Blood, Sweat & Arrogance: Five Albums That Defined Cock Rock

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At its core, Rock music is filthy, grungy, and dirty. It oozes sex from every orifice. While Rock music isn’t the exclusive boys club that it was once made out to be, like every genre, some subsets are defined by specific characteristics, and Cock Rock is no exception.

In short, Cock Rock is a specific style of Hard Rock music that is defined by an emphasis on aggressive male sexuality. To further clarify, it’s about self-expression — an explicit, crude, boastful form of self-expression which usually finds the de-facto leader of said band consistently drawing attention to themselves through crude, yet masterful control. In these instances, the singer generally allows their body to be on display, and if they’ve got a guitar, it’s used as a symbol, or token of their rampant, hyper-sexualized self.

With lyrics, and themes generally centered around arousal, and release, and an overarching theme of sweat-drenched arrogance, it’s easy to see why some might love Cock Rock, while others hate it. To say the genre is polarizing would be an understatement. Still, we’re talking about a genre where the actual, literal themes and lyrics are relatively insignificant, it’s more about how the music makes you feel.

Some of the greatest Rock music of all time is rhythmically insistent Classic Rock which we hear on mainstream radio each day. While you may not like approve of the ideas behind what Cock Rock stands for on a cursory level, at the same time, at its core, Rock music has always been about sex. From the very first time Elvis Presley took the stage, shaking his hips while his guitar lifelessly dangled down below his hips, the world of music was forever changed.

Love it or hate it, Cock Rock is here to stay. Bands such as Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Aerosmith, The Who, and more have been populating the charts for decades, and with no end in sight, we may as well embrace it and dig into Blood, Sweat & Arrogance: Five Albums That Defined Cock Rock.

Whitesnake — Lovehunter (1979)

Whitesnake has never been a band short on sex appeal, but the band’s second album, Lovehunter, by far and away takes the cake. If a tracklisting loaded with sultry songs sung by frontman, David Coverdale wasn’t enough to seal the deal, then how about the album’s provocative cover art? It doesn’t get more Cock Rock than a young, naked woman straddling a giant snake, who probably can’t decide if he wants to devour her for pleasure or sustenance. The album’s quintessential tracks are “Long Way From Home,” and the brazen title track, “Lovehunter.” With lyrics such as, “I’m a love hunter, baby, sneaking up on you, I’m gonna give you all my loving, and use my tail on you,” combined with the records controversial, yet iconic cover art which is steeped in sex-laden lore, it’s not hard to see why this album is included in this list.

Black N’ Blue — Nasty Nasty (1986)

The title track from the persistently underrated Black N’ Blue’s 1986 Cock Rock steeplechase, Nasty, Nasty is about as grimy and sleaze-laden as it gets. I mean come on…the track opens with frontman, Jaime St. James hocking a loogie over Tommy Thayer‘s sticky riff. The 1980s Glam and Hair Metal era redefined Cock Rock after its initial late-60s and 70s peak. Blue N’ Blue, along with many other bands, ushered in a new era of groups who were brasher, more hyper-sexualized, and more unapologetically raunchy than the boys in Led Zeppelin, and Whitesnake ever could have dreamed. Highlights include, “I Want It All (I Want It Now),” and the aforementioned titled track, “Nasty, Nasty.” Jaime St. James spits lyrics such as, “I wanna give you all a warning, tell you a little story, she’s a woman with a passion, for makin’ history, she’s got snakeskin eyes, draws men like flies, she’ll tear your heart to pieces, and I’m ready any time,  with a love to crave her, she’s got a lusty flavor, and with a little imagination, she’s gonna rock the nation,” you can see why Black N’ Blue was just a bit sleazier than the rest.

