Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Ding-a-Ling

My dad loves novelty records more - well, if I'm honest, probably more than his oldest son, but who needs that kind of honesty? - than regular music. It's not, as far as I can tell, because he doesn't appreciate music. He just likes jokes the most and the combination just is magical.

Now, I suppose it would make sense for my bitterness to carry over to novelty records, but it doesn't. I still have a soft, warm place in my brain for novelty records.

Which leads me to "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry basically finalized what we expect of Rock & Roll guitar. He was also a master of lyrical craftsmanship in a way that very few in the generations that followed up on properly... and the few that did, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, John Sebastian etc., came out of the folk tradition as much as the Rock & Roll tradition.

As these things go, it's common for Rock Critics to take the justice of public buying tastes to task for "My Ding-a-Ling" being Chuck's only #1 hit. Certainly that's absurd. It's by no means his best. But especially unjust since it's the single version that's the hit. It's just the song itself, which is... well, let's say cute... but it's the banter in and around it ("Let's give the girls credit. Don't they have a beautiful passage? In the song, in the song, in the song!") that makes it special and wonderful.

At least if you were permanently warped by a really weird parent.

Fuck! There's not enough coffee in the world to get me awake today.

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