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Rocks, and Rock and Roll

Quarries, rocks, stones and gravel – and rock and roll – just seem to go together. It was an early indication that something was up when John Lennon named his first band The Quarrymen. The Quarrymen took their name from a line in the school song of Quarry Bank High School, which Lennon and most of the other original group members attended.  Now what was the name of that other band he was in? I can’t quite recall.

There are some modern bands with a fixation on quarries as well. There is The Stone Quarries, a Hamden, Conn.-based band, and the Stone Quarry Band, of Albany, N.Y., for instance.

Let’s look at rocks, and rock and roll. A major early contribution comes from ageless, timeless Bob Dylan, who in the 1960s wrote a song called “Rocks and Gravel.” It goes like this:

Takes rocks and gravel, baby, make a solid road,
Takes rocks and gravel, baby, make a solid road,
Takes a good woman mama,
To satisfy my weary soul

Have you ever been down on that Mobil and K. C. line,
Have you ever been down on that Mobil and K. C. line?
Well I just wanna ask you,
If you seen that gal of mine,

Don't the clouds look lonesome shining across the sea,
Don't the clouds look lonesome shining across the sea,
Don't my gal look good,
When she's comin' after me?

In his later incarnation as a gospel rocker, Dylan sang a song called “Solid Rock” on his album Saved, not to be confused with “Solid Rock,” by Dire Straits, off of their epic Making Movies album.
Aerosmith, in 1975, titled an album Rocks. Neil Diamond, an early rocker who later morphed into a crooner, sang “Love on the Rocks,” and the Australian hard-rock band AC/DC sang “Whiskey on the Rocks,” although neither were singing about the kind you pull out of the ground.

When it comes to gravel, we can start with an old folk tune that uses the

Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green,
but nowhere my lover is here to be seen.

That’s a far cry from song “Gravel Pit” by rap provocateurs Wu Tang Clan, which includes the lyrics:

I want everybody, to put your work down, put your guns down
And report to the pit, the gravel pit
Leave your problems at home, leave your children at home
We gon' take it back underground,

Yeah y'all, straight up this the jump off right here
The gravel pit, word up represent, rock the boulders

Much more subtle, thankfully, is country rocker Lucinda Williams’ reference to gravel in her song, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road:”

Come on now child we're gonna go for a ride, car wheels on a gravel road

There is no more famous representation of stone in rock and roll, then the Rolling Stones (who also released an album called Hot Rocks.)  They just seem to keep rolling on forever.

There have been a number of references to stones in songs over the years.

From “Studying Stone” by Ani DiFranco:

I am out here studying stones
Trying to learn to be less alive

From “Throwin’ Stones” by The Grateful Dead:

So the kids they dance and shake their bones,

And the politicians throwin' stones,

Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down

From “Skippin’ Stones” by FlypSyde:

I'm skippin' stones 'till I'm lost in the world
Fall in love and then get lost in a girl

And from “Hearts of Stone,” written by Bruce Springsteen, but more famously performed by Southside Johnny and Asbury Jukes:

I can't talk now, I'm not alone
So put your ear close to the phone
'Cause this is the last dance
This is the last chance for hearts of stone

Of course, the most notable magazine to cover rock and roll is called Rolling Stone. And it goes without saying, the most important magazine to ever cover rock processing is Rock Products. That’s music to our ears.