KISS — Love Gun (1977)

KISS, especially in their early days, has never claimed to be anything other than they are — a fun party band, who sings about sex, partying, and Rock ‘N’ Roll. At the height of the band’s fame, the band was absolutely dripping is oversexed band members who were perpetually surrounded by women. Take a look back through the band’s history, and you’ll find photoshoot after photoshoot of the individual band members participating in scenes where they are surrounded by scantily clad, or completely naked women. Yes, KISS was surely a band built on the back of sex, nothing more, nothing less. At the height of the band’s 1970s multimedia stardom, they released Love Gun, an album with cover art depicting the band as muscle-bound superheroes, with droves of women coated in their kabuki-style makeup, crawling at the four members feet in some sort of Rock Temple setting. Furthermore, with tracks such as “Plaster Caster,” and the titular title track, “Love Gun,” where KISS’ frontman, Paul Stanley explicitly sings, “No place for hiding, baby, no place to run, you pulled the trigger on my Love Gun,” it’s pretty safe to say what this album and the band were all about at the time. KISS, along with Led Zeppelin, and a few other contemporaries were true pro-Cock Rockers. It simply doesn’t get more over-the-top than this.

ACϟDC — Back In Black (1980)

Much like their contemporaries, KISS, and Whitesnake, ACϟDC has never been shy when it comes to sex. For better or worse, the band, at least from a songwriting, and image standpoint, have seemed to embrace the womanizing lifestyle. Say what you want about it, criticize them if you will, but — it sells a ton of records. The band’s machismo is on full-on display album in and album out. When it comes to Black In Black, the band may have been in mourning after the death of Bon Scott, but it didn’t seem to have too much of an effect on the band’s libido-stuffed songwriting. Tracks such as “What Do You Do For Money Honey,” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” serve as a full-on showcase for ACϟDC’s no-holds-barred, take no prisoners style of ultra-sexed songwriting. The boys from down under had only one their on their mind, with lyrics such as, “You’re loving on the take, and you’re always on the make, squeezin’ all the blood outta men, yeah, we’re standing in the queue, just to spend the night with you, it’s business as usual again,” we see ACϟDC explore the slightly darker side of Cock Rock, while still maintaining their usual down-home edge. With Back In Black, once again, ACϟDC drilled into the topic of sex with the finesse, and flair of the seasoned Cock Rockers they were by this point in their career.

Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin II (1969)

No list such as this would be complete without the original Cock Rockers original Cock Rock album, Led Zeppelin II. The cover art may be deceiving as to the contents of this now legendary affair, but the lyrical content makes no bones about it and leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. Led Zeppelin was one of the deeper, more varied, greater layered, and freshly conceptional Rock bands of their time, or anytime for that matter. Still, with Robert “The Golden” Plant out front, bare-chested, and gyrating, and Jimmy Page drenched in sweat and using his Gibson Les Paul as a literal phallic device, it’s not hard to understand why Led Zeppelin is the literal Cock Rock archetype. On Led Zeppelin II, tracks such as “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” and “Heartbreaker” are as gritty, sordid as it gets, especially for 1969. In retrospect, it’s incredible to think how far the mighty Zep were able to push boundaries. Without Led Zeppelin, and without lyrics such as, “Come, babe on the round and round, ride on the merry-go-round, we all know what your name is, so you better lay your money down,” Cock Rock simply wouldn’t be what it is today. For better or worse, Led Zeppelin taught a masterclass in innuendo, objectification, and pornification. For Cock Rock, this is where it all began.

At the end of the day, when it comes to Cock Rock, it’s easy to get upset with the perceived objectification of the opposite sex. This said, with a little context, and the ability to see things from a lighter-hearted perspective, one can see that most of this music is tongue-in-cheek, and all in good fun.

Sure, there are political arguments to make, and some will be offended by it, but when it comes to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, it’s always been that way. It comes with the territory. In truth, sex is a part of life, and it’s not always pretty. While no one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable, there are two sides to this coin, and perhaps it’s alright to simply sit back and enjoy these albums for what they are at an extremely base-level — tales woven by young men, in the prime of their lives, who were simply singing about what was on their mind at the time.

Call it what you will — Cock Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Classic Rock — it doesn’t matter, Rock music has always been polarizing, and each sub-genre seems to find new, and inventive ways to offend, and maybe that’s the point. After all, music is meant to make us feel something, right? For better or worse, Cock Rock, at the very least, accomplished that. My recommendation — take it for what it is. Enjoy the music, and don’t overthink it. Rock is about fun. Leave it there and forget the rest.

Interested in digging into the albums above? Check out the video below:

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Idle Chatter, by Andrew Daly, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/idle-chatter-archives/

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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