High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sing Along With Mitch! (Ryder)





Influenced by flamboyant showmen like Little Richard
and James Brown, white R&B party starter Mitch Ryder
challenged rocker Ted Nugent for the coveted title of
Motor City Madman. Mitch was one of the principal
players on the mid 60s Dell scene. In December of 1965
the blue-eyed soul shouter and his Detroit Wheels rolled
into the Dell packing heat. They kept the joint jumpin'
throughout 1966 and into the spring of '67.


In the beginning, you had to be a masochist to
go around uttering the phrase sock it to me
because to sock someone meant to hit them,
or to administer a beating.

 "Sock it to the other guy,  not to me," follow? 

As time went by the urban slang expression took on new
meaning. Being the sockee was no longer a bad thing.

It was a good some cases a very good thing.

I always thought the earliest use of the phrase sock it to me in mainstream media was on the TV series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in. When a cast member spoke those four magic words they typically got hit in the face with a cream pie
or drenched with
a bucket of water.

I assumed that the popular Laugh-in expression was the inspiration for the
Mitch Ryder song
“Sock it to Me-Baby!’
As it turned out I was putting the cart before the horse.

It only added to my confusion when I remembered Aretha Franklin singing sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me on her hit record “Respect.” I wondered if Lady Soul's sock it to me ad lib predated Mitch Ryder’s use of the phrase. In Otis Redding's original version of "Respect," released in September of 1965, the R&B titan used the phrase "give it to me." In their 1969 hit "I Turned You On" the Isley Brothers also shouted give it to me along with sock it to me and whip it to me. (I need to look it up in my Funk and Wagnalls, but I have a feeling they all mean the same thing, y'all.)

When I checked the chronology of events I determined that Mitch Ryder was the first of these recording artists to use the phrase sock it to me. His “Sock it to Me-Baby!" single started climbing the Billboard chart on February 4th, 1967. On Valentine's Day ten days later Aretha recorded "Respect" and made use of the sock it to me expression. Laugh-In, the vehicle most responsible for popularizing the SITM phrase, actually came last in order, premiering in September of '67.

It doesn’t matter who’s on first or what’s on second.
Mitch Ryder's "Sock It To Me-Baby!" cranked it up a notch
at the Dell during the winter of 1967. At position #45
it is the highest ranked of the four Ryder records
that made my Shady Dell Top 200 hit list.

Contributing to the record's popularity were its ambiguous
lyrics. My friends and I were convinced that we had another
“Louie Louie” on our hands because, to our jaded ears, it
sounded like there was at least one naughty word near the
beginning of the song and Mitch punched it. Along with
the provocative, possibly dirty lyrics that got the record
banned by several radio stations, "Sock..." boasted other
key elements Dell vikings loved - a frenetic beat and
Ryder's shouting, over the top R&B vocals.

 “Sock It To Me-Baby!” (February '67) 

 Got time for a Mitch Ryder block party? 

You've heard of the final four. Now hear the rest of
the vinyl four... the high octane dance records
by the Detroit Wheels that kept the Dell gang
singing along with Mitch in the mid 60s!

 “Jenny Take A Ride” (December '65) 

 “Little Latin Lupe Lu” (March '66) 

 “Devil With A Blue Dress On &
 Good Golly Miss Molly” (October '66) 

 Is “Sock it to Me-Baby!"

 my Pick to Click? 






 Got an itch for even more Mitch? 

 Gotcha covered, my friend! 

Here's a bonus toe-tapper for your listening pleasure.
(Don't hurt yourself!)

Have a Shady day!


  1. Now that's a terrific way to get the morning going! I am a fan of finding out where and how things started, and I loved reading through the chronology of "Sock it to me". I do remember watching Laugh In when I was a little girl and always laughing when someone would get it socked to them.

    I also liked finding out more about Mitch Ryder, whom I didn't know much about at all. Your blog is always a grand education, my friend! Have a wonderful weekend~

    1. Thank you so much, dear Shelly! That's quite a compliment coming from you, a leading educator. I used to sit at the Dell snack counter and watch Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In with Helen and John. I also remember watching Get Smart, The Monkees and Mission Impossible up there. They had small black & white televisions but I wouldn't trade that low tech experience for the world. Great great times. Thank you for coming by and singing along with Mitch. Have a terrific weekend, dear friend Shelly!

