At lunch last week, the Gang of Three — the V, the D, and the Z (me) — somehow got onto the year 1974 and things that happened then, and the D’s musical memory pulled up “Sex on the Streets”, with a text that begins:

Nineteen hundred seventy-four is the year that they are now planning for sex on the streets in every major city from coast to coast. And — get ready for a shock — the music that they’re planning to use to crumble the morals of America is this rotten, filthy, dirty, lewd, lascivious junk called rock and roll.

This is from “An Important Message” by Dr. Jack Van Impe (1974), a radio/tv preacher given to apocalyptic messages. Delivered in a raging rant. (Notice the conspiracy theory, complete with things that They are planning, on a huge scale. The Rock Agenda, I guess, like the Homosexual Agenda.)

It was just too good for rock musicians to let pass.

First up, apparently, was Fatboy Slim. Well, Pizzaman. Well, Norman Cook. From the Wikipedia page:

Norman Quentin Cook (born Quentin Leo Cook on 31 July 1963 in Surrey, England), better known by his stage name Fatboy Slim, is an English DJ, big beat musician and record producer. He is a pioneer of the electronic dance genre that achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s. Cook has achieved considerable success in the UK charts, performing as Fatboy Slim and with The Housemartins, Beats International and Freak Power. He currently performs as the Brighton Port Authority.

… Cook enlisted help from producer friends Tim Jeffery and JC Reid to create a solo house music album under the Pizzaman pseudonym. The 1995 Pizzamania album spawned three UK Top 40 hits in “Trippin’ on Sunshine”, “Sex on the Streets” and “Happiness”. “Happiness” was picked up by the Del Monte Foods corporation for use in a UK fruit juice ad. The music videos for “Trippin’ on Sunshine”, “Sex on the Streets” [here] and “Happiness” were all directed by Michael Dominic.

There are at least four Pizzaman mixes of the music. A chant of “Clap your hands” provides the background, and of course the intention is to celebrate sex on the streets. In the video, the preacher is mocked, and then joins in the celebration.

The D then found a long Mike Ski trance version, under the title “1974”, with the Van Impe dub repeated several times. It’s all in the beat, as in fact the Van Impe goes on to say:

It isn’t just the lyrics, it’s the beat! I preached it to my conversion story which you can get how this beat gets them 400 teenage girls in Detroit interviewed as to why they had illegitimate babies, they said ‘not just the words, the beat.’ The fertility rites of the jungles are the same beats incorporated in this modern rock, to stir them up.

There are at least three more versions, each available in several mixes: by DJ Josh Blackwell & Miss Babayaga DJ; by DJ Martello; and by Shaun Baker & Marc van Linden. These differ in how the music is structured, how much of Van Impe’s words there is in them, who delivers those words, and how much else is going on (a chant of “Sex on the streets” figures in some of them).

All the versions use heavy-beat repetitions of rhythmic figures, melodic figures, and snatches of words to convey the thrusting rituals of sex. So far as I know, no one has been inspired by this music to have sex on the streets. But there’s a general feeling in it that sex on the streets would be a great thing. (“Let’s do it in the road!”)

[No, I don’t have any real insight into whatever subtle differences there might be between on the streets vs. in the streets, not to mention on the street vs. in the street. (Sometimes the differences are reasonably clear, as in Kim was standing on the street vs. Kim was standing in the street, in American English. But other differences are less clear, as with having sex on/in the streets.) Or on the details of British vs. American usage, some of which are well known, but some of which might also be subtle.]

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