Song Of The Day 2/22/2015: Annie Ross - "The Fish"

Do the Dance Craze: Back around the beginning of rock and roll people used to rock around the clock. This fad was a wake-up call for the clock-making industry who suddenly had to increase production. Assembly lines were overworked, manufacturing sped up to a manic pace, union workers fainted and several Bible Belt states threatened to go back to using sundials “as the Lord God intended.” To take some pressure off the clock industry and forestall the arrival of snooty Swiss watchmakers, the music industry suggested that would-be dancers move away from timepieces and choreograph their own, more self-contained dances that required no additional objects to complete. Or at least that’s what Brian Williams told me.

So all of a sudden you had all these dance crazes, produced in tandem with popular songs that, if they followed proper suit, also included instructions on completing the dance steps within the lyrics. Most did, although a couple went off on some goofy tangents. You had the Twist, the Funky Chicken, the Mashed Potato, the Limbo, the Edsel, the Bisquick, the Moroccan Suitor, the Dissection, the Cuban Missile Hop-Hop, the Uvula Shake, the Concerned Citizen, the Radial Waddle, the Indiscreet Suffrage, the Unfastened Catwalk and, of course, the Boorish Spaniard. Man, that Brian Williams is a wellspring of quality information.

This week we’re investigating seven attempts to either launch new dance crazes or derisively mock the notion outright. I’m not sure which Annie Ross tried to do with “The Fish.” As one-third of one of the very best vocal groups in jazz history, Ross floated atop the chaff with sophistication, elegance and unequivocal wit. “The Fish” strikes me as a gentle needle in the ribcage of rock and roll, and I’m betting the sofa she never attempted this dance on her own. I’m further saddened to report that her fish dance has nothing to do with this one:
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