73) David Rose – “The Stripper”

The David Rose LP featuring “The Stripper” is subtitled “And Other Fun Songs For The Family.”  Really.   Which is actually quite appropriate, as the instrumental has surely been used as shorthand for “sexy” in children’s cartoons at least as often as it has soundtracked actual stripteases.  Probably more so, as there’s very little erotic about the cheesy trombone wails; it’s the musical equivalent of Elmer Fudd swooning over Bugs Bunny in drag.  In fact, the pop cultural baggage associated with “The Stripper” is probably the heaviest of any of the records we have discussed as of yet.  It’s bizarre to think that this instrumental was only composed in the second half on the 20th Century – it just seems like one of those pieces of music that has always been there, lurking in the collective unconscious.  Indeed, it was an “accidental” hit, starting life as filler for a 1958 single and only achieving fame after being featured in the film version of Gypsy. Yet it was this throwaway, and not one of Rose’s more typically reserved compositions, that reached #1. Clearly, the success of “The Stripper” was due to the record’s perceived naughtiness, albeit a naughtiness as inoffensive and family-friendly as you’d expect from a 1962 number one.  (Not that current Top 40 singles are necessarily any sexier, despite being more explicit.)  The record’s one saving grace is the air of good humor that pervades throughout. So while “The Stripper” may not actually be very risqué, and the instrumentation may be overblown by half, the LP cover’s assertion that it’s a “fun song” seems, eh, fair enough. 4

Hit #1 on July 7, 1962; total of 1 week at #1
73 of 972 #1’s reviewed; 7.51% through the Hot 100

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2 Comments

Filed under 04, 1962

2 responses to “73) David Rose – “The Stripper”

  1. I really did think this was a piece of stock music devised by one of the movie studios back in the 40s, since it has become so dreadfully overused. It’s like aural shorthand for “we couldn’t afford our own composer” and/or “we’re being totally cheeky now, can you tell?”

    Whenever I hear this song (or Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, or any AC/DC song) in a film or TV show, I immediately lose interest because it’s clear that absolutely no effort has been made to entertain me in any way.

  2. See also: any version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I still like Jeff Buckley’s, but it’ll be a few years before I can listen to it again.

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