Posts Tagged ‘Joey Levine’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

45-adapter-logo2reunionlifeisarock45

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

The challenge was to memorize every word of this aural history/laundry list of musical groups, radio DJs, songwriters and record labels circa 1974, and be able to regurgitate every nuance at will. Many of my friends were up to the challenge and managed the seemingly impossible feat with ease. As for myself, I never was too enthralled with today’s Jukebox classic “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion, and when it hit the airwaves in 1974 I never felt the need to rise to the challenge simply because I didn’t care.

So how did this genuine novelty that climbed to the #8 slot on the singles charts in 1974 end up joining the ranks of the jukebox if it is a track I couldn’t stand the first time around? I’ll tell you in one word: “plastics…,” actually the word is “nostalgia.” As I have opined before, oftentimes the worst, most cringe-worthy pieces of trivial trash that were incessantly played on the radio go on to become the songs that make us feel warm and nostalgic for simpler times, and today’s jukebox classic certainly fits the bill for me.

The song was written by Paul DiFranco and Norman Dolph several years before it was recorded by a studio incarnation called Reunion featuring Joey Levine on lead vocals. And if that name isn’t familiar to you, you’ll know some of the bubblegum classics his lead vocals have graced including “Chewy Chewy,” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express, “Quick Joey Small” by Kasenetz and Katz and “Run Run Run” by The Third Rail. When Levine joined the Reunion fray, he also received a writing credit on the record.

After his success with Reunion, Joey Levine got into the commercial business writing such memorable jingles as “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds, “Gentlemen Prefer Hanes” for Hanes underwear, “Just For The Taste Of It” for Coke, “Heartbeat Of America” for Chevy, “You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota” for Toyota and “This Bud’s For You” for Budweiser beer.

Today’s song has been covered by Tracey Ullman on her You Broke My Heart In 17 Places album and Rudy Crenshaw for the Disney album Mickey’s Dance Party. Chicago radio fans will also remember two versions of the song that were customized for local radio, including a version for WCFL with the late legendary Chi-town disc jockey Larry Lujack and one for WLS. The WCFL version “Life Is A Rock (But CFL Rolled Me)” was the last song played on the station in 1976 before it changed formats, and the WLS version was the first song played on the station when it returned to the airwaves in June of 2008. The song was also repurposed for a McDonalds commercial campaign with a recitation of menu items taking the place of the original lyrics.

And in case you were wondering, the lyrics to today’s jukebox classic are as follows:

“B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers

Lonnie Mack and twangin’ Eddy, here’s my ring we’re goin’ steady

Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire

Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction

Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin’ hotter

Sammy’s cookin’, Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story

Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama

Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry

Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin’

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

FM, AM, hits are clickin’ while the clock is tock-a-tickin’

Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations

Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin’

Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can’t stop now, I got the shivers

Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary

Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper

Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter

Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses

Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Arthur Janov’s primal screamin’, Hawkins, Jay and

Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla

Denver, John and Osmond, Donny

JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah

David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider

Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders

Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah

Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda

Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy

CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Listen–remember, they’re playing our song!

Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me

Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,

Make it bad and play it funky.

(Wanna take you higher!)”

 

Several other Reunion singles were released with no chart action whatsoever, so the collective went their separate ways. They never even recorded an album. However for better or worse, the song seemingly did go on to inspire another chart-topping hit, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

Edited: October 25th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

45ADAPTERreunionlifeisarock45

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

The challenge was to memorize every word of this aural history/laundry list of musical groups, radio DJs, songwriters and record labels circa 1974, and be able to regurgitate every nuance at will. Many of my friends were up to the challenge and managed the seemingly impossible feat with ease. As for myself, I never was too enthralled with today’s Jukebox classic “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion, and when it hit the airwaves in 1974 I never felt the need to rise to the challenge simply because I didn’t care.

So how did this genuine novelty that climbed to the #8 slot on the singles charts in 1974 end up joining the ranks of the jukebox if it is a track I couldn’t stand the first time around? I’ll tell you in one word: “plastics…,” actually the word is “nostalgia.” As I have opined before, oftentimes the worst, most cringe-worthy pieces of trivial trash that were incessantly played on the radio go on to become the songs that make us feel warm and nostalgic for simpler times, and today’s jukebox classic certainly fits the bill for me.

The song was written by Paul DiFranco and Norman Dolph several years before it was recorded by a studio incarnation called Reunion featuring Joey Levine on lead vocals. And if that name isn’t familiar to you, you’ll know some of the bubblegum classics his lead vocals have graced including “Chewy Chewy,” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express, “Quick Joey Small” by Kasenetz and Katz and “Run Run Run” by The Third Rail. When Levine joined the Reunion fray, he also received a writing credit on the record.

After his success with Reunion, Joey Levine got into the commercial business writing such memorable jingles as “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds, “Gentlemen Prefer Hanes” for Hanes underwear, “Just For The Taste Of It” for Coke, “Heartbeat Of America” for Chevy, “You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota” for Toyota and “This Bud’s For You” for Budweiser beer.

Today’s song has been covered by Tracey Ullman on her You Broke My Heart In 17 Places album and Rudy Crenshaw for the Disney album Mickey’s Dance Party. Chicago radio fans will also remember two versions of the song that were customized for local radio, including a version for WCFL with the late legendary Chi-town disc jockey Larry Lujack and one for WLS. The WCFL version “Life Is A Rock (But CFL Rolled Me)” was the last song played on the station in 1976 before it changed formats, and the WLS version was the first song played on the station when it returned to the airwaves in June of 2008. The song was also repurposed for a McDonalds commercial campaign with a recitation of menu items taking the place of the original lyrics.

And in case you were wondering, the lyrics to today’s jukebox classic are as follows:

“B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers

Lonnie Mack and twangin’ Eddy, here’s my ring we’re goin’ steady

Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire

Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction

Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin’ hotter

Sammy’s cookin’, Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story

Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama

Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry

Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin’

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

FM, AM, hits are clickin’ while the clock is tock-a-tickin’

Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations

Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin’

Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can’t stop now, I got the shivers

Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary

Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper

Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter

Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses

Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Arthur Janov’s primal screamin’, Hawkins, Jay and

Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla

Denver, John and Osmond, Donny

JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah

David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider

Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders

Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah

Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda

Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy

CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Listen–remember, they’re playing our song!

Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me

Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,

Make it bad and play it funky.

(Wanna take you higher!)”

 

Several other Reunion singles were released with no chart action whatsoever, so the collective went their separate ways. They never even recorded an album. However for better or worse, the song seemingly did go on to inspire another chart-topping hit, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

 

 

Edited: February 25th, 2014