagar, Bad Company lead singer Paul Rodgers can really sing his ass off, though the lyrics he offers up are often really silly. What the hell does here come the jesters, 1,2,3 mean? Oh yeah, it’s just a part of Paul’s rock and roll fantasy, you know, his rock and roll dream.

Rock and Roll Hootchie KoosRick Derringer

Rock and roll hoochie koo
(Rock and roll hoochie koo)
Lawdy mama, light my fuse
(Light my fuse)
Rock and roll hoochie koo
(Rock and roll hoochie koo)
Truck on out and spread the news

Written with Johnny Winter, this song has managed to keep Derringer on the oldies revues playing every county fair in the midwest. Now please join me, as I truck on out and spread the news.

Rock and Roll Band- Boston: I’m not a big fan of the group, but I have to say the lyrics to this song describe the band’s rise to fame beautifully. Well-written arena rock song.

(You Can Still) Rock in America- Night Ranger

Little brother’s got it ready to roll
Tires burning as they head for the show
Light it up and turn the music up loud
And Rock it rock it rock it

You can still rock in America

Now here is a classic in the arena rock genre. For more on my personal experience with the band, let me lead you to this particular brush with greatness. Ladies and Gentlemen, you too CAN STILL ROCK IN AMERICA.

Rock You Like a HurricaneScorpions

It’s early morning
The sun comes out
Last night was shaking
And pretty loud
My cat is purring
And scratches my skin
So what is wrong
With another sin
The bitch is hungry
She needs to tell
So give her inches
And feed her well
More days to come
New places to go
I’ve got to leave
It’s time for a show

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

The Scorpions were more of a heavy-metal band, but on this album they became more melodic to sell records to girls. It worked. The Scorpions always seemed like the German version of Spinal Tap, as they were completely over the top. Despite their ridiculous clothing, hair, lyrical content, album covers, and strange behavior, I still think the band rocks…dare I say it…Like a Hurricane, baby.

You Can’t Kill Rock and RollOzzy Osbourne

Leave me alone
Don’t want your promises no more
‘Cause rock’n’roll is my religion and my law
Won’t ever change,
May think it’s strange
You can’t kill rock’n’roll
It’s here to stay.

Spending one day in the paranoid mind of early 80’s Blizzard of Oz would have been even more fun than being transported through a portal to John Malkovich’s consciousness. Yes Ozzy, rock’n’roll is your religion and law…it’s can’t be killed…it is here to stay. Don’t worry.

Rock of AgesDef Leppard

Rise up! gather round
Rock this place to the ground
Burn it up let’s go for broke
Watch the night go up in smoke
Rock on! Rock on!
Drive me crazier, no serenade
No fire brigade, just-a pyromania
C’mon
What do you want?
What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll
Yes I do
Long live rock’n’roll

Another heavy metal band that crossed over into a more classic rock sound to great success. While according to all the sources I’ve checked out the opening phrase Gunter Glieben Glauchen, Globen is jibberish, I would like to start the rumor that it is a German law firm which also has a rough play dungeon located in the basement of its building. Bring out the Gimp!

Rock Me ToniteBilly Squier: If you forgot, Squier was a huge star for about 3 years. He came out of nowhere with the In the Dark record and then had a big hit with his follow-up. He was such a big deal that he was headlining big rooms. What I remember about this was when his big break happened, the opening act for Squier’s show was Def Leppard. Well, early on during this tour Pyromania explodes and all of a sudden people were showing up to see the opening act and then leaving before Mr. Stroke hit the stage. Some friends of mine went to the show and said that Squier seemed really pissed off about the place being half-empty by the time he came on. I remember saying “I guess not Everybody Wants You, Billy.” Hey, it worked then, and dammit, I’m not above using it again. Maybe I should recycle those Reagan jokes for my stand-up?

Kids Wanna RockBryan Adams

Turned on the radio
Sounded like a disco
Musta turned the dial for a couple of miles
But I couldn’t find no rock ‘n roll

This computerized crap ain’t gettin’ me off
Everywhere I go the kids wanna rock
London to L.A.
Talkin’ ’bout the New Wave
For a couple of bucks you get a weird haircut
And waste your life away

Around the world or around the block
Everywhere I go the kids wanna rock
Get me my D.J.
I got somethin’ he’s gotta play
Wanna hear it I can’t wait
So turn it up, turn it up…

Kick down the barricades
Listen what the kids say
From time to time people change their minds
But the music is here to stay

I’ve seen it all from the bottom to the top
Everywhere I go the kids wanna rock

I can remember back in 1984 Des Moines, I was working a summer security job which played the big radio station in the market over the speakers. During each hour, it seemed like you were guaranteed to hear Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, and Bryan Adams. It was enough to bring on dementia during an 8-hour shift. This was not one of Adams bigger hits, but it is probably the most clever lyrics of his career, even though he was slagging a lot of music that was superior to his own.

It’s the Heart of Rock and Roll- Huey Lewis and the News

When they play their music
That hard rock music
They like it with a lot of flash
But it’s still that same old back beat rhythm
That really kicks ’em in the

They say the heart of rock and roll is still beating
And from what I’ve seen I believe ’em
Now the old boy may be barely breathing
But the heart of rock and roll is still beating

While I have mixed feelings about the book American Psycho, I loved the idea of self-absorbed serial killer (Patirick Bateman) discussing his love for Huey Lewis. If you are unaware of the movie version, here is the dialogue specific to Huey.

Patrick Bateman: Do you like Huey Lewis and the news?
Paul Allen: They’re OK.
Patrick Bateman: Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83,I think they really came into their own, commercial and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consimante professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far much more bitter, cynical sense of humour.
Paul Allen: Hey Halberstram.
Patrick Bateman: Yes, Allen?
Paul Allen: Why are their copies of the style section all over the place, d-do you have a dog? A little chow or something?
Patrick Bateman: No, Allen.
Paul Allen: Is that a rain coat?
Patrick Bateman: Yes it is! In ’87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.
[raises axe above head]
Patrick Bateman: Hey Paul!
[he bashes Allen in the head with the axe, and blood splatters over him]
Patrick Bateman: TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AT DORSIA NOW YOU FUCKING STUPID BASTARD! YOU, FUCKING BASTARD!

And the Cradle Will Rock- Van Halen

Well, they say it’s kinda frightnin’
How this younger generation swings
You know it’s more than just some new sensation
Well, the kid is into losin’ sleep
And he don’t come home for half the week
You know it’s more than just an aggravation

And the cradle will rock
Yes the cradle, cradle will rock
And I say rock on. Uh! Rock on

One of Van Halen’s best songs. This was before Diamond Dave had begun to phone it in. An important queston arises in the middle of this tune. Have you seen Junior’s Grades? Ow!

Love is Like a RockDonnie Iris

You can’t depend on your teacher;
You can’t depend on your preacher;
You can’t depend on politicians;
And you can’t depend on superstitions.
Hey!
Love can rock you!
Never stop you!
Aah, aah, aah, ah…
Love is like a rock!

Not really a song about rocking, but it has rock in the title, so I’m including it. Iris was one of the most underrated arena rockers, but his Buddy Holly look and more eclectic sound made him a hard sell. I would have to say Iris was right-on about not depending on teachers. preachers. politicians, and superstitions. Vote Donnie Iris for Mayor of Pittsburgh.

It’s Only Rock and RollRolling Stones

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain’t he strange?

If I could win ya, if I could sing ya
A love song so divine
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried? If I cried?

I said I know it’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it
I know it’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do
Oh, well, I like it, I like it, I like it
I said can’t you see that this old boy has been a lonely?

The Stones were way too good to be considered an arena rock band, even though they were played on the same classic rock stations. These lyrics are beautifully dark. Below is the second portion of the song.

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust
Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?

If I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would ya think the boy’s insane? He’s insane

I said I know it’s only rock ‘n roll but I like it

Rock and RollLed Zeppelin

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled,
It’s been a long time since I did the Stroll.
Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back,
Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.
It’s been a long time, been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Yes it has.

