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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)

TITLE: Something to Sing About
By Tom Parsons


In 1954, an executive of Atlantic Records approached Charles E. Calhoun, aka Jesse Stone, with the suggestion that he write an up tempo song for Big Joe Turner, a popular blues singer. The result of that suggestion was a song that was recorded on February 15, 1954 by Turner. The song was released by Atlantic in April, and by mid-June it was number one on the charts.

However, in July of that year, the song was recorded by another group, and released by Decca Records in August, climbing in the charts to number seven. This second version was more successful than the first. It stayed on the charts longer and when the title of the song is mentioned today, it is this second version that is more likely to be remembered. It was one of the first mega hits of the relatively new rock and roll genre, selling over one million copies.

There is a definite and obvious dark side to the song. It was one of the first popular songs to feature an explicitly sexual lyric. The original version contains phrases that describe in detail sexual activity. In the version released by Decca, some of the language has been toned down because Decca feared radio stations might not play it with the original lyric. However, even in the milder version, the situation is clearly the same as it was in the original version - an unmarried couple spending the night together.

That was nearly sixty years ago. It is hard to believe that in the puritan era of the 1950s a song that was so blatantly about sex would become so popular, even in its less explicit version. Songs with explicit lyrics are very common today, but were not accepted by the general public then. Except for this song. The song is given credit for helping to break down the public morality of the post-war era, paving the way for the immorality often embraced by today’s composers of popular music. Some view this as a good thing. I do not.

Sex is a great gift, presented by a loving and creative God to a man and a woman in marriage. It is a gift God intended for marriage only. It is private and personal. It is not intended to be cheapened in the way it so often is by entertainers. The Scriptures say that marriage is honorable in all and that the marriage bed is undefiled.

The song, by the way, recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954 was titled, "Shake, Rattle and Roll". It should not take much effort to interpret that as a sexually explicit title. However, I prefer the Scriptural references to the act of marriage found in the Song of Solomon, for example, and in this verse found in Genesis: “They were naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” Only in marriage is sex without shame. Only in marriage is sex something to sing about.

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This article has been read 102 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 05/20/13
It's too bad that our society is falling farther and farther away from our Puritan standards.
CD Swanson 05/21/13
Ver interesting way of presenting the topic. Good message overall. God bless~