Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)

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"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) - Reunion.jpg
Single by Reunion
B-side"Are You Ready to Believe"
ReleasedSeptember 1974
Length3:40 (avg)
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Norman Dolph
Producer(s)Norman Dolph
Reunion singles chronology
"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
Joey Levine in concert. Taken on May 17, 2008.

"Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" is a 1974 song by an ad hoc group of studio musicians called Reunion, with Joey Levine (bubblegum music pioneer with "Chewy Chewy" and "Yummy Yummy Yummy" to his credit) as the lead singer. The song was written by Paul DiFranco (music) and Norman Dolph (lyrics). The lyrics are a fast patter of 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s disc jockeys, musicians, songwriters, record labels, and song titles and lyrics, broken only by the chorus.

Given the various musical icons on the laundry list, the Jack the Ripper mention may be a reference to Link Wray's 1961 instrumental called "Jack the Ripper", or to Screaming Lord Sutch, who released at least 2 albums with a Jack the Ripper theme, and a 1963 cover of the 1961 single of the same name by Clarence Stacy.

The song's outro quotes "Baby I Need Your Loving" by The Four Tops, "Celebrate" by Three Dog Night, "I Want to Take You Higher" by Sly and the Family Stone, and "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" by Stevie Wonder.

It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and reached No. 33 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The track was later covered by Tracey Ullman in 1983, and was featured in her 1984 album, You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.

Chart performance[edit]


This song was remade by Randy Crenshaw and released on 2001 Disney album Mickey's Dance Party under the name "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me...Again!)" The remake includes references not just to current and past music groups, but also to TV shows and internet slang, and some Disney characters.

A "customized" version of the song, "Life Is a Rock, but 'CFL Rolled Me" was the last rock and roll song played on the Larry Lujack show on WCFL in Chicago[6] on March 15, 1976, before the station switched from Top 40 to beautiful music format. Rival AM station WLS had their own version ("Life Is a Rock, WLS Rolled Me"). The WLS version was the first song played on WLS-FM when the famous callsign returned to the station in 2008, now airing a classic hits format. In 1974, radio station KFRC in San Francisco also aired a "customized" version of the song, titled "Life Is a Rock (But KFRC Rolled Me)," with an extra verse naming all of the station's personalities at the time. The verse was sung by KFRC's afternoon personality, Chuck Buell.[7] 980, WRC in Washington, DC also had a customized version that was played on the air[8] (this actually was common among the big Top 40 AMs of the day with special copies cut for their station).

In 1988 McDonald's produced a jingle heavily influenced by the song for its "$1,000,000 Menu Song" promotion. The McDonald's recording, with an identical melody and a rapidly spoken list of menu offerings recited in an identical monotone pitch and rhythm, was released as a mass giveaway in the form of a 33-1/3 RPM flexible plastic single.[9][10]

Name checks[edit]

The 45-rpm single version fades out here. The extended album version continues, with the following references:

Performed as medley or spoken over the fade-out:


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 459. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ "RPM – Library and Archives Canada | RPM – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada". December 7, 1974. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "Music lyrics, charts, Games, & more". Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (September 13, 2017). "Image : RPM Weekly".
  6. ^ Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory Collection!. Reelradio. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  7. ^ The Big 610 – KFRC San Francisco – Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Life Is A Rock But The Radio Rolled Me – WRC Version". May 22, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2016 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ YouTube video featuring audio of McDonald's "$1,000,000 Menu Song (1988)."
  10. ^ Photo of McDonald's $1,000,000 Menu Song (1988).