Friday, 8 November 2013

Kid Rock 'All Summer Long'

Chart Peak: 1 (1 week)
Robert James Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, scored a UK No. 1 smash hit in July 2008 with 'All Summer Long'... the track samples two 70s classics - Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves Of London' and Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama'.
Like I said in the previous post, Southern Rock isn't a genre that often shows up on the Now albums, but we get a double dose on Now 71 with two of the very few tracks in that style to top the UK chart (the only other one I can think of offhand is 'Bad Moon Rising'). Admittedly, Kid Rock was once considered a rapper, but like many an American pop star with a dwindling career in the home market he drifted towards country sounds and nostalgia, and of course this song not only samples but explicitly mentions the Skynyrd song. After years of being cited as a classic example of a US act with little appeal to British sensibilities (though he did manage minor Top 40 hits in 1999 and 2000, and a Number 41 in 2001) it's curious that it was at this very point that he crossed over the UK market with a song of nostalgia about growing up in Michigan.

To add to the irony, the single was a Number One hit in several European countries and a Top 10 in many more, but in the actual USA it fell short of the Top 20 - it was a huge airplay hit but sold precisely zero copies as there was no physical single release there and Kid Rock refused to make his albums available on iTunes (or any other download retailer that would allow customers to cherry-pick individual tracks). He claimed this was a point of principle although it was clearly a principle that stopped somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean as the track was given a full release over here. Not only was it one of the last CD singles ever to be available in Woolworths before they dropped the format, but it was available as a download here too, and indeed was released as a downloadable video from iTunes for several weeks before the cheaper, chart-eligible audio download became available. Meanwhile back in his homeland it was outcharted by a karaoke version. I guess he knew he could recoup it all in album sales there.

It is of course a thoroughly dreadful song, combining a genre I don't like, a sample of a song I hate, a ruination of a song I quite like and one of my pet hates, forced nostalgia. And it rhymes "things" with "things" which is just insultingly lazy. The "Kid" (who was 37 years old at this point) is a consistently unlikable presence too. In fact the most positive thing I can say is that at least this track is nice and early in the sequence so I've got it out of the way.

Available on: American Anthems II

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