Oct 172011

The family and I were driving home from a dinner out the other night when Steve Miller Band‘s “Rock ‘n Me” (I had no idea that was the song’s actual title until just now, always figuring it was “Keep on Rocking Me, Baby”) came on the radio. I reached for the dial, mumbling “There’s no need to ever hear that song again.”

My wife loves Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits. She will forever give Miller’s catchy, airheaded hits a free pass. “Why’d you change that?” she asked, when I went back to the Classic Rock station, after realizing the radio had nothing better to offer. “You know I like that song.”

“That song’s taking business away from BTO‘s ‘Takin’ Care of Business’,” I replied, “there not room enough for two songs so stupid. One of them has got to go!”

So which dumb-ass 3-chord song gets chopped, “Rock ‘n Me” or “Takin’ Care of Business”?


  64 Responses to “SHOWDOWN: There’s Not Room Enough for Two Songs So Stupid”

  1. machinery

    No contest. BTO has got to go.

  2. tonyola

    Steve Miller has always been competent and tuneful, plus he has a pleasant singing voice. Maybe he stopped trying hard beginning with 1973’s The Joker, but that didn’t mean he stopped being able to put a song across.

    BTO sing and play just like they look – fat, sloppy, hairy, and dumb. Willfully and determinedly mediocre.

    I’ll sit still for “Rock’n Me”, but I scramble for the mute button when I hear “Takin’ Care of Business”. BTO gets the boot.

  3. Sure, Miller’s often a “competent” singer, but I think his singing is AWFUL on “Rock ‘n Me.” Bobby and Jerry were laughing when they heard that performance. I’m shocked that two of you, so far, are giving BTO’s dumb-ass song the boot. I’m confident that 2K will back me – and then you and my wife will be sorry. (For what it’s worth, my teenage son also stands behind me.)

  4. tonyola

    You’re kidding, right? There’s nothing really wrong with Miller’s singing on “Rock’n Me”. Is he really worse than the near-bellowing of the three notes that BTO’s singer has to manage on “Business”? It’s a stupid song sang stupidly – a perfect fit. Miller might have spent a few hours on his song, but BTO sound like they tossed their tune off in 15 minutes.

  5. tonyola

    Having read my last sentence, I realize that “toss off” has a different meaning in the UK – i.e. wanking. That fits perfectly in BTO’s case.

  6. 2000 Man

    15 minutes with yourself? Impressive!

  7. 2000 Man

    I’m on Team BTO. So what if it’s dumb? If I want to get smarter I’ll go to Book Town Hall and talk to someone about Russion poetry.

    I don’t like Rock N’ Me (or however it’s supposed to be spelled). I can get behind things like The Joker and pretty much everything else on Fly Like an Eagle, but Rock N’ Me just fills up space and never goes anywhere.

    Takin’ Care of Business is great. Big, fat, ham fisted chords. Lyrics just dumb enough to remember and just smart enough to be funny at times. BTO is great for drinking beer, no matter how lunkheaded they seem. On a cool BTO side note, I saw some people discussing audiophile classic rock records the other day, and a guy mentioned BTO’s Not Fragile. That’s always the first thing I think of, because that record really sounds fantastic, so I was surprised to see someone else mention it. Then three more people chimed in and said it sounded great, too. So if Takin’ Care of Business isn’t your speed, get Not Fragile instead and listen to You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet instead.

  8. 2000 Man

    Haha. Russion. That’s like Russian fission or something. See, no wonder I like BTO!

  9. Happiness Stan

    In the UK BTO have only ever popped their hairy heads over the parapet long enough to entertain us with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (I don’t even remember seeing second-hand copies of their albums in amongst the multiples of “Frampton Comes Alive” when I used to frequent junk shops in the seventies and eighties, so either they remain treasured artefacts never to be parted from or they never made it over in the first place), which I quite like, although I prefer John Otway and Attilla the Stockbroker’s version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-49359fkxU

  10. No, I’m not kidding. I don’t think a white man can sing with any less conviction than Miller does on his number. I prefer the bellowing of BTO. If you’re gonna be dumb, be proud of it!

