shock rock, cock rock

Erin B. Waggoner ebwagg01 at MOREHEAD-ST.EDU
Sat Dec 11 21:08:46 UTC 2004

As a woman musician that's been quietly viewing the scene behind the major
artists and minor artists that are in Kentucky, especially those on the
feminist front, I've managed to recognize more folkiness to the so-called "cock
rock" - but I wonder if the women based music (such as that from around the
time of Lilith Fair's women in music craze) would be considered "clit rock" or
something more vulgar such as "cunt rock" or "tit rock."

I find that "shock rock" in the minor backgrounds with musicians in Kentucky,
there are tons of lyrics containing things to 'shock' the audiences with an
appeal to the environment and politics by using the metaphorical system of
applying said issues to things such as vulgar terms and things that aren't
generally associated with these issues. In a way, this form of "shock rock"
uses John Donne's metaphysical conceit method to convey something deeper than
just 'shocking' the audience by singing something censorable.

When these two forms are combined, though...I wonder if it's possible to call
the music "shit rock" (shock and clit). It's along the lines of rap music, in
the sense that people that find it offensive would call it "crap music"

--Erin B. Waggoner

Quoting Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at>:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU>
> Subject:      shock rock, cock rock
> I see that the very latest OED3 draft entries of Dec. 9 include "shock
> rock" and "cock rock".  First cite given for "shock rock" is 1971, so I
> guess the previously discovered 1966 cite was submitted too late for
> inclusion...
> Newspaperarchive also has this cite from 1967:
> -------
> Van Wert (Ohio) Times Bulletin, Nov 2, 1967, p. 11
> The type of current rock and roll named were: hard rock, folk rock, raga
> rock, acid rock, psychedelic rock, soul music, blue-eyed soul, shock rock,
> good-timey music; muzak rock and flag rock, from each of which he played
> taped excerpts. Johnson explained that acid rock and psychedelic rock
> developed because of the influence of narcotic drugs and that shock rock
> is censorable because of the uncouth lyrics.
> -------
> First OED3 cite given for "cock rock" is 1973.  Here is a 1971 cite from
> Creem Magazine's online archive:
> -------
> Creem Magazine, May 1971
> As much as I hate heavy music — cock rock, macho rock, or whatever the
> current name for it is — I have to admit to having every Blue Cheer album
> ever made, and then to having a peculiar liking for Led Zeppelin II
> because of its undeniable stupid-rock punch.
> -------
> I came across this 1972 cite via Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature:
> -------
> Terry Southern, "Riding the Lapping Tongue", 1972. In: _Now Dig This: The
> Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern, 1950-1995_, p. 154.
> (Originally published as: "The Rolling Stones' U.S. Tour: Riding the
> Lapping Tongue," Saturday Review of the Arts, August 12, 1972)
> [describing a Rolling Stones concert in Washington, D.C., July 4, 1972:]
> "I'd read this if I were you," he says in a voice with neither warmth or
> accent, and he hands me the following mimeographed sheet: THE STONES AND
> COCK ROCK. ... Later on the plane, I show this bit of weirdness to Keith.
> "'Cock-rock,'" he muses with a wan smile. "So that's it. Right then, we'll
> use it."
> -------
> The term "cock rock" was also apparently used by rock critic Lester Bangs
> in an article in the August 1972 issue of _Ms._ magazine, "Women in Rock:
> They Won't Get Fooled Again."  According to _Let it Blurt_ by Jim
> Derogatis (searchable on Amazon), the article was an "attack on 'cock
> rock' and a call for female equality."
> --Ben Zimmer

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