Like the Stones, Zeppelin is way too accomplished to be put in the arena rock format. Take a look at your typical Dylan songsheet and then look at this one. Not much brain power by Page/Plant on these words, but it still sounds better than almost anything in the Dylan songbook.

Free-For-AllTed Nugent

See you there with your cheshire grin
I got my eyes on you
Shake yout tail feather in my face and there’s no tell in what I’ll do
Well looky here, you sweet young thing: the magic’s in my hands
When in doubt, I’ll whip it out. I got me in a rock’n’roll band

It’s a free for all

Now this is more like the stupid fun I want from an arena rock lyric. Uncle Ted has a 100 songs like this one, but when in doubt, I’ll whip it out…I got me in a rock’n’roll band is one of the motor city madman’s best.

Jukebox Hero- Foreigner

Standing in the rain, with his head hung low
Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show
Heard the roar of the crowd, he could picture the scene
Put his ear to the wall, then like a distant scream
He heard one guitar, just blew him away
He saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day

Bought a beat up six string, in a secondhand store
Didn’t know how to play it, but he knew for sure
That one guitar, felt good in his hands, didn’t take long, to understand
Just one guitar, slung way down low
Was a one way ticket, only one way to go
So he started rockin’, ain’t never gonna stop
Gotta keep on rockin’, someday gonna make it to the top

And be a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes, he’s a juke box hero
He took one guitar, juke box hero, stars in his eyes
Juke box hero, (stars in his eyes) He’ll come alive tonight

In a town without a name, in a heavy downpour
Thought he passed his own shadow, by the backstage door
Like a trip through the past, to that day in the rain
And that one guitar, made his whole life change
Now he needs to keep on rockin’, he just can’t stop
Gotta keep on rockin’, that boy has got to stay on top

And be a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes
He’s a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes
Yeah, juke box hero, stars in his eyes
With that one guitar, (stars in his eyes)
He’ll come alive, come alive tonight…Woah

We finally come to the last song I could think of with the rock theme. Jukebox Hero just might be the most perfect arena rock tune of all-time. It tells a detailed story of being a rock star, with the type of dramatic pompousity that just might be unmatched in the genre. Singer Lou Gramm sang a lot of shit songs, but his pipes are in the Paul Rodgers class.

*****************

Author’s note: I never planned on this piece ending up to be even a third as long as it turned out. For those of you that have made it this far.

I’m not interested in getting bitch slapped around for mistakes on this one in my comments section. It’s too large of an opus to expect me to get it all perfect. Considering the size, I didn’t want to farm it out to my proofreading volunteer, either.

One other note. I didn’t include I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band, because the subject matter or music style is not in the arena rock genre. Any other submissions that I might have missed that do fit the format, please offer up in the comments. Thanks.

Comments

2007-05-10 01:50:19
1. jeffpico
Cool post but you totally missed one of the biggies…Twisted Sister I wanna Rock!

2007-05-10 02:20:33
2. joejoejoe
I was roommates with a South Korean grad student in the 80s who would sing ‘Do-ya believe in Rock an’ Rollin’?’ for ‘Gunter Glieben Glauchen, Globen’. I used to tell him “It doesn’t say that! It’s just gibberish!” but he insisted on his version.OT: If you like Bad Company I recommend the movie ‘Scotland, PA’ which is a retelling of MacBeth in a ’70s fast food restaurant. The music of Bad Company is as much apart of the film as the rock music in Goodfellas. Starring Maura Tierney and Christopher Walken.

2007-05-10 02:49:49
3. David Arnott
Unimportant, but the Queen joke doesn’t work for me because I’m enough of a dork to know that Brian May wrote “We Will Rock You”. I woulda chosen “Tie Your Mother Down” as the greatest Queen balls-to-the-wall rocker song.Get your party gown and get your pigtail down
And get your heart beatin’ baby
Got my timin’ right I got my act all tight
It’s gotta be tonight, my little school baby
Momma says you gonna
And your daddy says you won’t
And I’m boilin’ up inside
Ain’t no way I’m gonna lose out this time

GOOGLE VIDEO OF QUEEN’S LIVE AID PERFORMANCE
No “Tie Your Mother Down”, but still, twenty minutes of goosebumps.
http://tinyurl.com/2b24ho

2007-05-10 08:24:13
4. Scott Long
Twisted Sister isn’t an arena rock band, but since I mentioned a couple of other non-genre acts, I should have wrote something on them.When you have We will rock you in the title, I have to go with that over a song that never mentions rocking. Queen is one of my fav bands of all-time and I love the song you mentioned, though. Thanks for understanding that I was going for the joke. I realize that Brian May was the author.

