Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)

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"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
Single by Reunion
Released1974
Format7"
Recorded1974
GenrePop
Length3:40 (avg)
LabelRCA Victor
Writer(s)Norman Dolph
Producer(s)Norman Dolph
Reunion singles chronology
"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
(1974)
"Disco-tekin"
(1975)
 
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"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
Single by Reunion
Released1974
Format7"
Recorded1974
GenrePop
Length3:40 (avg)
LabelRCA Victor
Writer(s)Norman Dolph
Producer(s)Norman Dolph
Reunion singles chronology
"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
(1974)
"Disco-tekin"
(1975)

"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" is a 1974 song by an ad hoc group of studio musicians called Reunion, with Joey Levine (bubblegum music pioneer with "Chewy Chewy" and "Yummy Yummy Yummy" to his credit) as the lead singer. The song was written by Paul DiFranco (music) and Norman Dolph (lyrics). The lyrics are a fast patter of 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s disc jockeys, musicians, songwriters, record labels, song titles and lyrics, broken only by the chorus.

Given the various musical icons on the laundry list, the Jack the Ripper mention may be a reference to Link Wray. His 1961 instrumental called "Jack the Ripper"[1] was also covered by The Raybeats, who made a music video to go with it.[2]

The song's outro quotes "Baby I Need Your Loving" by The Four Tops, "Celebrate" by Three Dog Night, and "I Want to Take You Higher" by Sly and the Family Stone.

Joey Levine in concert. Taken on May 17, 2008.

It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and reached No. 33 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] The track was later covered by Tracey Ullman in 1984, and was featured in her album, You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.

Covers[edit]

This song was remade by Randy Crenshaw and released on 2001 Disney album Mickey's Dance Party under the name "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me...Again!)" The remake includes references not just to current and past music groups, but also to TV shows and internet slang, and some Disney characters.

A "customized" version of the song, "Life is a Rock, but 'CFL Rolled Me" was the last rock and roll song played on the Larry Lujack show on WCFL in Chicago[4] on 15 March 1976, before the station switched from Top 40 to beautiful music format. Rival AM station WLS had their own version ("Life Is a Rock, WLS Rolled Me"). The WLS version was the first song played on WLS-FM when the famous callsign returned to the station in 2008, now airing an classic hits format. In 1974, radio station KFRC in San Francisco also aired a "customized" version of the song, titled "Life Is a Rock (But KFRC Rolled Me)," with an extra verse naming all of the station's personalities at the time. The verse was sung by KFRC's afternoon personality, Chuck Buell.[5] 980, WRC in Washington, DC also had a customized version that was played on the air [6](this actually was common among the big top40 AMs of the day with special copies cut for their station).

In 1988 McDonald's produced a jingle heavily influenced by the song for its "$1,000,000 Menu Song" promotion. The McDonald's recording, with an identical melody and a rapidly spoken list of menu offerings recited in an identical monotone pitch and rhythm, was released as a mass giveaway in the form of a 33-1/3 RPM flexible plastic single.[7][8]

Name checks[edit]

The 45-rpm single version fades out here. The extended album version continues, with the following references:

Performed as medley or spoken over the fade-out:

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974)Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [9]8
Cashbox Chart [10]7
Canadian RPM Top Singles [11]2
WLS survey (Chicago) [12]1

End of year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1974)Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13]103
Canadian RPM singles41
WLS survey (Chicago)[14]30

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Link Wray "Jack the Ripper" at YouTube
  2. ^ Raybeats - Jack The Ripper. YouTube (2006-07-08). Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 459. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory Collection!. Reelradio. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  5. ^ The Big 610 - KFRC San Francisco - TheBig610.com. Bayarearadio.org. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  6. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDfwIz8uX1g
  7. ^ YouTube video featuring audio of McDonald's "$1,000,000 Menu Song (1988)."
  8. ^ Photo of McDonald's $1,000,000 Menu Song (1988).
  9. ^ http://www.top40db.net/
  10. ^ http://cashboxmagazine.com/archives/
  11. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm
  12. ^ http://www.oldiesloon.com/
  13. ^ http://www.chartjunkie.com/1977all.htm
  14. ^ http://www.wlshistory.com/big89/1974.htm