Back in 1981, Billy Squier came screaming on to the scene with the classic track, “The Stroke”. This was the song that introduced me to him and kept me a fan all these years. The song did fairly well on the charts reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the song comes from his second album ‘Don’t Say No’ which went on to be a triple platinum selling album.
Now admit it. You have always thought this song was about masturbation, didn’t you? “Put Your Right Hand Out / Give a firm handshake”…always led you to believe that Mr. Squier was manhandling his little…”guitar” for lack of a better word. Ok, I didn’t want to say dick, so there, now I have said it. However, the song is actually not about that at all.
The song is about the Music Business and how it treats it’s talent. How with “the stroke” of a pen, the musician signs their life away and becomes the property of the record label. They promise them the “big break”, get their music everywhere (“spread your ear pollution”) and promise fame and fortune. However, when the hits dry up, the label drops you (“when you’ve found you bled me / slip on by”). And when you look at the song from that perspective it is really a great song…okay…when you look at it the dirty way it is also a great song…either works!