In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.
Strip-club music used to be really different. Long before God gave us Miami bass, strippers used to have to get down to horny big-band jazz instrumentals, apparently. You’ve heard “The Stripper” even if you don’t know you’ve heard “The Stripper.” It’s a big, dumb trombone honk that’s been soundtracking supposed-to-be-funny movie strip-tease scenes for decades. It’s not quite two minutes long, and it’s only barely a song, but it got to #1 for a week in 1962 anyway.
David Rose, a London-born and Chicago-raised composer, spent most of his career recording scores for movies and TV shows, most notably for those involving his old Army buddy Red Skelton. He first recorded “The Stripper” in 1958, supposedly in just 10 minutes, because he needed a B-side for a single. But the B-side took on a life of its own, as B-sides will do, and thus this piece of burlesque silliness — the sort of thing Bugs Bunny might dance to when he’s dressed like a woman — remains with us today. It’s utilitarian music, and thank God we’ve got better music for that purpose today.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s the scene from the great 1977 movie Slap Shot where Michael Ontkean does an mid-game strip-tease, somehow winning his team the championship, while a local marching band plays “The Stripper”: