• Let’s Get Let’s Get Let’s Get Let’s Get Better at Reading

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 5 comments
    Sep
    1

    Yesterday at the gym, through no fault of my own, I heard Def Leppard’s 1992 arse-shaker “Let’s Get Rocked,” the chorus of which goes a little something like:

    Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked
    Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked
    Let’s go all the way, get it night and day
    Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked.
     

    Someone wrote those words.

    Four someones, in fact, according to Wikipedia, which I’m not afraid to cite: Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, and the legendary Robert John “Mutt” Lange. I like to imagine the four of them writing the song together on a lazy London Sunday, sipping tea on the davenport, eating blood sausage (which is awesome with tea, FYI, or orange juice), each of the four contributing a line to the chorus.

    Here’s how I picture the conversation:

    Collen: Easy peasy, chaps. The chorus begins “Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked.”

    Elliott: Good show, old sport! Good show. Then we follow it up with a tad of “Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked.”

    Lange: That’s bloody awful. Just dreadful. Shake it up, you tossers. Like this: “Let’s go all the way, get it night and day.” Round it off with a fresh and original fourth line and Bob’s your uncle. Savage, old chap, care to bring us home?

    Savage: Aye. (Pause for effect) “Let’s get … let’s get … let’s get … let’s get … rocked?”

    Lange: Bloody hell. I am adrift in a sea of gits.

     

    Okay, that was kinda fun, but I’m not here to dissect Def Leppard’s lyrics or writing process. Point is, the song came on the satellite radio at a public gym in 2011, and although the treadmill already had me covered in almost-equal parts blood (13%) sweat (22%) and tears (65%), I managed to burn an extra calorie or two with some heavy self-satisfied smirking. I mean, right? “Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked?” PG-rated double entendre aside, it’s just a ridiculous song. Even for still-stuck-in-the-eighties 1992.

    Which is when “Let’s Get Rocked” charted as a #2 single across the pond, and #15 here in the Colonies. Which means that thousands and thousands of people spent money–their own money, money they earned at their jobs–on this dreck which first requests that the addressed bint turn off any/all Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, etc., because it makes the balladeer “wanna scream,” and then climaxes with the balladeer informing his bint that “It” (which here means “getting rocked,” which means “getting shagged,” which means “getting ****ed”) … “won’t take that long.”

    In that moment at the gym, I felt wayyyyy above it all. Who would pay for and listen to such rot? I thought. Why is “music” like this allowed to exist? Thank god I have such refined tastes.

    Oops. As a perfect stranger once told me over the phone, “Better check yourself at the door, Duhr.”

    Gather ’round, folks: Young Duhr shared a memory with me that moment on the treadmill, and he’d now like to share it with you. Let us all listen as he recounts a conversation which took place between he and his father in tiny Grafton, Wisconsin in the music section of a now-defunct Kmart, circa 1992:

    Young Duhr: Dad, they’re the most awesome band around.

    Dad Duhr: Okay.

    Young Duhr: No really, Dad. They have this awesome new single called “Let’s Get Rocked,” and it’s … awesome. I know I already said “awesome,” but seriously, they are awesome and the song is awesome.

    Dad Duhr: Okay.

    Young Duhr: So … can I have the CD, Dad? We can play it on the way home.

    Dad Duhr: What’s the song called again?

    Young Duhr: “Let’s Get Rocked.”

    Dad Duhr: How does it go?

    Young Duhr: It goes “Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked. Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get rocked. Let’s go all the way, get it night and day. Let’s get let’s get let’s get let’s get … rocked.”

     

    He bought it for me, because he’s a swell dude. And I was so excited about the band and the new album that I played it for him on the drive home while reading aloud to him the liner notes.

    Man, I remember it vividly now. Guitarist Steve Clark had died while the group was recording the album, so the liner notes were all about him. I can’t remember which band member wrote them, but he said something like, “We’ve been through a lot of shit together”; and I remember seeing that word down the line as I read aloud the notes to my dad, and I had this quick-but-torturous internal struggle over whether to read the “shit” aloud or change it to “stuff,” and then, swept up in a dizzying rush of baby-pony-standing-up-for-the-first-time adrenaline, I said the word shit (I’m sure my voice squeaked) out loud in my dad’s presence. Which had never happened before. (We all remember that moment in our lives, don’t we?)

