Rocky by Austin Roberts (Private Stock, 1975)

From the get-out-of-my-house-the-party’s-over vault comes this Top 10 gem from 1975. What did songs like this and Run Joey Run say about us as a society? Had we been beaten down by the atrocities of the Vietnam War that we became emotional punching bags, wherein any sob story turned us into a human waterfall of tears? Or did we just lose our minds? Remember 1975 is when people bought Pet Rocks by the millions.

I won’t blame Austin Roberts for this one, since he didn’t write it, only sang it. And yes he could have turned it down, but someone else would have recorded it, probably David Geddes. No, I fault the songwriter, Jay Stevens, because no one held a gun to his head and told him to write this. He could have saved us all a lot of grief had just put the pen down. I highly doubt Sylvester Stallone used this song as a muse when he wrote the screenplay for his movie. In fact he probably wrote in spite of that, trying to reclaim the name as a tough guy, an underdog, rather than a tragic loser.

Am I being harsh? Here are the lyrics…you tell me:

Alone until my eighteenth year
We met four springs ago

So Rocky never dated anyone until he was 18.

She was shy and had a fear
Of things she did not know
But we got it on together
In such a super way
We held each other close at night
And traded dreams each day

Sounds like she never dated anyone either. But they lost their virginity together…in a super way.

And she said, “Rocky, I’ve never been in love before
Don’t know if I can do it
But if you let me lean on you
Take my hand, I might get through it”
I said, “Baby, oh sweet baby
It’s love that sets us free
And God knows if the world should end
Your love is safe with me”

So this girl’s confessing that she’s in love and she’s scared. And he comes back to reassure her that should an apocalypse happen that he’ll still love you. I think you’re better to rip off Hallmark cards than freestyle it, Rocky.

We found an old gray house
And you would not believe the way
We worked at night to fix it up
Took classes in the day

Guess they just shacked up and became co-mortgagees. Nothing wrong with that, except for the cryptic mention of day classes. Anybody here have a day job to pay the bank note?

Paintin’ walls and sippin’ wine
Sleepin’ on the floor
With so much love for just two
Soon we found there’d be one more

So in between the paint fumes and jugs of Lambrusco, Rocky forgot to slip on some skin. But hey when you’re young and in love with no job, money or furniture, who cares? The welfare system still works.

I don’t want to go on with lyrics because I’m getting a Balboa-size headache. So basically she goes on to say she doesn’t know how to have a baby, blah blah blah and reassures her with the Rapture or something. But then the cracks begin to show. He talks about the problems they are starting to have, I guess being broke, on welfare, with a baby. But their crazy old year old’s party seems to take their mind off of it for a while. Until…..Rocky’s wife is about to die! And guess what, it’s the chorus and the most painful part of the song – Rocky I’ve never had to die before, don’t know if I can do it. Are you kidding me?

Fast forward to Rocky being alone again, walking alone, sleeping alone. I guess Social Services took the kid away. Rocky is down. He’s about to give in when his dead wife’s voice comforts him with you’ve been alone before, you know that you can do it. How about something like Get a job, make some cash, finish painting the house, get custody of our child and raise her right and find a woman, preferably someone without a terminal disease. Instead she gives him the worst advice a ghost has ever given, save for a Scooby Doo cartoon – get used to be alone, like you were before me. Why oh why did we buy this 45?

If you’re ever bored, put on Steel Magnolias and forward to the part where Shelby is having a party for their kid, turn off the volume and put Rocky on. It synchs up perfectly for a great laugh.

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3 Comments

  1. W.B.

     /  March 10, 2015

    I was familiar with “Rocky” back then . . . but from listening to Dickey Lee’s version on country radio.

    Reply
  2. I wore out my 45 of this song back in the day, I liked it so much. Weird thing though: I was only 6 when it came out and couldn’t possibly have known how depressing a tune it was.

    Reply
  3. becky

     /  October 17, 2017

    So, back around 1977 I worked with Jay Stevens at a Miami radio station where he did PM drive . One day, after we had just finished lunch at a restaurant near the station, he reached into his pocket for his wallet. Along with the wallet, out slipped a loosely folded piece of paper that fell on the floor. I said, “hey you dropped something”. He casually picked it up, looked at it briefly, and put it back in his pocket. “Royalty check for ‘Rocky'” he explained.

    I don’t recall the amount, but it wasn’t chump change. Just sayin’……

    Reply

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