  11. Happiness Stan

    A phrase which seems to have slipped from popular useage in recent times, unless I’m so old that I don’t think about it much any more these days.

  12. “I’m on Team BTO. So what if it’s dumb? If I want to get smarter I’ll go to Book Town Hall and talk to someone about Russian poetry.”

    That is genius!

    But as for me, I don’t hate or love either song, I’m just sick of hearing both. Probably less sick of Steve Miller so I voted to 86 BTO in the poll.

    Confession: my college band used to play Taking Care of Business. When all of the instruments would drop out except for the drums, we would come back in with a verse of Livin’ After Midnight. That’s just how Rock we were.

  13. I trust that mwall will back me in saving TCB. I’m not so sure which way HVB will blow, but I’m hoping it’s the right way.

  14. Taking Care of Business is way too jock-rock for my tastes. And the singer sounds like he’s singing through his nose.

  15. cherguevara

    This is like trying to choose between poop and vomit.

  16. BigSteve

    I’m totally in the pro-BTO camp here. Miller’s exquisitely recorded trifles always give me a bad vibe. He’s slumming. BTO never pretended to be anything but meat&potatoes rock, and their catchiness sneaks up on you.

  17. “It’s as easy as fishin’, you can be a musician”

    You can’t chop a line like that, get rid of “Rockin me”.

  18. cherguevara

    He’s slumming? So “Abracadabra” was part of his “Ring Cycle?”

  19. If this doesn’t heal our slight rift over Nick Lowe’s latest album I don’t know what will. That means a lot, brother.

  20. Ha! A future poll: What’s most severe, dr john’s hatred of jocks, hrrundivbakshi’s hatred of hippies, or Mr. Moderator’s hatred of an otherwise civil, intelligent musical society in which rockin’ jocks and hippies are openly derided?

  21. tonyola

    Miller had been slumming since 1973. Also, Randy Bachman was slumming in BTO – they were far inferior to the Guess Who.

  22. tonyola

    Eh, Journey was beautifully recorded and produced too – their major albums are “audiophile” quality. Doesn’t mean I want to listen to them.

  23. tonyola

    Your strange and irrational distaste for Groucho Marx wins hands down on the severity level.

  24. misterioso

    I’m takin’ care of business by kicking BTO’s asses out the door.

  25. Please get beyond all prejudices, if you can (and I speak to all Townspeople on this matter), and see if you can’t make the reasonable choice to delete one of these two dumb-ass songs from the airwaves. Thank you.

  26. tonyola

    Sorry, but as of 2:06 PM EDT, you’re losing.

  27. Get rid of that Steve Miller crap. The BTO song is an appealingly Butt-headed number, with funny self referential lyrics and a charmingly clumsy early 70’s groove. A few months back, the checker at my supermarket had to stop ringing my order to join in on the “Whoo!” at the beginning of the break down section.

    I never got post-Joker Steve Miller at all. The songs were beyond pointless. The shiny but shitty, dense grooves sound like a machine, and not in a good way. I’d definitely take “Livin’ in the USA” by Miller over BTO, but I wouldn’t take any of his mid-70’s radio hits over silence.

  28. BigSteve

    Btw I think the BTO clip has appeared on RTH before, and one of the things I find amusing is that Randy Bachman is playing this hockey jersey music while dressed like something out of the Arabian Nights. The 70s strike again!

  29. Mmm, I smell a Pyrrhic victory in the works.

  30. I was ready to back up Steve Miller and then I had a change of heart. TKOB stays to fight another day as the “meat-head of rock”…let it lumber on!

  31. hrrundivbakshi

    Steve said:

    …one of the things I find amusing is that Randy Bachman is playing this hockey jersey music while dressed like something out of the Arabian Nights.

    I say:


  32. 2000 Man

    Yeah, but of all the bands you’d never think audiophiles would gush about, BTO has to be right on the top of the list. I mean, those guys like Supertramp and Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms.