Will have to check out the movie mentioned.

2007-05-10 10:02:46
5. AbbyNormal821
I love these posts!!!Man, some of the songs you referenced…good times, good times!

During the early 80’s – I was what one would call a New Wave type chick. I listened to bands like Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, INXS, Duran Duran, Ramones, Blondie, Psych Furs, The Jam, Roxy Music, English Beat etc. Yet I was a closeted fan of that arena rock sound! Both those genres of music bring back some great memories.
The Def Leppard/Billy Squire reference made me laugh, as my sister, a Leppard fan since before anyone knew who they were, went to see them when they were JUST an opening band for Squire and she came home and said the same thing – that they blew Squire out of the water (she however, did stay for the whole show…what a trooper)
3 – that Queen song KICKS ASS!!!

We’ll always have the memories of these ‘songs de fromage’…just as long as the fashion trends from that era stay clear away! Beware the leg-warmers, neon t-shirts & black rubber bracelets!

😉

2007-05-10 10:08:34
6. Cliff Corcoran
“We’re An American Band” was hardly the first song about being in a band. There was the Byrds “So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star,” of course, but you even mention Chuck Berry, who wrote the definitive rocker bio song in “Johnny B. Goode” (which the lyrics for “Jukebox Hero” are a straight rip on, at least thematically).Of course, even before rock and roll it was common for performers to sing about being in a band. Heck, the first hit Irving Berlin wrote was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” the title of which surely inspired the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” which was a real band singing about being a fake band. That was 1911:

“Come on and hear (2x), alexander’s ragtime band,
Come on and hear (2x), it’s the best band in the land!
They can play a bugle call like you never heard before,
So natural that you want to go to war–
That’s just the bestest band what am, honey lamb!
Come on along (2x), let me take you by the hand
Up to the man (2x), who’s the leader of the band,
And if you want to hear the swanee river played in ragtime
Come on and hear (2x), alexander’s ragtime band!”

2007-05-10 10:45:19
7. Scott Long
Ah Cliff. I never seem to make my points clear enough for you. Ok, you are completely right about there being other songs about being in a band. Some good musical history here.My point was the one about rockin’ out and the debauchery that is We’re an American Band.

Take a look between the 2.

Come on and hear… come on and hear
Alexander’s ragtime band
Come on and hear… come on and hear
It’s the best band in the land
And if you want to hear that swanee river played in ragtime
Come on and hear… come on and hear
Alexander’s ragtime band

At no time did Louie Armstrong reference getting head from some skank groupie in Little Rock, nowhere does he discuss getting it on with some booze and ladies. Now that would have been a “wonderful world” indeed.

Not saying your wrong in your points, good stuff you’ve included, just that discussing different things. I doubt any of these arena rock bands listened to the words of sgt. peppers or alexander’s ragtime band and we’re influenced to write
The bitch is hungry
She needs to tell
So give her inches
And feed her well
More days to come
New places to go
I’ve got to leave
It’s time for a show

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

This was my point. This is all about juvenile fantasy. I really like the idea of johnny b goode being the forerunner, lyrically for jukebox hero. Completely see that one.

2007-05-10 11:06:57
8. AbbyNormal821
“At no time did Louie Armstrong reference getting head from some skank groupie in Little Rock, nowhere does he discuss getting it on with some booze and ladies. Now that would have been a “wonderful world” indeed. “Yes, but that’s a mental picture I did NOT need to be put into my skull! HAHA!!!

