Apr 072016

Let’s take the title first. Are there such things as telephone operators nowadays? Can you dial “0” and get a phone number or assistance with a call? Who knows? And when’s the last time you’ve done it?

And I’m sure there are phone booths…somewhere…

And those lines,

Thank you for your time, ah, you’ve been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime

Who remembers when a phone call was a dime?

What other references in old rock ‘n roll songs would baffle millennials?

(Bonus points for someone who can tell me what things like these are called. Neither my memory nor Google is helping.)


  14 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Song References That Time Forgot”

  1. I’m curious to see, among other things, what the most recently expired reference is going to be.

    For starters…my mind is a blank at the moment, or should I say a raging mess, as I struggle with a document that won’t stop crashing.

  2. cliff sovinsanity

    Do young British men still refer to women as “birds”??

    If so I nominate “Norwegian Wood” for “..this bird has flown”.
    And though it might be against the rules of “Borgarting the thread” I’m adding “And Your Bird Can Sing” because it will get mentioned anyways.

  3. H. Munster

    “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

    “I want a hula hoop.”

  4. tonyola

    In this day of automotive electronic fuel injection, electronic traction control and near-mandatory automatic transmissions, I wonder how many young people can relate to…
    “My four speed dual quad posi-traction 409”.

  5. Yes, that’s a great example! I didn’t understand all that stuff when those parts were in cars, but now that stuff must be completely foreign to all but neo-rockabilly gearheads.

  6. Suburban kid

    Chuck Berry wrote in You Never Can Tell that “the coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale.”

    I’m guessing TV dinners and ginger ale still have a niche market, but the Coolerator brand of ice boxes went out of business in 1954.

  7. BigSteve

    Do youngsters even know what telegrams is? Here’s a clip of The Five Americans playing (not miming) their hit Western Union on the Steve Allen show, complete with lame introduction from the host:


    Jerry Butler’s Hey Western Union Man is a much cooler record:


  8. tonyola

    Maybe telegrams are of a time long past but Western Union is still big for money orders, cash transfers, and the like.

  9. See-saws barely exist in this litigated age, so what’s to be made of “See-Saw” and “Ride My See-Saw”?

  10. Another phone one? What about R.E.M.’s Star 69 — now with caller ID does *69 even work anymore? Always a concert in highlight in the 90s. https://youtu.be/K1dLr9uyfM0

  11. Just last week some students were asking me about TV dinners.

    I referred them to ZZ Top


  12. BigSteve

    The Iceman by Dick Curless:


    When did ice delivery and ice boxes go out of style, the 50s? I know when I was growing up electric refrigerators were still called iceboxes.

    This kind of off color comedy record with dubbed in canned laughter, I believe they were called party records, lasted into the 70s, I believe.

  13. Not many people these days go down to the old mine with a transistor radio.

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