I Diss Rock And Roll Music

I probably heard it when I was a kid – my parents had at least one album on 8-track – but I first recall hearing “I Dig Rock And Roll Music” by folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary when I was 19. I quickly realized it was a, uh, dig at rock music – which they considered lowest common denominator* – as it knocked folk music off  the charts. The song referenced the Mamas & the Papas (even emulating their style to some degree), Donovan (with a mild takeoff of his psychedelia), and the Beatles (directly targeting their song “The Word“) while painting them as sellouts who concealed messages in their music that wouldn’t get played on the radio if stated openly.

It’s actually quite a catchy pop-rock song and a favorite of mine.

However, I don’t believe I ever saw or heard this until today…

Cass Elliot aka “Mama Cass” of the Mamas & the Papas teamed up with Sammy Davis Jr. to sing the song criticizing her. I have to wonder if the insertion of Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect” was a bit of firing back at PPM.

Diss tracks were around long before rap.

* For as much craptacular rock music was floating around in 1967, it got much worse afterward, hitting a bottomed-out nadir in the mid 70s.

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About nightskyradio

Random signals from nowhere in particular.

Posted on March 27, 2014, in ♫ ♪ ♫ and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Whoa, nice retrospective swirl.

    Great song both times. I never caught the nuances on that.

    I suspect PPM protestedeth too much; heck, I always got them and M&P mixed up, sometimes thinking they were the same group. Without looking it up, “California Dreaming” was PPM and not M&P, right? (I’ll look it up.) But see what I mean. I have to stop and think about it. But “California Dreaming” was also a splendid song.

    I can say exactly where I was when I heard Mama Cass choked on that ham sammich. How many people can say that?

    By the mid 70s I was sneering at rock (except for circa 1968-70 stuff) because I was hanging out with jazz and fusion and funk people, and that was coooool. I had to learn later that some of the stuff I was dismissing was actually good. But I’m still kind of knowledge deficient on 70s rock. Allman Brothers? (good!) Boston? (meh) Bachmann Turner Overdrive? Otherwise it’s kind of a brain lock . . .

    • Hey, California Dreaming was Mamas & Papas!

      How can PPM present themselves as the deep ones one M&P did California Dreaming? Chutzpah.

      Or maybe it was timing, and M&P did California Dreaming after they got dissed, to slap PPM down.

    • Great song both times. I never caught the nuances on that.

      Yeah, they really nailed it to the wall, didn’t they?

      I can say exactly where I was when I heard Mama Cass choked on that ham sammich. How many people can say that?

      I don’t know, but I do know where I was when Superman was killed.

      By the mid 70s I was sneering at rock (except for circa 1968-70 stuff)… I’m still kind of knowledge deficient on 70s rock. Allman Brothers? (good!) Boston? (meh) Bachmann Turner Overdrive? Otherwise it’s kind of a brain lock . . .

      Contra Homer Simpson, the mid-70s was a dismal period for rock music in general. There were exceptions and bright spots, however. Elton John had one or two good songs – think “Grey Seal” – and Chicago was still swinging for the fences here and there, I think. And of course, there was The Dan.

      • All true.

        Mid-seventies were peak years for Zappa, IMO. And of course the funk and fusion explosion. The Grateful Dead were still going strong, though playing their old stuff.

        Further rigorous research in teh Toobs showed California Dreaming was written a few years BEFORE I Dig Rock and Roll Music. That puts the latter in a whole different light! PPM’s subtext is: “Why didn’t WE get to write California Dreaming? Waaah Waaaah! M&P are shallow and stupid!” Yeah, just keep telling yourself that, PPM. Just keep telling yourself that.

  2. OT, followed this link at Insty. Chances are high you’ve seen this already.

    • Wooowwww, you posted that just as I was posting a reply to your previous comment. And we both independently mentioned Steely Dan.

      And yeah, I’ve seen that, it’s good.

      There’s also this, if you haven’t seen it yet –

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