KRTV reported this week: “The ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ made significant progress towards becoming Montana’s official Rock and Roll song.”
For those unfamiliar with it – it’s a bouncy rock song from 1959 that was written by Chan Romero of Billings; he hitchhiked to East Los Angeles, California in 1958, where he wrote “Hippy Hippy Shake” and thus launched his career. It’s a nice enough song, and has been recorded by several other artists, notably The Beatles.
I have no problem with Montana having an official rock song – after all, we already have an official animal, fish, tree, fossil, butterfly, soil (!), song, and even lullaby, so why not a rock song? And “Hippy Hippy Shake” has legit Montana roots, so it fits that requirement.
Of course, there are some (many?) people who wonder just what our state legislators are even doing in Helena during the session, asserting that they are wasting time and taxpayer money even discussing such things.
They have a point, to a degree. There are “bigger” issues, more important issues, and more time-sensitive issues that lawmakers need to address – but here’s the thing: THEY ARE. There are scores of other bills being drafted, debated, and analyzed in the Legislature – addressing the death penalty, taxes, public safety, criminal justice, healthcare, and so on.
However, much to the surprise of the people who do nothing but complain about the Montana Legislature (or any government body), the people that we elect and send to Helena are capable of multi-tasking and working on numerous projects at the same time.
Am I thrilled that the Legislature spent any time at all on the official rock song of Montana? No, not really. But I am certainly not outraged. In the grand scheme of things, the time they have spent (or will spend) on this trifling matter is literally a drop in the bucket. And remember also: this is happening during the official 90-day session, which only happens every two years. The important stuff (law and justice, budget issues, etc) is handled not just during the official session, but also via interim legislative committees that meet regularly in between the sessions.
And let’s face it: official state symbols are often held in high regard and touted as such – come on, isn’t it pretty cool that our state animal is a dang GRIZZLY BEAR?
And for what it’s worth – House Bill 392 is bi-partisan, with a Democrat sponsor (Jacob Bachmeier, Havre) and a Republican sponsor (John Fuller, Kalispell). And they seem to be at opposite ends of the age spectrum in the Legislature. So please don’t try to blame just DIMOCRATS or just RETHUGLICANS, or paint this as an “old timer” issue or an argument for term limits.
And here is the song in question: