The song “Teenage Dirtbag” (as performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain) came up in conversation during my recent visit with the Diary reader who stopped by, and ever since then it has been running through my head. On review, even though I have known about this performance for years, I realize I have not shared it with you until now.
It was originally released in July 2000 as the lead single from the alternative rock group Wheatus, and included on the soundtrack of the movie Loser.
The single was massively successful in Australia, spending four weeks at number 1 and becoming the second-highest selling single of the year. It also reached number 2 in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Nearly 11 years after its initial release, in March 2011, the song returned to the UK Singles Chart at number 43 and climbed to number 35 the following week. The song was ranked number 69 on the Top 100 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time countdown by British music channel “The Hits”. In June 2013, Triple J ranked the song as number 82 on their “Twenty years of Triple J’s hottest 100”.
What accounts for the enduring popularity of the song?
It has to do, of course, with our eternal sympathy for the underdog in a fight. It also has to do with the memory (of those of us who were not captains of the high school football team or a member of the cheerleading squad) of having been on the “outs” with our peers. The recognition of the effects of bullying, in recent years, has also reinforced the song’s popularity.
I don’t know if I am overly emotional, but the story presented in the song never fails to bring a tear to my eye. And it wasn’t until years later when I’d grown up that I realized I’d been weird in high school.
Groove of the Day