Rock’n’roll, pop music, whatever you want to call it, has gone through a lot of changes in the 50+ years that it’s been with us. But here’s something a little different to think about.
Have you ever considered the etymology of the vinyl record? The way songs from differing ages use different spellings and punctuation? It’s a minor detail, small beans: but I bet (and hope!) that someone, somewhere is planning a dissertation on it.
Sometime in the 1950s, it seems, the fledgling teenagers got very excited about the word ‘yeah’. What rebels! But for a short period, this was oddly spelled ‘yeh’. Georgie Fame’s hit used both spellings – search through some car boot sales and you might find a copy of ‘Yeh, Yeh’ and another of ‘Yeah, Yeah’ (they’re both worth the same amount of money – so don’t get too excited.
Up to the mid sixties, or so, question marks seemed out of the question. ‘Baby, Where Did Our Love Go’ has no query at the end. And don’t even think about writing US. It’s U.S. right? Those dots need to be in there.
1980s metal gave us lots of ‘K’ and ‘Z’ for ‘C’ and ‘S’. And ‘Y’ for ‘I’. Cirkus, Tygertailz, etc. This carried on through New Wave and Punk, of course. Fingerprintz anyone?
Prince gave us the ‘U’ for ‘You’ shortcut, and ‘4’ for ‘For’. And there are more, of course. Many more.
What can we conclude from this? Not a lot. It’s just another little thing to think about along the incredible journey through the present and past that pop, rock, whatever, allows us to embark upon.
But sometimes I wonder what future cultural historians will make of us 70s kids when they get hold of some Slade singles… Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me indeed.