Roofing contractors in Cincinnati – and elsewhere, for that matter – notice when the subject of the roof appears in pop culture. When we hear the roof discussed in film scenes, our ears perk up. Our favorite J.D. Salinger novella? Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, of course.
But what about pop songs? Other areas of the house get tons of play in pop and rock lyrics. The bedroom gets rhapsodized all the time. We hear about the kitchen in songs, and the garage.
Does the roof get sung about? You bet. Here are three of our favorites.
In 1962, Carole King and Gerry Goffin co-wrote a song about our friend, the rooftop. In this lyric – perhaps an inspiration for the Beach Boys’ “In My Room” – our narrator comes home exhausted, and sits up on his roof to unwind and deal with the troubles of his day.
The Drifters recorded the definitive version, and it’s a glorious celebration of life in the city. “When this old world starts getting me down, and people are just too much for me to face, I climb way up to the top of the stairs, and all my cares just drift right into space.”
Leiber and Stoller produced this Drifters session, and it’s a timeless slice of American pop. It also happens to encourage appreciation of the roof.
“If you’re not a square from Delaware, and you got on clean underwear…” 1984 was a simpler time in some ways – especially in hip hop. This titanic b-boy single introduced this legendary phrase to the vernacular.
Of course, nobody wants to see a roof on fire. But, of course, it’s a metaphor. An infectious one.
Rock Master Scott also used this track to introduce the statement, “throw your hands in the air, and wave ‘em like you just don’t care.” It’s the statement that launched a thousand hype-men. Where would rap crowd work be without this old chestnut?
This smash single from 1997’s Butterfly album has only increased in stature over the past quarter-century. Why? It’s that chorus: “Every time I feel the need I envision you caressing me / And go back in time / To relieve the splendor of you and I on the rooftop that rainy night.”
On the rooftop that rainy night! It’s an indelible image, and a sultry, breathy vocal performance. Mariah Carey, it seems, appreciates a quality roof. So do we.