Shake It by Ian Matthews (Mushroom, 1979)

This track made the Top 20 in early 1979 when it seemed like it was a prerequisite to book a sax player for your recording session. Everyone was going after that Gerry Rafferty/Al Stewart money. Or were they just trying to show Richie Cunningham up… Either way Mel Collins of the band Kokomo did the solo on this one.

This song comes off so simple and pleasant, but listen to the lyrics and a pervert lurks beneath. Now I know Ian didn’t write this [it was Terence Boylan] but he agreed to sing it, so I will chide him anyway.

So he starts singing about a girl who’s “ridin’, rollin it down the line, slipping and slidin’, takin her sweet old time“. I can pretend she’s roller skating or something until Ian sings that “she’s gonna show the boy what she really got“. Ok so now I’m thinking of Roller Girl from Boogie Nights. But then she “stops him in the nick of time”, basically a ‘here’s a sample, gotta pay for the rest’ kinda deal.

Now Ian doesn’t come out and directly say this girl is in high school, but she does have a picture in her locker & an autographed basketball, so we can assume there’s only a 10% chance she’s 18 or older.

So OK we get it. She’s a tease. Lots of girls that age are. But Ian encourages her to shake it all she can tonight. Then break em all you can. Break what? Your femur? The bank? A wild horse? The rest of the chorus sheds a different light on what Ian is thinking. Basically, time is short. You’re not gonna look like this forever. So “give the boy something to dream on later”. Oh shit…Ian is dreaming that he’s her pimp…a bad one at that cause he’s not getting paid. Don’t believe me, let’s recap.

He wants her to shake her goods and give the boy something to masturbate to. And she’s a teenager…thats creepy Ian. Think she might be older? Remember this song was featured in the movie Little Darlings, a movie about 15 year-olds losing their virginity.

By the way, I like that her purse was made in Mexico. She was supporting the NAFTA agreement long before it was fashionable.