2007-05-10 11:33:46
9. Cliff Corcoran
8 I’d be willing to bet there’s an Armstrong song out there that mentions booze and ladies (perhaps using different terms–wine and women, whatever). I know there are some downright filthy Bessie Smith tunes out there.

2007-05-10 11:45:15
10. Scott Long
You are right, especially about bessie smith or big mama thornton.Where my point came from is I don’t believe klaus and the boys from germany were listening to old female blues singers for inspiration. Now led zeppelin, maybe. Most of these brain dead arena rock bands were listening to grand funk, instead.

Thanks for the musicology, though. Always fun to read views with someone with a firm grasp on music history.

2007-05-10 12:44:16
11. El Lay Dave
As long as you include a Stones and a Led Zep selection, I think you can’t pass on The Who and “Long Live Rock” – they certainly filled the arena with volume. Plus do they or do they not have the greatest shout of all time? YEAH!Despite being an L.A. lifer, I did have sort of an arena rock experience in Iowa, – if the barn in Des Moines called Veterans Auditorium passes as an arena – an ear-bleeding good time in the summer of ’79 with Cheap Trick headlining and AC/DC as the opener. (And don’t the boys from down under have a number of songs that qualify here? “For Those About to Rock, we Salute You”, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, etc. etc.)

Great column, thanks.

2007-05-10 12:46:34
12. rbj
I’ve got a couple of compilation albums of old blues tunes, one that is full of drug songs, one full of sex songs e.g., Dirty C_cks_ckers Ball (to the tune of Darktown Strutters Ball, wherein “Darktown” does not refer to an area of a city after nightfall).Funny thing about the sex one, the songs are much more explicit than anything you hear in rap today (at least in the admittedly small sample of lyrics I’ve seen) but the songs themselves have a much more playful banter between the women and men — there isn’t any imagery that speaks of a violent hatered of women.

Oh, and Journey sucks. Sorry, just a kneejerk reaction.

2007-05-10 13:02:51
13. Scott Long
I saw most of my concerts at veterans coliseum. Sadly, I missed the concert you spoke of, as I was a couple years too young to see it. Cheap trick is one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. If they are arena rock, I would rate them the best of the genre.Ac/dc is a metal band. The who is a great band , who was played on the same stations as many of the arena rock bands.

I guess I’m more category focused than just saying ‘it’s only rock and roll, but I like it.’

2007-05-10 13:51:24
14. Shaun P
I never knew the start to “Rock of Ages” was gibberish. I always thought it was Mutt Lange saying “Don’t just leave ’em rock’n’rollin'” in a gibberishy-kind of way.You have enriched my life and rocked my mind all at once, Scott.

2007-05-10 16:23:34
15. Scott Long
Here is the most obvious exclusion from my piece. Rock and Roll All Night by Kiss.Hard to put KISS in any particularly genre be it metal, glam, or arena rock, but the song fits the genre. I plan on adding it to my list, so when future generations run across this momentous post, they will not have this song left off.

2007-05-10 19:36:36
16. Cliff Corcoran
Note about the gibberish in “Rock of Ages”: That was a counting track Mutt Lange laid down as a guide for his multi-tracking wizardry. They were supposed to erase it from the final mix, but they liked the way it sounded and left it as an intro.

2007-05-10 20:12:40
17. Scott Long
I looked at a few places to get my info on the phrase. The strong consensus was that it was gibberish.Here is from the wikipedia entry on Pyromania.

The line “Gunter glieben glauchen globen” at the start of “Rock Of Ages” came about when Lange uttered the phrase after getting bored of saying “one, two, three, four” in the studio. The band thought it to be so amusing that it ended up on intro of the final recording. The phrase is not proper German and actually doesn’t mean anything.

2007-05-10 20:17:17
18. Scott Long
An added note. During Lange’s first time producing a Shania Twain’s album, he uttered a similar phrase to her before each track. Gunter glieben sit-on me-noggin. He claimed it was German for 1-2-3-4. This one, unfortunately was not released on a recording. I would rather hear German gibberish over Twain’s music any day of the week.

