WCSX Classic Cuts
Ian Hunter: “Cleveland Rocks”
The Hook: Cleveland got dissed on all the late night talk shows, but Ian Hunter felt it deserved more respect.
Album: You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic
Writer: Ian Hunter
Stats: It wasn’t released as a single — see below — but later became the theme of The Drew Carey Show, though it wasn’t Hunter’s version. The album peaked at number-35 on the Billboard 200.
Background: Originally written by Hunter with Cleveland in mind, the song was first recorded and released as a British single with the title “England Rocks,” because his U.S. label felt it was too regional to be a national hit in America. He explains what compelled him to write it.
Ian Hunter on what inspired him to write “Cleveland Rocks.” OC:…out, y’know [laughs]. :30
“That was because when we went to Cleveland in the early days, they took to us a lot sooner than anywhere else did – like New York or L.A. or any of them so-called hip places. They came later, we found Cleveland first and then Memphis – they were the people that liked us. And then I’m seeing on Carson and Merv Griffin and that guy Douglas – there were three talk shows at the time – that Cleveand seemed to be the butt of every joke. And I couldn’t understand it, because we were having a great time there. So ‘Cleveland Rocks’ was written trying to straighten this out, you know.”