[Ads-l] "cut (a song) on (someone)"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 15 21:20:43 UTC 2018

Ben, congratulations on your great work tracing "ribbit ribbit" and
locating a YouTube video of the pertinent skit.

Here is a citation with "I cut a record on him" that may have appeared
in 1974 or earlier.

Periodical: Living Blues
Issues 1-18
Quote Page 28 (according to GB)
Year: Circa 1970 to 1974 (One catalog says "no.1-18 (1970-74)")
Database; Google Books Snippet; must be verified with scans/hardcopy

[Begin excerpt]
It's a real blues. REAL, true blues. Yes, I'm planning to record it.
And I got my own style. I don't play like nobody's. Junior, that's his
trouble. I cut a record on him. I sent it to England. And they
wouldn't accept it because it was too much like B.B. King. And they
was right.
[End excerpt]

On Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 3:46 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> OED2 has "cut" meaning 'to record; to make (a record)' from 1937 but says
> nothing about an insider-y usage of "cut" in the music biz: "cut (a
> song/track/record) on (someone)." Examples:
> ---
> David Ritz, _Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin_ (2014), p. 107
> [Quoting Clyde Otis, who produced Aretha on Columbia Records in 1964:]
> "[Columbia president] Goddard Lieberson himself called and said... 'Cut an
> R-and-B hit on her and we'll take our cue from Motown and cross her over to
> pop.'"
> ---
> Smokey Robinson with David Ritz, _Smokey: Inside My Life_ (1990), p. 113
> [In section about Smokey producing "I'll Be Doggone" in 1965 for Marvin
> Gaye, who he nicknamed "Dad"]: Went in and cut the song on Dad, who sang
> the shit out of it.
> ---
> Based on the above, it's likely that it can be dated back to the mid-'60s
> at least, but so far this is the earliest I've found:
> ---
> Billboard, Sep. 24, 1977, p. 18
> [Interview with Casey Kasem:] "Eddie [Haddad] kept telling me that someone
> wanted to cut a record on him... So, we cut Eddie on a song that didn't
> become a hit."
> ---
> That example suggests a peculiar dual usage: "cut (a song/record) on
> someone" and "cut (someone) on (a song/record)."
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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