  33. 2000 Man

    That’s pretty damned Rock. I bet it was loud, too.

  34. The badness of “Takin’ Care of Business” is big, sloppy, bold, memorable badness. The song grabs space and hangs onto it. It’s also definitive for its bloozy era.

    The Miller song: more bland, more competent, less offensive. A few minutes lost from life.

    Clear advantage: BTO.

  35. 2000 Man

    I think Abracadabra is poop and vomit.

  36. TCOB is the better song, easily. I too hate the energy- and charisma-free cocaine boogie of this era of Steve Miller. However, on YouTube I’m pretty sure you can find a hilariously idiotic live version of “Jet Airliner” that I was fascinated with when VH1 Classic first came out and showed it non-stop.

  37. alexmagic

    Mod, someone in this thread has given you a clue towards an argument that you could use to win this for BTO. I’ll leave it for you to find it. For now, the poll is tied and I will give this more thought before I cast what may be the deciding vote.

    But some questions for you, Mod, that I need you to answer truthfully and from the heart:
    -Did you at least let “Rock ‘n Me” play long enough to get to the first “Phil-a-DEL-feee-yaatlanta-El-Ayyy” line? If not, why not? If so, how did that make you feel?

    -What does Miller’s “But my woman is a friend of mine” line mean?

    -Does the fact that BTO let “Takin’ Care of Business” become associated with a Jim Belushi movie impact your enjoyment of the song at all?

    -Is there any merit at all to Randy Bachman’s advice on how easy it is to be a self-employed musician?

    -Is there a funnier back story to any song in the history of rock than there is for TCOB, which sees Randy Bachman trying to write his own version of “Paperback Writer” and playing it for Burton Cummings, and Burton Cummings’ reaction being that he wa “ashamed of Randy” for this ur-Takin’ Care of Business?

  38. 1. I was made to listen to it all the way through, at high volume. My wife wanted to make a point. I always feel pride on the line citing our hometown, nothing changes that.

    2. I think it means Miller still had the slightest bit of interest in his woman when he wasn’t laying down airtight, mindless mult-track smash hits, some of which I’m totally fine with. This is all about “Rock ‘n Me.”

    3. I had no idea Jim Belushi and TCB had any link. That bums me out, but I’m wholly focused on the SHOWDOWN between these two lame-ass songs.

    4. If so I mustn’t have paid close enough attention to it.

    5. I had no idea. That is funny, although not as funny as the Arabian Nights outfit BigSteve pointed out.

  39. 2000 Man

    The problem with Rock N’ Me is that you can’t remember how it starts, nor can you remember how (or if) it ends. TCOB is dumb as all get out, but it’s still funny. I think it’s perfect for a Jim Belushi movie. Jim Belushi is dumb, too. I bet he makes a movie called Rock N’ Me someday, where he doesn’t try to do anything funny and he attempts to be serious.

  40. tonyola

    Sure it’s easy to remember how “Rock’n Me” begins. Just think of the opening lick for Free’s “All Right Now”. As I said elsewhere, Steve wasn’t trying very hard by 1976. As for Jim Belushi, was he ever funny?

  41. ladymisskirroyale


  42. ladymisskirroyale

    I’m in the I Heart Steve Miller camp: He’s cute, it’s a catchy song, I like his voice, AND he mentions PHX where I spent a good portion of my life.

    Now, Mod, own up – your selection of videos was trying to influence the judges. If you really wanted to be fair, you would have had included a BTO video of a bunch of please-go-eat-a-cookie girls gyrating to the song. My point: that video wouldn’t exist! No gal wants to dance to TCOB! That’s a fist pumper, that’s all.

  43. ladymisskirroyale

    If you had included this, we would have had a fair fight:

  44. 2000 Man

    Oh, yeah! But it sounds like if the band from Dancing With The Stars was playing it. I’m pretty sure Jim Belushi has never been funny, but he makes his special face for the camera when he tries to be. You know, th eone where he looks like he just got kicked in the nuts, but then remembered he was wearing a cup and it didn’t hurt after all.