2007-05-10 20:29:52
19. chris in illinois
Now I don’t think my boys from Long Island have a shot at number one here, but Blue Oyster Cult’s Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll is great and stupid:”My heart is black, and my lips are cold
Cities on flame with rock and roll
Three thousand guitars they seem to cry
My ears will melt, and then my eyes

Oh, let the girl, let that girl, rock and roll
Cities on flame now, with rock and roll

Gardens of nocturne, forbidden delights
Reins of steel, and it’s alright
Cities on flame, with rock and roll
Marshal will buoy, but Fender control

Let the girl, let that girl rock and roll
Cities on flame now, with rock and roll

My heart is black, and my lips are cold
Cities on flame with rock and roll
Three thousand guitars they seem to cry
My ears will melt, and then my eyes

Let the girl, let that girl rock and roll
Cities on flame now, with rock and roll”

Or, of course, Godzilla:

“With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

Helpless people on a subway train
Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them

He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

Oh no, they say he’s got to go go go Godzilla
Oh no, there goes Tokyo go go Godzilla

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men”

It says something that my favorite 70’s band sings about “Gardens of nocturne” and Giant Lizards with equal aplomb, but I’m not sure what.

2007-05-10 21:03:18
20. jnewfry
They’re a little mellow, but “Rockin’ down the highway” by the Doobie Brothers is suitably lame I think. “Slow Ride” by Foghat… also pretty dopey. And how about .38 Special’s “Rockin’ into the night”?And while you mentioned the Nuge, I think this track’s much more cliche…
All right! It’s zee Wango, zee Tango
1-2-3-4
Come on boys
Time to Wango

My baby she like to rock
My baby she like to roll
My baby she can dance all night
My baby got no control
She do the Wango Tango

My baby she can scream and shout
My baby she can move it out
My baby she can take a chance
My baby got a brand new dance

Wango Tango
Wango Tango
It’s a Wango Tango
Ooooh yeah! (oooooh..)
Baby!

My baby like to rock
My baby like to roll
My baby like to dance all night
She got no control
She do…

Wango Tango
Wango Tango
Wango Tango
Ooooh yeah! (oooooh..)

Yeahhhhhhhhhh!
Baby! Baby! Baby! Ooooh I like the way you look baby
You look like you’re made for me honey
If you wanna take a little chance
I’m gonna show you a new dance
Baby I gotta Wango down one time with you honey
I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it
Well, it’s a brand new dance
Yeah been sweepin’ the nation
I said a brand new dance
A rock ‘n’ roll sensation
Yeah I like it baby, I do it every night
I got to do it ‘cos I like it so much
Oh honey believe it baby
You see it’s a crazed gyration of the rock generation
It’s my motivation to avoid the nauseation, frustration
When I need some lubrication – Baby!
Kinda like, goes kinda like this
You take her right ankle out
You take her left ankle out
You get her belly propped down
You get her butt propped up
Yeah lookin’ good now baby
I think you’re in the right position now baby
Yeah but if you ain’t quite ready I’ll make sure everything is a little bit nicer ‘cos
I’m gonna get a little talcum
I’m gonna borrow it from Malcolm
Yeah you look so good baby I’m startin to drool all over myself
I got the droolin’, droolin’, get all wet, salivate, salivate
I got slimy legs, slimy legs, slimy legs
Got slimy, slimy, slimy, slimy, heh heh heh
Yeah you look so good baby, I like it, I like it, I like it
You know what I been talkin’ about honey
It’s a nice dance, we gotta a nice dance goin’ here
Now what you gotta do, I’ll tell you what you gotta do
You got to pretend your face is a Maserati
It’s a Maserati
It’s a Maserati
It’s a gettin’ hotty
It’s a Maserati, Maserati, Maserati
It’s a fast one too man, that thing’s turbocharged
You feel like a little fuel injection honey?
I’ll tell ya about it, I’ll tell you about it
I’ll check out the hood scoop
I gotta get that hood scoop off, shine and shine and buff
I gotta buff it up, buff it up, buff it up, buff it up, buff it up,
Yeah, shiny now baby, heh heh heh
You’ve been drivin’ all night long
It’s time to put the old Maserati away
So you look for a garage, you think you see a garage
Wait a minute, Hey!, there’s one up ahead
And the damn thing’s open
Hello! Get in there!

