But in the meantime, consider if you will this excerpt from Nick Tosches' Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll, still the only rock book that knows what it's talking about (or so said the late great Samuel Beckett in the Foreword, despite the fact that he was dead at the time):
The history of rock 'n' roll has been obscured by a great deal of misknowing and ignorance, and by a great many lies. There are those who believe that rock 'n' roll was a sudden, magical effusion; that a young man named Elvis Presley one day rose, dipped his comb in water, swept his hair into a duck's-ass, bopped out into the world, and created -- thank God, Alan Freed was there to give it a name -- rock 'n' roll. This is perhaps the most popular and abiding myth. It is merely another lesson learnt from that cherished American history book that taught us that Peary went to the North Pole alone.I happen to think Tosches is right about this, in the main, which is to say that rock-and-roll, more than any other form of American music, has always been a mutt. Of course, you may disagree; if so, feel free to do so in the comment section. In any case, in the spirit of the above, here's an obviously relevant and yet inclusively diverse little project to wile away the hours until I return:
At the other extreme, there are those who believe that rock 'n' roll was created by black people, than seized and commercialized by whites. This is merely a lesson from a revised edition of that same cherished history book. One could make just as strong a case for Jews being the central ethnic group in rock n roll's early history [my emphasis]; for it was they who produced many of the most important records, wrote some of the best songs, cultivated much of the greatest talent, and operated the majority of the pioneering record companies.
Best or Worst Post-Elvis Pop Record/Song Either Written By, Performed By, or About Our Jewish and Arab Brothers and Sisters!!!
And my totally top of my head Top Six is:
7. 10cc -- Wall Street Shuffle
Featuring the great Grahame Gouldman (a nice Yiddish kid from England) on bass. And a song about money -- who'd have thunk it?
6. Desmond Dekker -- Israelites
I have no idea what this song actually means, by the way; I've been told it reflects rather unflatteringly on my fellow Red Sea pedestrians, but given its Jamaican patois I've never really been sure.
5. Ray Stevens -- Ahab the Arab
From 1961, when you could apparently get away with stuff like this. Although in the current climate -- who knows?
4. Two Live Jews -- Oy It's So Humid
When we say these guys are def, we really MEAN....etc.
3. The Regents -- Barbara Ann
Regents singer Chuck Fassert, like his brother Fred (who wrote the song) were of Iranian descent, so you can imagine the irony when that asshat John McCain sang this one as "Bomb Iran" during the 2008 campaign. And yes, I know that Iranians -- or Persians, as they're called in that horrible Disney flick from earlier this year -- are not technically considered Arabs. So sue me.
2. Fountains of Wayne -- Strapped for Cash
Another song about money sung by a Jew -- what are the odds?
And the Numero Uno "Iceceberg, Goldberg, what difference does it make to the Titanic?" hit of them all simply has to be --
1. The Blues Project -- No Time Like the Right Time
Left to right: Mssrs (Al) Kooper, (Danny) Kalb, (Steve) Katz, (Roy) Blumenfeld, and (Andy) Kulberg. Not for nothing did they call these guys the Jewish Beatles.
Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: most interesting romantic actor and actress pairing in a feature film -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and snarking a bit, it would help convince management that my freelance rate needs to be upped. Thanks!]