Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The notorious hat trick of vices.
It’s been a familiar phrase since at least 1977, when British punk rocker Ian Dury had a mildly popular single by that name. Now there’s even a cable TV comedy series called “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.”
It’s well past time we explore the connection between sex and rock & roll. You’ll note that sex is the first thing mentioned, and that’s no coincidence. From the very beginning, even before there was a genre called rock and roll, the black communities in this country were grooving to rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie and gospel, and they certainly weren’t sitting down. They were, as they liked to call it, “rockin’ and rollin'” — swaying, dancing, bumping and grinding, and yes, having sex to the relentlessly contagious rhythms.
So the very term “rock and roll” is actually a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Disc jockey Alan Freed was well aware of that when he started using the term “rock and roll” on his Cleveland radio show in 1951 to describe the new musical hybrid that combined elements of rhythm and blues, country, gospel and swing. He often chuckled to himself when he thought about how mainstream America would soon adopt the term and use it liberally to describe this new music, without knowing that it really meant SEX.