Is my baby alive? (Is my baby alive?)
Is my baby alive? (Is my baby alive?)
Is my baby alive?
She Wango’d to death

Wango Tango (Wango Tango)
Wango Tango (Wango Tango)
Wango Tango (Wango Tango)
Wango Tango (Wango Tango)
Wango Tango
Wango Tango
Wango Tango
Wango Tango
Wango Wango
Tango Tango
Wango Wango Wango Wango
Tango Tango Tango Tango

2007-05-10 21:20:36
21. Scott Long
Can’t argue. One man’s free-for-all is another man’s wango tango. I wanted to put up a foghat tune, but didn’t feel there was enough rock cliches in any of their songs.Doobie Bros are a hard band to put in any genre. I guess it would work, though I hate all doobie songs before michael mcdonald.

Isn’t 38 special southern rock? I guess you could say that 38 special is the most arena rock of the southern rock bands. Caught up in you is definitely more arena than southern.

Thanks for both suggestions. I think they both are reasonable choices.

To Chris- I did think of this BOC song. Here’s my problem. I don’t like any BOC songs, except for their 2 classics. Burnin’ for you and Don’t Fear the Reaper. Weird band to me. Kind of like 10cc. Lots of albums, but only 2 songs I like, but these 2 songs for each band I love.

2007-05-10 21:35:50
22. chris in illinois
Scott,Careful…..

I’m somewhat of a BOC missionary….

Exactly what else have you heard by them??

I suppose I like them because they tend to write songs that extend beyond the cliche and go into the sublimely weird:

Check out this list of songs:

Transmaniacon MC
I’m On The Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep
Then Came The Last Days Of May
Stairway To The Stars
Before The Kiss, A Redcap
Screams
She’s As Beautiful As A Foot
Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll
Workshop Of The Telescopes
Redeemed

Do I know what the hell a Redcap is?? No, but the song is awesome just the same.

And these:

Career Of Evil
Subhuman
Dominance And Submission
ME 262
Cagey Cretins
Harvester Of Eyes
Flaming Telepaths
Astronomy

Songs about the stars, S&M, Careers in evil, organ thieves and German fighter-bombers what more do you want???

Blue Oyster Cult: More than just ‘More Cowbell’.

2007-05-10 21:42:04
23. Scott Long
I guess it could be said if you love their 2 biggest hits, you probably wouldn’t be a big fan of the rest of the work? I’ve listened to their other stuff a few times and I don’t even care much for Godzilla.I need to do a topic on world peace, so I can spend as much time thinking about that instead of arena rock bands.

2007-05-10 21:57:23
24. chris in illinois
Scott,Godzilla is the “We Will Rock You” of BOC’s canon.

I love “Don’t Fear the Reaper”.

But as always, different strokes…

My favorite band of all time is the Church, which covers much of the same bizzare songwriting ground as BOC did.

Again this is another peek into my soul…probably anyway.

2007-05-10 22:30:15
25. Scott Long
I have the Church’s greatest hits. I really like half of it. I guess this makes me a moderate fan of the group. And now inquiring minds know.

2007-05-10 22:35:46
26. chris in illinois
All things in moderation, my man….Except of course, the Church. May I suggest Priest=Aura?

2007-05-11 11:32:38
27. chris in illinois
“I need to do a topic on world peace, so I can spend as much time thinking about that instead of arena rock bands.”We did that a year or so back, only Sam Harris and Chris Hitchens have been eloquent on the topic recently.

2007-05-11 13:09:42
28. dzzrtRatt

You mentioned Boston. Here’s a fact I find hard to fathom. It took Tom Scholz 7 years to write “More than A Feeling.” I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away
It’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to
play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
’till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin’ away
So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
as clear as the sun in the summer sky
It’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to
play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
’till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin’ away
When I’m tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
and dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped awa y. She slipped away.
It’s more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to
play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
’till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin’ away

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