Monday, April 8, 2019

Musical Monday - This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: March 28, 1981 through April 11, 1981.

While the U.S. charts were looking towards the future with the first rap song to reach number one, the U.K. charts were looking backward with a rockabilly song originally sung by Rosemary Clooney but now performed by an Elvis-like Welsh singer at the top spot. I'm not sure what this says about the popular culture of the two countries in 1981, but it does seem to indicate something.

Not only is this song a throwback, hearkening back to a bygone era of music, its lyrics are surprisingly dark for such a bouncy and peppy dance tune. Essentially, the song is about an old house lived in by a man who has lived out his life and is now basically just waiting to die. Or maybe the house is waiting to die. The lyrics aren't really all that clear on that point, but someone is waiting to die. Given these lyrics, the kind of happy dance done by Stevens in the video seems pretty incongruous.

Previous Musical Monday: Rapture by Blondie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Jealous Guy by Roxy Music
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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