Yeah, THAT "Whip It." Seriously, everyone knows this 1980 song by Devo, right? How much explanation does it even require?!?! Devo has mainly been considered a one-hit wonder, but man, they knocked it out of the park with this one. Despite how popular it is, don't you almost consider this song a joke? Can you hear this song without making the whipping motion with your hands or picturing the crazy hats they wore in the video?
Despite how popular you may think this song was/is, it only reached #14 on the Billboard charts at its peak, hardly a number we would consider to be a bonafide hit. But it is the crazy sounds, funny lyrics, and catchy tune that has definitely made the song so long lasting. Devo actually premiered the song at a concert in Santa Cruz in 1979 and you can still find bootlegs of that performance today. Care to guess what the lead instrument is in the song? It is called a Minimoog synthesizer. With a name like that, seriously, where do I get one of those?!?!
So what inspired the lyrics for this crazy song and video? Well, the lyrics are said to be inspired a working class desire to pull oneself up and overcome adversity, not anything violent at all as has sometimes been accused of. And the weird video? Well here, watch it first. The poster of the video doesn't allow embedding of the video so you actually have to click on the link this time to see it. Click here.
Ok, so where did they come up with the idea for this video? Well, they had read an article in a magazine about a former actor who had fallen on hard times and who had opened up a dude ranch to make ends meet. People would come and pay to hang at the ranch and ever day at noon, he would do a show where everyone would gather around and he would use a 12 foot whip to whip his wife's clothes off. His wife constructed her own outfits and made them hold together with velcro so they would fall off easily. He would brag in the magazine about how he never once hurt his wife in the act. How is THAT for a funny story?
With such a large fan base for this song for whatever reason it may be, this song has been in countless forms of media from tv shows to movies to commercials to cover songs, including one by Alvin and the Chipmunks in 1982. This is one crazy, fun song and I can't wait to grab my keyboard and act a little silly playing it.