“The Streak”

“The Streak”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Ray Stevens
“The Streak”

Written and Recorded by Ray Stevens

Some years ago I was on a plane coming home to Nashville from Los Angeles when I read an article in a news magazine about a new trend at American colleges they called “STREAKING.” Kids were taking off all their clothes and running across the campus for no particular reason. I tore the article out, took it home, did a rough draft of a song and put it in my piano bench. I thought, “I’ll get to that later.” It wasn’t much later at all. “Streaking” caught fire across the country so I hastily finished my song, booked in a session (studio and musicians) and recorded “The Streak.”

By the time I made my record, there were already a dozen or so “streaking” records on the market. It seemed everybody wanted to get in on this phenomenon. “Streaking” was a hot topic. Even Walter Cronkite mentioned it on his newscast and a guy ran across the stage naked behind host David Niven on the Academy Awards Show on national TV.

The day of the session, I got instant feedback on the projected success of the record. I ran a rough demo over to a local radio station and asked them to play it on the air. Their phone lit up immediately! The studio microphones were still warm and we were still packing up our instruments in the recording studio when the disc jockey called to report the listeners’ response. Needless to say, at that moment I was pretty sure “THE STREAK” would be a hit! I had no idea, however, how huge it would become.

During the weeks that followed, there would be 30 or 40 recordings about “streaking” released on the market. But none of the others caught the imagination of the public like Ethel and her poor boyfriend who kept yelling… “Don’t look Ethel!!!” That phrase, along with “Yeah I did!”, “Boogity-Boogity” and the whistle became a part of the whole “streaking” phenomenon.

This was in the days of the “single” record and “The Streak” sold over 4 million of these little 45 RPM pieces of vinyl in less than 6 weeks. Those were great days in the record business… when you could write and record a song and get it to the market quickly to take advantage of national fads before they faded from the scene. Later, albums became the standard. You didn’t just cut a single anymore. You had to take the time and bear the expense of recording 10 or 12 songs to compete in the marketplace. It looks like things are about to come full circle in that regard now because with digital downloading we are once again able to get a single topical song out to the public in a flash via the Internet.

“The Streak” had a new life with the release of my Comedy Video Classics video package when I sold direct through television ads and catalogues, and then again when I produced it for my stage act complete with a Wagnerian Opera singer. The stage show was also released on a video… Ray Stevens Live.

I don’t know how many million recordings of the song have been sold by now but it is no doubt one of the best selling songs I have ever written or recorded!!

“The Streak”

(Reporter)

Hello, everyone, this is your action news reporter with all the news

that is news across the nation, on the scene at the supermarket. There

seems to have been some disturbance here. Pardon me, sir, did you see

what happened?

(Witness)

Yeah, I did. I’s standin’ overe there by the tomaters, and here he

come, running through the pole beans, through the fruits and vegetables,

nekkid as a jay bird. And I hollered over t’ Ethel, I said, “Don’t

look, Ethel!” But it’s too late, she’d already been incensed.

(Chorus)

Here he comes, look at that, look at that

There he goes, look at that, look at that

And he ain’t wearin’ no clothes.

Oh, yes, they call him the Streak

Look at that, look at that

Fastest thing on two feet.

Look at that, look at that

He’s just as proud as he can be

Of his anatomy

He goin’ give us a peek.

Oh, yes, they call him the Streak

Look at that, look at that

He likes to show off his physique.

Look at that, look at that

If there’s an audience to be found

He’ll be streakin’ around

Invitin’ public critique.

(Reporter)

This is your action news reporter once again, and we’re here at the gas

station. Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?

(Witness)

Yeah, I did. I’s just in here I’ my car checked, he just appeared

out of the traffic. Come streakin’ around the grease rack there, didn’t

have nothin’ on but a smile. I looked in there, and Ethel was I’

her a cold drink. I hollered, “Don’t look, Ethel!” But it was too

late. She’d already been mooned. Flashed her right there in front of

the shock absorbers.

(Chorus)

He ain’t crude, look at that, look at that

He ain’t lewd, look at that, look at that

He’s just in the mood to run in the nude.

Oh, yes, they call him the Streak

Look at that, look at that

He likes to turn the other cheek.

Look at that, look at that

He’s always makin’ the news

Wearin’ just his tennis shoes

Guess you could call him unique.

(Reporter)

Once again, your action news reporter in the booth at the gym, covering

the disturbance at the basketball playoff. Pardon me, sir, did you see

what happened?

(Witness)

Yeah, I did. Half time, I’s just goin’ down thar to get Ethel a snow

cone. And here he come, right out of the cheap seats, dribbling, right

down the middle of the court. Didn’t have on nothing but his PF’s.

Made a hook shot and got out through the concessions stand. I hollered up

at Ethel, I said, “Don’t look, Ethel!” But it was too late. She’d

already got a free shot. Grandstandin’, right there in front of the

home team.

(Chorus) (Witness)

Oh, yes, they call him the Streak. Here he comes again.

Look at that, look at that. Who’s that with him?

The fastest thing on two feet. Ethel? Is that you, Ethel?

Look at that, look at that. What do you think you’re…

He’s just as proud as he can be… doin’? You git your…

Of his anatomy… clothes on!

He’s gonna give us a peek.

Oh, yes, they call him the Streak. Ethel! Where you goin’?

Look at that, look at that Ethel, you shameless…

He likes to show off his physique… hussy! Say it isn’t so.

Look at that, look at that Ethel! Ethelllllll!!!

If there’s an audience to be found

He’ll be streakin’ around

Invitin’ public critique.

Written by Ray Stevens. © 1974 Ahab Music Company, Inc. © Renewed 2002

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