    And when I got home, I put Adrenalize in its slot next to my other Def Leppard albums. Which brought me current, because I had every. last. one. of. them.

     

    So what’s the story here? Was Young Duhr just too naive to understand that this glam rock was silly and pointless? Or is this older me too jaded to allow myself to enjoy something as fun and harmless as Def Leppard? Technically I’m the same human being as I was back then. So how is it that I can so love a song/band in 1992 and so despise them in 2011?

    Okay. I’ve said before that this isn’t a culture blog–much less a cultured blog–but I do have a literary angle here. It’s far from a reflex or obtuse angle; in fact, it’s about as acute as it gets. But the idea is that our tastes change radically as we age.

    This isn’t a revolutionary thesis, of course. It’s not even an interesting one. But it did get me thinking, up on that goddamn treadmill, first about other music I’ve grown out of (pop country & western, for one. Can I get an amen for Joe Diffie? How about a holler for John Michael Montgomery?), and then about my changed tastes in books. I.e., what kinds of books did I used to love, but feel too good for these days?

    Stuff we read as kids and young adults–Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, etc.–shouldn’t count. Those are meant to serve as a springboard to more difficult reading. But how about those books and writers we read from, say, our late teens up through the recent past that we’ve cast aside in favor of more refined literature?

    Since I’ve already prattled on for 900+ words I’m gonna wrap this up quickly with a list of writers whose books I used to read religiously but would now hide in my nightstand if Toni Morrison stopped by my house. (Also, my favorite title from each)

    Dean Koontz — Dragon Tears

    Tom Clancy — The Hunt For Red October

    Carl Hiassen — Tourist Season

    Nelson DeMille — Charm School (excellent book, by the way)

    Jimmy Buffett — Where is Joe Merchant?

    Michael Crichton — Congo

    Clive Cussler — Sahara

    Really, I have nothing against these writers. I’m sure that if I picked up any a select few of their books I would still find pleasure in them. But I’ve moved on. Somewhere there’s a cardboard box containing a mountain of Diamond Rio, Shenandoah, and Sara Evans CDs, a rubber-banded stack of baseball cards, probably some G.I. Joe action figures, a pair of Rec-Specs, and some mass market paperbacks authored by the preceding.

     

    So, WriteByNighters, your turn. Share with us some writers or books you used to enjoy but have since changed your opinion of. Or share with us the first time you swore around your parents.

    (After, of course, you take in the stunning cover artwork of Def Leppard’s overlooked debut album, On Through the Night)


     

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    Jenna

    You really made me “lol” reading this post. I agree with you about Charm School–I remember it being quite entertaining. I used to read…oh god…romance novels. And not just any old romances, no–I read Regency romances. They were big in the eighties and my mom had a slew of them. Back in the day I also read a few of the Left Behind books, Anne Rice novels (erotica included), and Bill O’Reilly books (my folks are really conservative and I read them out of boredom in high school). Now that I’m thoroughly ashamed, I think I’ll crawl into a metaphorical… Read more »

    Laura

    Your gym is at least playing “gym music,” i.e. the type of raucous rock you can, y’know, get pumped up and sweat over. My gym is always playing odious pop-country types of ballads about loving the USA and freedom and whatnot, or just inexplicably slow songs like you’d hear at the end of a high school prom. Hello? We need METAL, preferably of the SPEED sub-genre! Or some pop-rock with a nice bass beat. Lady Gaga, for example. But I digress. Let’s see.. embarrassing reads of the past include: * Anne Rice * “The Cat Who…” mysteries * Some covert… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Ooh, that’s a good idea. Books we are embarrassed to have considered shite in high school.

    Bartleby, the Scrivener is one of mine. I loathed it in high school. Intensely. Reread it a few weeks ago, and man, it’s wonderful.

    Couldn’t stand Jane Eyre in high school. Some years later (almost ten) I read it for a college lit class and it knocked me flat.

    Others will come to me.

    Justine

    I hated The Sun Also Rises in high school. It is now one of my favorite books. Then again, I hated The Old Man and the Sea in middle school. I still hate that one.

    For what it’s worth.

    Justine

    For me, it’s Candace Bushnell’s The Carrie Diaries. Yes, it was published last year. What of it?




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