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Weekend Songs: Electric Light Orchestra, ‘Rockaria!’

Classic rock is about heavy hooks, power chords and tight harmonies. But it’s also about letting loose and enjoying the good times. And there’s no better time for that than Friday evening, when we pick up our paycheck, punch out of work and enjoy a couple days of much-needed rest and relaxation.

As much as we love rock around here, we aren’t completely uncultured. Every now and then, we don’t mind adding a dash of classical strings to our Marshall stacks, and that’s when we turn to our old friends in the Electric Light Orchestra. While their melding of big rock beats with string arrangements happened to coincide with the disco movement, it was always more about Rachmaninoff than Donna Summer, and our latest Weekend Song offers fist-pumping proof.

The third cut on 1976’s ‘A New World Record,’ ‘Rockaria!’ tells the tongue-in-cheek story of a lustful young Lothario who’s eager to do a little rock ‘n’ rolling with the opera-singing object of his affection. Worried that “she ain’t ready” for the rock, he complains that “She’s sweet on Wagner / I think she’d die for Beethoven / She loves the way Puccini lays down a tune / And Verdi’s always creeping from her room.” But much to his surprise, she’s ready and willing — in fact, she tells him to show up at the opera house for a little education of his own.

And do things end well for our hero? Of course they do. He and his sweetheart end up making such sweet harmony — complete with an orchestra “playin’ all Chuck Berry‘s greatest tunes” — that the entire town (including possibly the mayor) comes running to the opera house so they can join in the fun. Their love is unlikely, perhaps, but as the last line of the song says, “It’s all right.”

So step outside of your comfort zone this weekend, UCR faithful — you never know when you might end up stumbling into the experience of a lifetime. And while you’re getting ready for that five o’clock whistle to blow, go ahead and press play on that video at the top, crank up your volume and let the weekend start now.

Next: Down from the Glen Come the Marching Men

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