  45. 2000 Man

    Hey, I remember girls dancing to BTO. We roller skated to them, too. That was when tube tops were popular. Was there ever a more hit or miss fashion statement than a tube top?

  46. hrrundivbakshi

    The tube top is one of those garments that — if you’ve got the goods — cannot be improved upon. Sorry for bringing this forum down to a pretty sorry level, but when my fellow townsmen start raggin’ on the tee-tee, I gotta bring the pain.

    Your sincerely,


  47. hrrundivbakshi

    And by the way, anybody who can’t see all that is BEAUTIFUL about that BTO clip needs to get a check-up from the neck-up. Seriously, what’s not to like?

    – Drummer guy, who always looked like the guy who tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and fell in through the doorway of the first BTO practice (the band, not wanting to get upstaged in the looks department, simply said, “you’re hired!”) — enjoying his moment in the 70s stadium sun, exhorting the Vancouverites to clap and stomp with wild abandon

    – Bass player guy in his dairy cow-skin shirt and Rickenbacker 4001 bass

    – Randy Bachman and his mostly tuneless voice — one of my favorite, underpowered, underappreciated singing weapons in any band, at any time

    – The sheer 70s “rock concert”-ness of it all. I’ve been meaning to start a discussion, somehow, that touches on what’s gone missing in today’s rock performances versus what seems to have existed 40 years ago. Seriously, the “rock concert”: is that thing gone forever?


  48. hrrundivbakshi

    For the record: if I have to pick, it’s Bee-Tee-Ohhh all the WAY!

  49. Thank you for the best laugh of my day. AND for choosing the right song to save from The Cutter.

  50. If push comes to shove, Miller goes, BTO stays….but, since when did there become so little room for stupidity in Rock and/or Roll, that we’d be forced to make such a decision? I always found it to be, if anything, one of its merits.

  51. BigSteve

    Yes, I think Bachman’s voice is key. Think of everything you know about this band, especially what you see, and you would guess the singing would be some kind of caveman bellow, but it’s not. His singing voice is kind of a nerdy everyman. I love it when he sings “and working overtime.” I don’t know why. Sometimes I let my finely tuned critical faculties take a vacation and just enjoy rock’s simple pleasures.

    And where in the world would you buy that heifer on acid outfit the bass player is wearing?

  52. WELCOME TO THE ESTABLISHMENT, my friend. Help yourself to a cigar.

  53. tonyola

    You can hear Bachman bellow like a caveman all the way through “Let It Ride” and “Roll On Down the Highway”.

  54. tonyola

    Yep, it took the right look to get away with the tube top. But when it works, yeow!

  55. mockcarr

    Eh, BTO, if I gotta. It’s like choosing Jeff Daniels over Jim Carrey in that damned movie, does it mean I have to watch it?

  56. I am SO down with “Let It Ride.” That may be the fattest song in rock, and I don’t use the term “fattest” in hip-hop sense.

  57. Not at all, the goal is to ELIMINATE the most pointless of these similarly space-hogging songs from the airwaves.

  58. 2000 Man

    That’s not Randy, though. those are CF turner singing (I know he went by Fred later, but CF is better). He’s the bass player in the half a cowhide suit. The man singing those songs is the kind of man that can drive a big truck, fish with a bow and arrow and crush beer cans on Ted Nugent’s head.

  59. cherguevara

    There’s a lot of truth there. We should be pushing some brainiac, chin-scratching math-rock out of the halls.

  60. patrock

    my god …..so much hi-hat!!!

    which song is shorter?

    I’m leaning toward a Bachman Turner Overweight victory

  61. bostonhistorian

    TCOB stays. Steve Miller has plenty of other songs to fall back on, but when BTO plays a three song set at a country fair/dog show/ice cream social, what are they gonna do if TCOB isn’t there?

  62. jeangray

    Yes! For the win.

  63. jeangray

    Does it matter that Bachman re-recorded TCOB with Dread Zeppelin?

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