The Streak

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"The Streak"
Ray Stevens - The Streak cover.jpg
Single by Ray Stevens
from the album Boogity Boogity
B-side"You've Got the Music Inside"
ReleasedMarch 27, 1974
Format7" single
GenreCountry, novelty, comedy
Length3:18
LabelBarnaby
Songwriter(s)Ray Stevens
Producer(s)Ray Stevens
Ray Stevens singles chronology
"Love Me Longer"
(1973)
"The Streak"
(1974)
"The Moonlight Special"
(1974)

"The Streak" is a popular country/novelty song written, produced, and sung by Ray Stevens. It was released in March 1974 as the lead single to his album Boogity Boogity. "The Streak" capitalized on the then-popular craze of streaking.[1] In 2007 Cledus T. Judd covered "The Streak" on his album Boogity Boogity - A Tribute to the Comic Genius of Ray Stevens.

One of Stevens' most successful recordings, "The Streak" was his second #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the USA, spending three weeks at the top in May 1974 and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. A major international hit, it also reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart, spending a single week at the top of the chart in June 1974.[2] In total it sold over five million copies internationally and ranked on Billboard′s top hits of 1974 at number 8.

Origin[edit]

Stevens has stated that he first got the idea for the song while reading a news magazine on an airplane. The magazine included a brief item about streaking, and Stevens thought that it was a "great idea for a song" and started writing notes; later he wrote some lines after returning home from his trip, but did not complete the song at that time. Some time later, Stevens says he "woke up and it was all over the news. Everywhere you turned, people were talking about streakers". Stevens then rushed to complete and record the song and have it released. According to Stevens, there were already 15 other songs released about streaking by the time his was released, and there ended up being 35 to 40 such records in all.[3]

Stevens had released the song less than a week before the televised 46th Academy Awards, during which Robert Opel created an uproar after he streaked across the stage behind host David Niven.

Content[edit]

Each of the three verses starts with a news reporter, played by Stevens, reporting on disturbances at a supermarket, a service station, and a high school gymnasium during a basketball playoff. The reporter interviews a witness at each disturbance, who turns out to be the same man every time (also played by Stevens), describing what he saw and how he tried to warn his wife Ethel to avert her eyes ("Don't look, Ethel!"), but is always too late. After each interview, a chorus is sung by multiple voices, though the chorus is the only part of the song that is actually sung while the rest is spoken. After the third interview, the man sees the Streak again, and to his horror, Ethel is streaking too.[4] After each chorus Ray Stevens blows a siren whistle.

Music video[edit]

In 1992, eighteen years after the song's original release, Stevens, using a newly-produced version, starred in a music video of "The Streak" as part of a video album called "Ray Stevens Comedy Video Classics".

The music video remains faithful to the original song's story line, and Stevens again portrays the news reporter and Ethel's husband. An animated version of the Streak (a caricature of Stevens) is featured, while an unidentified actor playing the Streak is briefly shown from the knees down.

The video features "behind the scenes" segments before and after the song: A prim and prudish woman, depicted as being from Standards & Practices (S&P), sternly warns Stevens not to do anything in the video that has to be censored. At the end, after nearly everyone winds up disrobing and joining in with the Streak and (an animated version of) Ethel, the S&P woman, worse for wear, grudgingly admits that Stevens "barely" managed to stay within the confines of decency; after she storms away Stevens looks into the camera and, imitating Ethel's husband, mutters, "Yeah, I did."

Remix[edit]

In 2013, Stevens performed a remix version of "The Streak" live in concert.[5]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Kosser (2006), How Nashville became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 years of Music Row, Books.google.co.uk, p. 96, ISBN 9780634098062
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 301. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (updated and expanded 5th ed.). Billboard Books. p. 365. ISBN 0823076776. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ "Ray Stevens - The Streak (Live)". YouTube. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1974". Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.

External links[edit]