Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Certain Songs #1438: Paul Collins Beat – “Rock N Roll Girl” | Medialoper

Album: The Beat
Year: 1979

What’s weird is that “The Beat” is such a great name for a band is that it took until 1979 for any band to use it. And then, it turned out that two bands decided to use it.

One of those bands was English, and one of those bands was led by Paul Collins, and so for the past 40 years I’ve referred to both bands as “The English Beat” or “Paul Collins Beat,” even when I think of them both as “The Beat” with absolutely no confusion, given that the English Beat traded in ska and the Paul Collins Beat were as pure of a power pop band that ever existed.

As it turns out, I heard Paul Collins first: their debut album, The Beat, got a shitton of play on KKDJ when it came out, and they even played the gymnasium at Fresno State. And while there’s no question that the English Beat were the superior band in hindsight, in 1979, songs like “Rock N Roll Girl” were right up my alleyway.

Starting off with a rumbling bass, a straight-ahead beat and two guitars chugging and clanging, “Rock N Roll Girl” gets right to the point.

I went down to check out the local disco show
I saw all the people dancing on the floor
I wish there was an easier way
To meet the girls of today
And if I had a chance this is what I’d say

I wanna be with a rock ‘n roll girl
I wanna be with a rock ‘n roll girl
I wanna be with a rock ‘n roll girl

“HEY, ME TOO!” is what 16-year-old Jim thought. And while, honestly, there was no way I could afford to be that kind of picky — “Rock N Roll Girl” represented a kind of ideal for me. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what a “Rock N Roll Girl” was, but the one thing — maybe the only thing — I knew for sure was that I was a Rock N Roll boy.

BTW, it also helped that the chorus ramped up the song into near-anthem territory, as bassist Steven Huff and guitarist Larry Whitman joined in with glorious harmonies, and drummer Michael Ruiz leads the band into quick tiny stop-time on the second “rock. n. roll. girl” that both breaks it up and propels it forward.

At barely over two minutes and featuring no solos, and only a couple of lead licks, “Rock N Roll Girl” really ventures into Ramones territory, though the guitars were cleaner — so clean you could eat from them — and the whole vibe was just a hair slicker.

“Rock N Roll Girl”

“Rock N Roll Girl” on American Bandstand

“Rock N Roll Girl” performed live in Berkeley, 1980

[from http://bit.ly/2lwcL5j]

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