Reunion – Life Is A Rock

Gary: “I recently revised an old Post dealing the pre-teen culture called ‘Bubble Gum Music‘.  Russ seemed to think I did a good job, well thanks, it’s just something that gets in my head and I know I have to change or do something about it, I just cannot let it sit there.  I would be remiss if I did not add this one song to it the Bubble Gum subject because it is always in my head – well it’s in and has been for the last week. 

Was it Bubble Gum? Probably not, but one-hit, definitely, all studio people, you got it, Well actually the lead singer of this group was also the lead in the Ohio Express and ‘Yummy, Yummy, Yummy’, ‘Down at Lulu’s‘, ‘Chewy Chewy’ and so on. 

Now the song ‘Life is A Rock’ sat on the shelf for two years before, in 1974, it hit #8 on BB.  It’s the lyrics that stuck in my head, the tune, very catchy, the recording, well done (all studio people) and producer Joey Levine was the lead singer.  It was actually the song-writing partnership of Paul DiFranco, Norman Dolph and producer Joey Levine.  But for me and everyone else it was the lyrics and trying to figure out who or what was mentioned. 

So, here tonight, the song, the lyrics (so there will be no more questions or wondering) and a video of…

Joey Levine
.
Life is a Rock (but the radio rolled me)
B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers
Lonnie Mack and twangin’ Eddy, here’s my ring we’re goin’ steady
Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire
Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction
Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin’ hotter
Sammy’s cookin’, Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story
Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama
Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry
Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin’
.
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie
.
FM, AM, hits are clickin’ while the clock is tock-a-tickin’
Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations
Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin’
Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can’t stop now, I got the shivers
Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary
Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper
Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter
Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses
Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it
.
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie
.
Arthur Janov’s primal screamin’, Hawkins, Jay and
Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla
Denver, John and Osmond, Donny
JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah
David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider
Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders
Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah
Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda
Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy
CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others
.
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie
.
spoken:
Listen–remember, they’re playing our song!
Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me
Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,
Make it bad and play it funky.
(Wanna take you higher!)

Video:

This video gives you all of the picture (very RCA) it was their venture /
.

‘Reunion’ was a studio group created around songwriters Norman Dolph and Paul DiFranco, which scored one US Top 10 single in 1974 with the novelty song ‘Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)’.

The group had already released a number of singles on RCA Records with no luck when writer/producer DiFranco approached writer/singer Joey Levine to work on the song which ultimately became their only hit.

The song had been written two years previously but had remained unfinished. Levine, Dolph and DiFranco took final writing credit and it was recorded in a bubblegum style (Levine had success writing hit songs in the 60s for studio bubblegum outfits such as the Ohio Express, and was a member of the Third Rail).

Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)’ reached number 8 in the US in late 1974 but further releases under the Reunion name failed to chart. They did not record any albums and the project was soon shelved.

Joey Levine (born May 29, 1947, New York CityUnited States) is an American singer, songwriter and record producer of pop music, who has been active since 1966.

Career

He sang lead vocals on several charted Top 40 singles, including “Run Run Run” by The Third Rail (1966), “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and three others by The Ohio Express (1968 – 1969), “Quick Joey Small” by Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus (1968), and the record that best showcased his rapid speech delivery, “Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion (1974). He specialized in what was known as bubblegum pop.

Levine produced records for Super K Productions, run by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz, who released many singles in the late 1960s by The Ohio Express, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, and The Music Explosion.

Levine sang lead for various groups of studio musicians, whose songs were released under the name of actual groups of musicians, or sometimes the groups did not exist at all outside the studio.

Starting in the early 1970s, Levine began working on jingles for television commercials, as well as singing on them, with one of his most well-remembered jingles being “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds and Almond Joy chocolate bars.

Levine founded Crushing Enterprises in New York City in 1969, and continues to write music for commercials and television. Popular campaigns from the past include:

  • “Pepsi – The Joy Of Cola”,
  • “Gentlemen Prefer Hanes”,
  • “Just For the Taste of It – Diet Coke”,
  • “Orange you smart, (for drinking Orange Juice)”,
  • “Come See the Softer Side of Sears”,
  • “Heartbeat of America – Chevy”,
  • “Dr Pepper – You Make the World Taste Better”,
  • “You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota,”
  • “Who’s that Kid With the Oreo Cookie,” and
  • “This Bud’s For You” for Anheuser-Busch.

Most recently he wrote the current Budweiser anthem, “This Is Budweiser, This Is Beer.” In addition, Levine has also contributed songs, some of them with his 1960’s bubblegum pop sound, to the PBS series Dragon Tales.

–o–
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