It’s time for us to welcome Ernest P. Worrell’s good buddy Vern for his annual appearance…. as in the Vernal Equinox. And since it just happens to be a Monday… not only is Spring in the air, but also the cheerful sounds of another sleepy earworm that’s been woken up from its long winter’s nap deep down in the weatherproof depths of the Dusty Vinyl Archive! DJ Scratchy’s ready to warm things up by chipping the ice off another frozen classic while the Sponkies are busy on this beautiful day playing hopscotch and leapfrog, which of course is never a good idea for unicorns…
We interrupt your regularly scheduled earworm to report the sad news that rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry passed away over the weekend at the age of 90. Elvis may have been the king of the genre, but Chuck was undoubtedly its father… becoming one of the first rock and roll musicians to dominate the charts in the late 50’s with a guitar sound that was years ahead of its time…
It’s hard to believe that in his legendary career, Chuck Berry only managed to have one of his songs reach the coveted top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It had to be Chuck’s signature tune “Johnny B. Goode,” right….. er, no… it wasn’t. Johnny’s name may have been in lights, but they were the tacky holiday lights of #8. Then it must have been “No Particular Place To Go”….. er, #10. “School Day”…. #3. “Sweet Little Sixteen” made it all the way up to…. the runner up spot. What does a rock god have to do to get a #1 hit!?!?
It’s quite possible you already know where this is going, because it’s one of those strange but true bits of trivia that says as much about the music business and its customer base as it does about Chuck Berry’s talents. It wasn’t until 1972, 17 years after he burst onto the scene and a full decade after his prime, that Chuck finally got to enjoy the view from the top. And the song that achieved this success was about as far from the sound and tone of Berry’s best known hits that put him in the Hall of Fame. Not to mention…….. it was a bit embarrassing….
Ladies and gentlemen…. the late Chuck Berry’s only #1 hit song, “My Ding-A-Ling!”
Yes, the man who almost single-handedly invented rock and roll’s most successful song of his career was a cover of a novelty song chock full of intentional penis innuendo. This is the live version of the song, which is what I remember being played on oldies radio back in my day, and is far and away the best version due to Chuck’s interplay with the audience. Sure enough, it was THE hit and was recorded at the Lanchester Arts Festival in Coventry, England. A Boston disc jockey named Jim Connors helped turn the live recording into the smash hit it became…
For some reason, this song seems to have fallen out of favor in the oldies format… even here in St. Louis where Chuck hails from and is much beloved (Even if he did set up cameras in the women’s restrooms at his restaurant, which we’ve never let him live down). In an era where every other song on the radio contains a blatant reference to sex (and the other half are all shitty Adele songs), I’m not sure why a song about a toy ding-a-ling would be considered songa-non-playa these days. Maybe Chuck was just upset that his classic catalogue of rock and roll staples got upstaged by a glorified playground chant about a boy playing with himself. That’s too bad, because as corny and seemingly unbefitting a legend as “My Ding-A-Ling” may be… it’s actually a pretty cool song and a fun listen!
Well that’s my earworm for this fun day
I sure hope you’ll return next Monday
I’ll have another song for you all to sing
That’ll make you wanna kick me in my ding-a-ling!
hahaha the squirrel photo rocks!!! but we are sad that even legends die… but his music lives on…
I got that picture from another squirrel obsessed blogger who put that on her site years ago. What’s so great about it is that you really have to look to make sure that isn’t what it looks like it is!
Amazing talent at a rather difficult time in music for some musicians but Chuck shined anyway. I remember the ding-a-ling song but REALLY remember Sweet Little 16, No Particular Place to Go and the other “Chuck standards”…..he had his problems but he sure could rock. RIP Chuck.
And he’d still perform live on occasion locally well into his 80’s. I’m not sure he’d try the duck walk though…
That squirrel picture! Lol! And thank you for filling in the blanks in my brain about Chuck Berry. My husband told me he died and I knew the name but otherwise had a Beavis and Butthead moment. Uh…..
That squirrel picture would go great on one of those ads for male enhancement…. what could the censors do? It’s just a photo of a squirrel eating a baguette!
This post caused the weirdest battle of the earworms my ears have ever experienced! One minute I was hearing “my ding a ling, my ding a ling” and the next minute I was hearing parts of Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Quite an extreme shift there!
Oh.my.piggy.heavens! That last picture. I can’t breathe here at the Hotel Thompson. Rock on Man Squirrel! Rolls with piggy laughter. XOXO – Bacon
I hope it doesn’t make Rocky jealous… you know how squirrels can get!
OMP! I know and I didn’t think about poor Rocky. OMP-OMP – I know he might be a tad bit let down – HA XOXO – Bacon
ody & biskit ~~~~~ hope all is well with you both and dad
Godspeed Chuck Berry; and thanx ~~~~~ ♥
Yes, all is well here
I was very sorry to hear about Boomer. I tried every which way but loose to leave my condolences on your blog, but it still doesn’t seem to like me for some reason…
Good grief, man, I’m at work! You could have posted the censored version of the Clem pic! 😉
It’s a shame that flashing one’s ding a ling is frowned upon in the work environment. Or wearing bells for that matter…
I got a little sad last night when I realized he was gone. Yes, old, but these days, doesn’t seem all THAT old, not to us.
While I know Chuck Berry’s stuff didn’t go all the way while he was singing it, i though a lot of his material went much bigger when other’s sang it. I could be wrong. I usually am, especially about pop music which isn’t really my strong point.
It IS nice that he lived long enough to come out from the shadows and be taken seriously. That’s something, anyhow.
I don’t think I’m familiar enough with Chuck Berry covers to have an opinion I know a lot of others did “Roll Over Beethoven”… and not particularly much better or worse than the original in my opinion…
I knew right away! I was just talking about this song with my husband yesterday.
Love it. I remember the live version on the radio too!
Adele isn’t shitty, she’s dramatic, Beavis.
They could replace whoever replaced Steve Perry with Adele, and Journey could actually get even worse than they are! 😛
One of these days, ES…straight to the moon with you.
I first heard this song on The Simpsons, when the ever-brilliant Ralph Wiggum was singing it, with no inkling as to the alluding reference. And then my younger son thought it was catchy and started singing along… 😬
When it would come on the oldies station back when my parents would load all us kids up and just take a drive somewhere, we’d all get a kick out of it. The funny thing was, even though the allusion was obvious, I was naive enough at the time to think it was completely unintentional on Chuck’s part!
That’s one Chuck Berry song that I don’t remember. RIP king of R&R
That’s OK, Chuck may not have remembered it either…
Funny you say it’s “songa-non-playa” since the video won’t play in the UK. Possibly it’s considered too rude for English ears…
Damned international copyright laws are killing my earworm revival business! Lawyers just love to ruin everything…
I didn’t even listen to the damn Ding-a-ling and now I got it in my brain-pan. Thanks, LOL! Interesting last pic, BTW…
Now you can picture the squirrel with a foot long while you’re singing My Ding a Ling to yourself!
Do I have to? LOL! 😀
Been missing you, ES.