Oct 07

RAY STEVENS – “The Streak”

FT + Popular78 comments • 8,167 views

#350, 15th June 1974

Ray Stevens - The Streak“The Streak” isn’t awful as comedy records go, in fact musically it slips down very easily, a perky country number with a few good rhymes for “streak” as its highlight. But not only does Stevens succumb to the blight of the comedy song and shove a laugh track on his record, he also insists on using it for his least funny gag, the laboured hick voice he puts on for the streak-witnesser. Goodwill in shortish supply here.

But anyway, streaking. I was nine years old when Erica Roe streaked and…. actually, I don’t remember it at all. Sorry! But I do remember streaking being a “thing”, though somehow I assumed it was specifically British – there’s something a bit Donald McGill about it, especially as it seems to happen a lot at cricket matches. A little Wikipedia research reveals that not only was I completely wrong but that Ray Stevens was highly topical – Time Magazine had only brought the word to light the year before and by ’74 the craze was full-blown. Wikipedia also confirms that streaking is with us still though these days the streakers tend to have the names of insurance websites painted on their backs. Poor show – in the metaphorical sense.



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  1. 61
    Marcello Carlin on 2 Nov 2007 #

    I think Ray himself has now approached the 70 mark. Didn’t have any more hits here after the mid-seventies but I guess he’s carried on in the States. He must have emitted a huge “GRRRRR” when Weird Al Yankovic came along, mind you.

  2. 62
    Marcello Carlin on 2 Nov 2007 #

    *checks Wikipedia*

    Ah right, he’s one of the Branson Missouri crowd now. His last hit in the States was “Osama Yo’Mama” in 2002. Not too sure I want to hear that one…

  3. 63
    Mark G on 13 Nov 2007 #

    Over the weekend, I got a 3CD set of “hits from 1970-1974” as it was cheap and all on it were the original versions (apart from a terrible remake of Baby Jump)…

    I’d forgotten the dubbed on laughing on this. Which made the difference between the record and the performance on TOTP all more visible (timing wise)

  4. 64
    Marcello Carlin on 13 Nov 2007 #

    Makes me wonder how TOTP tackled “Bridget The Midget.” Don’t remember RS coming on to perform it so it must have been left to the redoubtable Pan’s People to “interpret.”

  5. 65
    mike on 13 Nov 2007 #

    Ohhhh, that’s tickling a murky memory. I definitely remember seeing a “Bridget” figure on TV, most probably on TOTP. Long dark hair, china doll face, and a red dress. Other than that, nothing’s coming through!

  6. 66
    Mark G on 14 Nov 2007 #

    I do remember that one, there was a miniature bridget, all else like as Mike says. I’m fairly sure that Ray Stevens was the performer there.

  7. 67
    Geir H on 23 Dec 2007 #

    Is there anything more pointless than comedy records that aren’t funny at all?
    Would be an obvious 1 for me this one.

  8. 68
    ray stevens on 3 Jun 2008 #

    […] her budgie to say his name. … I&8217m fairly sure that ray stevens was the performer there.http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2007/10/ray-stevens-the-streak/OLCOTT: Sabres alumni hold fishing tournament on Lake Ontario – Lockport Union-Sun & JournalBob […]

  9. 69
    wichita lineman on 26 Jul 2008 #

    Re 62 and 63: I’d REALLY like to hear Osama Yo’Mama AND a dreadful remake of Baby Jump. I wonder which one is funnier?

    Even as a 9-year old, me and my friends found this funny for the wrong reasons (though I could be under-estimating Ray Stevens). Which maybe shows that Britons have an in-built tendency to snigger at overt American crassness.

    Whenever the hick character appears the canned laughter is so loud you couldn’t hear the lines on medium wave. From memory they’re along the lines of “DON’T LOOK ETHEL but it was too late” (screams), “she’d already been incensed” (screams), “drivel” (screams), “right in front of the shop soiled” (screams).

    Which all makes it a lot funnier than most Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band records.

    Marcello, good call on Mr Businessman, one of the great 68/69 middle America crisis records. It uses the word “harlot” and Jimmy Young used to play it at least once a week. Bringing dear Bing Crosby back into this, he also recorded a ’68 45 in this vein called What Shall What We Do With The World about the futility of the space race. See also Roy Orbison’s 7-minute suicidal businessman epic Southbound Jericho Parkway. There’s a great compilation to be made.

    K-Tel/Ronco alert: The Streak is the opening track on Fun Rock. My very favourite genre.

  10. 70
    DJ Punctum on 27 Jul 2008 #

    Not “drivel” but “dribblin'” and what is this “a lot funnier than most Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band records” madness?

    Agree about “Southbound Jericho Parkway”: definitive CD compilation of that period of the Big O’s career long overdue.

  11. 71
    wichita lineman on 28 Jul 2008 #

    So he does say “right in front of the shop soiled”? How queer.

    I think Ray Stevens produced, and maybe wrote, Dolly Parton’s ultra-rare Shangri-La’s-alike Don’t Drop Out. Just beautiful. It’s on the Girls Go Zonk comp, essential listening on high summer days.

    The Bonzos – on my own, I know, and almost feel the need to apologise. I suppose I prefer my eccentrics without “ECCENTRIC!!!” tattooed on their forehead: Joe Meek, Lt Pigeon, Lou Christie, Kevin Rowland…

  12. 72
    DJ Punctum on 29 Jul 2008 #

    No, it’s “right in front of the shock absorbers.”

  13. 73
    Billy Smart on 29 Jul 2008 #

    There was a documentary about Ray Stevens on Radio 2 a few months ago. I kept on hearing the trailer, where Tony Blackburn said “It’s incredible to think that the same man can write a song like ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ and ‘The Streak’. Amazing!”

    I didn’t share his incredulity.

  14. 74
    DJ Punctum on 29 Jul 2008 #

    Yeah, if he’d really thought that he would have said “sensational” rather than “amazing.”

  15. 75
    jimmy on 23 Sep 2009 #

    This is funny, lots of comments on this subject


  16. 76
    Peter Finneless on 1 Mar 2010 #

    ‘The Streak’ is one of the funniest records ever produced. A timeless classic. Beats anything by Robbie Williams.

  17. 77
    lonepilgrim on 22 Oct 2019 #

    So much ‘comedy’ at this time was incomprehensible to me as a kid with so much coded innuendo I assumed I would only understand it when I was older. I knew that nudity was ‘naughty’ but why the reactions of these thinly drawn ‘characters’ drew such amusement was beyond me. Now it just just sounds weak and forced

  18. 78
    Gareth Parker on 6 May 2021 #

    This is a dead cert 1/10 in my view.

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