Your great granddaddy's Mitch:
Think “Yellow Rose of Texas.”
The official Dell rat Mitch:
Think "Sock it to Me-Baby!"
Influenced by flamboyant showmen like Little Richard and James Brown, white R&B party starter Mitch Ryder challenged rocker Ted Nugent for the title of Motor City Madman. Mitch was one of the principal players on the mid 60's Dell scene. In December of 1965 the blue-eyed soul shouter and his Detroit Wheels rolled into the Dell packing heat. They kept the joint jumpin' throughout 1966 and into the spring of '67.
In the beginning, you had to be a masochist to go around uttering the phrase sock it to me because to sock someone meant to hit them, or to administer a beating.
not to me,"
As time went by the urban slang expression took on new meaning. Being the sockee was no longer a bad thing, it was a good thing...in some cases a very good thing.
I always thought that the use of
sock it to me on the hit TV series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in, a command usually followed by a pie
in the face or a drenching with a bucket of water,
was the earliest
use of the phrase in mainstream media.
I assumed that the popular Laugh-in expression was the inspiration for the
Mitch Ryder song
“Sock it to Me-Baby!’
As it turned out I was putting the cart before the horse.
It only added to my confusion when I remembered Aretha Franklin singing sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me in her hit song “Respect.” I wondered if Lady Soul's sock it to me ad lib predated Mitch Ryder’s use of the phrase. Keep in mind that Otis Redding's original version of "Respect," released in September of 1965, used the words
"give it to me." When I checked into the actual chronology
of events I determined that Mitch Ryder used the phrase first. His “Sock it to Me-Baby!" single started climbing the Billboard chart on February 4th, 1967. On Valentine's Day
ten days later Aretha recorded "Respect" and made use of the sock it to me expression. The pilot episode of “Laugh-in” came last in September of 1967.
It doesn’t matter who’s on first or what’s on second. The fact is that "Sock It To Me-Baby!" cranked it up a notch at the Dell during the winter of 1967. At position #45, it is the highest ranking of four songs by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels to make my Shady Dell Top 200 hit list.
Contributing to the song's popularity were the nebulous lyrics. My friends and I were convinced that we had another “Louie Louie” on our hands because it sounded to us like there was at least one very naughty word near the beginning of the song and Mitch punched it. Along with provocative, possibly dirty lyrics that got the record banned by several radio stations, "Sock..." boasted other key elements that
Dell vikings loved - a frenetic beat and Ryder’s shouting
Got time to join me for a Mitch Ryder block party? Here they are, the vinyl four...the high voltage dance records that kept the Dell gang singing along with Mitch in the mid 60's!
“Jenny Take A Ride” (December '65)
“Little Latin Lupe Lu” (March '66)
“Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly” (October '66)
“Sock It To Me-Baby!” (February '67)
Is “Sock it to Me-Baby!’ Shady Del's Pick to Click?
Got an itch for even more Mitch? Gotcha covered, my friend!
Here's a bonus toe-tapper for your listening pleasure:
Have a Shady day!
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