  2. Hi Shadykins! Another interesting and very informative post today. Gosh, I remember The Yellow Rose of Texas!! We used to get Rowan & Martin's laugh in over here as well, which is when Goldi Hawn first came into our radar of course. Enjoy your weekend and know that I am sending smooches your way. Take care.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! (Thisikins?) I remember Mitch Miller's version of "Yellow Rose of Texas" very well because it played every weekend on the loudspeaker at the oval dirt track where I went with my family to watch the stock car races. I loved Goldie. As you might know she worked as a go-go dancer early on as did actress Teri Garr. Hard to believe Teri is now 68 and Goldie is 67! EEEK!!! Thank you very much for coming all the way here from Devonshire, dear Thisisme. I hope you are feeling tip top and that you enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

  3. When I saw Mitch Miller's face I started laughing so hard! I haven't thought of that show in YEARS. And I do remember them doing "Yellow Rose of Texas" and YES - the show was one of my grandma's favorites, along with Lawrence Welk. She had a couple of Mitch Miller LPs in her collection. So funny to remember that...
    But Mitch RYDER was a different breed of cat altogether! Loved him, although I could never have said "sock it to me" with a straight face. Or "groovy."

    1. Hi karen! Don't get me started on Lawrence Welk! (LOL) For years my parents watched that show as well as Sing Along With Mitch. They insisted that I plunk myself down in front of the television when those shows were on so that I could be exposed to "good music." Their plan to influence my listening and record buying habits was, as Howard Cosell used to say, an exercise in futility. Mitch's all male sing along chorus and Welk's "Champagne Music" didn't grab me like Mitch Ryder, Mick Jagger, Eric Burdon, the Rascals, etc. (Oh yeah, and Kiss.) It's such a pleasure to have you over, dear friend karen. Have a safe and happy weekend!

  4. Hi Shady! I really enjoyed the Mitch Ryder songs. He did have a distinctive sound. I remember them all. My family used to watch "Sing Along with Mitch" and "The Lawrence Welk Show" as well. It looks pretty corny now!

    1. Hi, Belle! My father absolutely loved watching Lawrence Welk! It wasn't enough that he watched the show in syndication years after the series ended. He actually taped every program and played them over and over again. Isn't it amazing how every generation has "their music" and people of other generations just don't get what all the fuss was about? I'm glad you share my memories of those two old shows and of Detroit rocker Mitch Ryder. Thank you very much for coming, dear Belle, and please take care of yourself and your family over the weekend!

  5. Hello my friend! I just happened to pop onto Blogger to see what was happening and caught your post! First off, I loved Laugh-In. Best show of the 60's next to the Smother's Brother's. Mitch Ryder...great! And there was nothing more fun than following the bouncing ball while singing along with Mitch Miller. He was a hip dude in his day!! My oldest brother actually met him person while serving in the Coast Guard in 1964-1968. Mitch came aboard his ship and performed for the crew.

    Hope you're doing well my friend. I am loving Florida life beyond words and the beaches are amazing! Take care.

    1. Life's a beach, Bouncin' Barb... Daytona Beach! How're you doing, dear friend? I'm glad you brought up The Smothers Brothers because they were light years ahead of their time and I enjoyed that show. Yes, that bouncing ball was quite a novelty back in the early days of television and I remember it well. It's cool that your brother had the chance to meet Mitch Miller in the mid 60s. I'm glad you also liked the other Mitch presented in this post. I am thoroughly delighted by your visit, Barb. Thank you very much for coming over and stay warm up there tonight!

  6. Here's an interesting Mitch Miller fact for you,Shady. A number your fellow DAHS schoolmates and I played in a District Band Festival conducted by Mitch Miller held in Lancaster County. I believe the yer was 1966. He was a really energetic and fun loving man who treated us as adults rather than a bunch of high school kids. Great memories.

    1. Hey, Brian!!! Glad to know you're still out there, good buddy, and very happy to welcome you back to the blog. If you read Bouncin' Barb's comment above you will see another anecdote about Mitch Miller. Thanks for sending in your story. How I wish it was 1966 again! Ironically, I was working on an upcoming post earlier today and Mitch Miller's name turned up again, this time as the producer of one of Johnnie Ray's records. The more I learn about the man the more I come to realize how important he was to the music industry. I should add that Mitch Miller died in 2010 at the ripe old age of 99. Thanks again for sticking with SDMM, Brian, and for visiting today. Your support means a lot to me!

  7. I loved watching Mitch Miller on Tv. And Goldie Hawn, I remember when she was starting out as a stand up funny and cute!

    1. Hi, Francesca! I'm happy to know this post brought back some memories for you. My parents never missed Mitch Miller's weekly sing-along and I never missed an episode of Laugh-In. Thanks for coming, dear friend, and have a great week ahead!

  8. Kathleen Mae SchneiderFebruary 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    We don't remember Mitch Ryder but are sure familiar with some of his iconic songs. Bob called Devil with a Blue Dress "real stompin' music", which shows where he was during that time! He remembers a gal called Daisy Mae at the Village in Lancaster - but that was (ahem) before he met me...

    For all the schmaltz in Mitch Miller's program, he at least took our parents generation back to their youth and got them participating in music - still a good thing I think.

    We watched that last video to its painful end and were surprised to see a very young Johnny Carson singing along! What was he doing there?

    This post took Bob and I back to our college and courtship days. We loved Laugh In and still refer to the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate, which has pointed in our direction way more often than we would have liked!

