Meat on the Radio

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Exploring the relationship between meat and popular music is something you’d only find in Meatpaper. That’s why we love it so much. In the latest issue Tony Michels tackles that juicy history and insists that “meat has always fed music.” He writes:

Indeed, the history of American popular music, in its entirety, may be traced through beef, poultry, and pork. The history of rock ‘n’ roll bears out my claim. Scholars have yet to ascertain the precise number of songs about meat recorded in the 1950s and early 1960s, but a safe estimate would run into the hundreds and perhaps thousands. Any complete repertoire needed at least one song about hot dogs, pulkes, fatback, or ribs. A crowing achievement of the early rock ‘n’ roll era was the Starliters’ hit “Hot Pastrami with Mashed Potatoes,” arguably the most eloquent paean to smoked meats ever performed. Pigmeat Markham and Sleepy LaBeef, who were among the earliest singers to adopt meat-themed monikers, further consolidated the alliance between meat and music. Alas, meat, like all things, is cyclical. With the rise of the counterculture in the late 1960s, animal flesh temporarily lost its appeal. Mind-bending sounds were in; sausages and tube steaks were out.

Michels goes on to discuss the punk revival of meat rock in the ’70s and the magazine also features a menu unearthed from a New York restaurant. It’s a “deli menu” organized into Poultry Albums, Poultry Songs, Meat Songs, Bands/Musicians, Meat Albums, and Little Bites. We can’t bring you that, but you can listen to Joey Dee and the Starliters. Do you have a favorite meat-themed song?

Source: Meatpaper (article not available online)

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