|Single by Ray Stevens|
|from the album Boogity Boogity|
|B-side||"You've Got the Music Inside"|
|Released||March 27, 1974|
|Genre||Country, novelty, comedy|
|Ray Stevens singles chronology|
"The Streak" is a popular country/novelty song written, produced, and sung by Ray Stevens. It was released in March 1974 as the lead single to his album Boogity Boogity. "The Streak" capitalized on the then-popular craze of streaking. In 2007 Cledus T. Judd covered "The Streak" on his album Boogity Boogity - A Tribute to the Comic Genius of Ray Stevens.
One of Stevens' most successful recordings, "The Streak" was his second number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the USA, spending three weeks at the top in May 1974 and reached #3 on the Billboard Country singles chart. A major international hit, it also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, spending a single week at the top of the chart in June 1974. In total it sold over five million copies internationally and ranked on Billboard magazine's top hits of 1974 at number 8.
Stevens has stated that he first got the idea for the song while reading a news magazine on an airplane. The magazine included a brief item about streaking, and Stevens thought that it was a "great idea for a song" and started writing notes for the song and later wrote some lines after returning home from his trip, but did not complete the song at that time. Some time later, Stevens says, he "woke up and it was all over the news. Everywhere you turned, people were talking about streakers." Stevens then rushed to complete and record the song and have it released. According to Stevens, there were already 15 other songs released about streaking by the time his was released, and there ended up being 35 to 40 such records in all.
Each of the three verses starts with a news reporter, played by Stevens, commenting on a streaking incident somewhere around town, and trying to interview one of the witnesses, who always turns out to be the same man, also played by Stevens. A slide whistle can be heard throughout the song. The witness tells what he saw and relates how he tried to warn his wife, Ethel, not to look ("Don't look, Ethel!"), but is always too late. After each interview, a chorus is sung by multiple voices; the chorus is the only part of the song that is actually sung; the rest is spoken. After the third interview, the man sees the streaker again, but to his horror the streaker is joined by his wife, and the man changes his tune: "Ethel, you shameless hussy!", as well as "You get your clothes on!", and "Say it isn't so, Ethel!".
The music video for "The Streak" takes place at a grocery store, a gas station, and a high school gym. Ray Stevens plays a reporter and Ethel's husband. An animated version of The Streak is featured. A live action version of The Streak is briefly seen. In the end everyone joins The Streak and animated versions of Ethel and The Streak are shown. The video ends with one of the cast members scolding Ray for allowing people to trample her when they chose to streak. As Ray Stevens gives her a mocking look the screen fades to black.
In 2013 Ray Stevens performed a remix version of "The Streak" live in concert.
- Michael Kosser (2006), How Nashville became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 years of Music Row, Books.google.co.uk, ISBN 9780634098062, retrieved 2014-03-27
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 301. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (updated and expanded 5th ed.). Billboard Books. p. 365. ISBN 0823076776. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
- Video on YouTube
- Ray Stevens - The Streak (Live Remix)
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1974