Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling

(Chess, 1972)

Look, I’ll say it: This is an idiotic song. Really. A lousy live recording that features a lot of unfunny onstage asides from Chuck Berry, snatches of ugly guitarwork, and a tuneless audience sing-along during the choruses. All of which would be fine if the double-entendre around which the song revolves – “I want to play with my ding-a-ling”…you figure it out – was actually clever or entertaining. But it isn’t. This is exhausting and cringe-worthy, a failure as a novelty record and an especially creepy bit of sleaze coming from a guy known for sexual weirdness. Still, I betcha I would’ve loved this when I was, oh... ten?

The B-side is a live version of “Johnny B. Goode” that cooks quite nicely, even if it does have a faint odor of just-going-through-the-motions about it. Berry’s vocals are ragged, but his raw screech propels the song and lends it an air of excitement that is certainly missing from the flip. The real highlight comes at the end, as we hear the emcee plead with the revved-up crowd to vacate the auditorium after Berry leaves the stage, as they’re preventing the next act from starting. That act? Pink Floyd! Ha! The old wave stickin’ it to the new!

4 comments:

Donald Brown said...

Ok, I was 12 when this came out and it was too immature for me. You can't begin to fathom how loathsome this song is until you've heard it getting regular airplay -- in 1972, when there were still (occasionally) good 45s on Top 40...

But as to liking it at 10: there's a priceless moment in an early Simpsons (1st or 2nd season) when a shot of the school Talent Show shows a kid of about that age standing alone on the stage singing "I want you to play with my ding-a-ling" at the top of his lungs until Principal Skinner ushers him off. Cracked me up!

It may also be worth noting that yo-yos (or as some call them "ding-a-lings") were a retro-fad item around the time this song came out...

and that's all I have to add by way of pop culture esoterica...

leaving just one question: why the hell do you own this record?

ithinkihatemy45s said...

Sigh. I bought it as part of a LARGE (cheap) lot at a stoop sale this past summer. Still, I knew the song already, so there was no real excuse for me to take the thing home; should've ditched it on the walk back.

Anonymous said...

I also have this 45. My grandfather owned it, and I can only guess as to why he had it. Anyway, after he died, I helped my grandmother sort through a huge stack of old 45s and lps (Bobby Vinton, Brenda Lee, etc) and I couldn't resist keeping this one, just for humor value. The other 45 I kept from the stack was CCR "Lookin' Out my Back Door."
-mutant eppy

Hit Dog said...

Original title to this song: "My Big Black Monster Cock." In this sense, I consider the song a near-classic. But only this sense.