    Thanks, Tom for another great trip back to the 60s.

    1. Hello, dear Kathleen! The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award should go to me for posting that Mitch Miller video w/o having watched it all the way through. I just viewed it and saw Johnny Carson along with series regular Leslie Uggams, both of whom my mother loved. Was that correct usage, teacher, "both of whom"? (LOL) What was Johnny Carson doing on the program? Here's my theory. S.A.W.M. ran on NBC from 1961 until 1964 and people on YouTube who have commented on the clip think this was a 1962 broadcast. In March of 1962 Johnny Carson was hosting Who Do You Trust on ABC when he accepted NBC's invitation to become the new host of The Tonight Show, but he had to wait six months until his contract at ABC expired. I believe NBC had Carson appear on Mitch during that period to give him some added exposure in front of the NBC cameras since he wasn't yet a major celebrity at that time.

      I admired Mitch Miller's gusto - his unbridled enthusiasm for the old songs he kept alive. (Kinda like what I'm doing here.) Mitch Miller galvanized America during those optimistic Kennedy years. He had all of us - black, white, old and young - singing together in perfect harmony. Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end. Thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear Kathleen (and Bob). Take care of yourselves and mother and have a wonderful week!

    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderFebruary 3, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      We didn't notice Leslie Uggams on that video! I remember watching her when I was a kid on "Name That Tune" and later admiring her performance in "Roots". It kind of makes me wonder if other famous people got their start in that group swaying behind MItch Miller.

      ("Both of whom" sounds good to me - but then I taught art, not English!)

    3. You taught Art who? (Or is it Art whom? LOL) Well, let's not forget The Leslie Uggams Show which premiered in the fall of 1969 but was canceled by Christmas. Leslie was the first African American to host a regularly scheduled network variety series since The Nat King Cole in the mid 50s. Thanks again for letting your fingers do the talking here on SDM&M, Kathleen. Blessings to you and your family!

  9. Good Evening Mr. Knight! Sorry I'm a bit late, had the Scootie on board for the weekend (no blogging allowed)! Hey! We did 'Sing along with Mitch'! Actually, we had NO parents were big fans, but, oh well, it was music wasn't it?

    But, love that Mitch Ryder. 'Sock it to me Baby' was so fun! I'd forgotten about 'Little Latin Lupe Lu', but, it too was a favorite. Most of Mitch Ryder's stuff was danceable, and, I liked it all. I can see why he was a regular Dell Rat! The band sounded great, with the best upbeat sounds, and, always in sync. I believe you're right about the lyrics and a few possibly 'shady' words! But, if we noticed, we just acted stupid about and went on with the beat! I can't believe it only went to #45...that's unreasonable!

    A fun stroll down memory lane, Mitch Miller, Laugh-In, and, the great 'Mitch Ryder'! Oh, 'Devil With the Blue Dress On'-how all of us girls wanted to be THAT girl! Thanks Shady! Hope you and Mrs. Shady are doing well-it's always a pleasure to visit the 'Shadyest' blog on the block, haha! See you soon!♫

    1. Hey, Suzanne! I'm very happy you came to call this evening. I was afraid you might have been sick in bed again and was relieved to learn that you were absent only because you had Scootie over for the weekend.

      My parents were older than most of my friends' parents and they made doggone sure I was exposed to plenty of WWII era music including big band sounds, pop standards, show tunes, barbershop and country & western - in other words, the kind of stuff that was for me, to put it delicately, an acquired taste. I complained at the time but looking back I'm grateful to them for caring. I also discovered to my surprise that I actually liked some of their music.

      It's good to know that you and I are in agreement about the possibility of naughty lyrics in "Sock it to Me-Baby." The whole Dell gang sang along with Mitch when that record played and we always inserted those spicy words and did so as loudly as possible! (LOL)

      Weatherwise, I'm enjoying this cool down knowing that the heat and humidity will be returning all too soon. Thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear friend Suzanne, and please continue to take good care of yourself!

  10. I have to agree with you about being exposed to the various types of music as kids. I'm really proud to be able to say, 'Hey! I knew that song,then'! And, we too, complained-my sister, brother and I would laugh at Mitch Miller and mimmick him and Lawrence Welk. Funny how we came to know all those tunes and entertainers, tho, we didn't go public with that knowledge at the time, lol! And, now, my mother can sit back and grin, knowing that SOMETHING she impressed on us, did stick! I, too, am grateful!

    Thankfully, I'm doing well. I sure don't want that horrible stuff again. Next time, I think I'll go to the doctor a little sooner, and, not think I can take care of it myself! Scootie was fun this weekend-the weather was nice, he got to go outside a lot! Thanks Shady-so good to see you!♫

    1. You are a wonderful friend, Suzanne, and I wish you good health and much happiness throughout the coming year. Scootie and Karo, too! (and Susan over at Triple-K! LOL) Have a wonderful night and I'll talk to you again soon, dear friend!


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