Fergie, Dick Dale & Little Richard
If you’re of a certain age…maybe under 35…the surf guitar riffs of Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” will trigger thoughts of, “Hey, it’s that song ‘Pump It’ by The Black Eyed Peas.”
Same deal with Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It.” It’s BEP’s Fergie and her solo hit “Clumsy.”
To be fair, when you mention Fergie’s name my first thought is not musical at all. I picture her shapely legs.
Maybe, as a fan of early rock and roll, I should be happy that Fergie and her Peas “sampled” those classic tunes. Sampled to some, ripped off and stolen in the view of others.
Dick Dale recorded Misirlou in 1962 but if there’s anyone who deserves credit for the enduring popularity of the song, it’s Quentin Tarantino. He ran the tune over the opening credits of Pulp Fiction and that made it cool again. Tarantino is a big fan of surf music.
Little Richard recorded The Girl Can’t Help it in 1956 and sang it in the movie of the same name. The “girl” was blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield. Richard pounded the piano as Mansfield undulated across the stage, shaking her 40-inch chest for all it was worth. On a side note, I’d love to know if Richard was in one of his straight or gay phases at the time. Was he more impressed with Mansfield’s breasts or her dress?
I saw Little Richard about ten years ago at Casino Rama and he was very, very gay. To quote the gang on Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Then again, the fact that modern day singers even know about such songs is a tribute to the lasting appeal of Misirlou and The Girl Can’t Help it. A great groove is a great groove. Well written songs get rediscovered and covered by new generations and there’s nothing wrong with that!