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53 Interesting Facts About the Number 53: #2 Ramones Song 53rd & 3rd

January 18, 2015


So here’s #2 Interesting Fact about the Number 53:



53rd & 3rd is a 1976 song by the Ramones that refers to a spot in New York City famous for male prostitution–on 53rd from 1st to 3rd streets or “the Loop.”

If you think you can, well come on man
I was a Green Beret in Viet Nam
No more of your fairy stories
‘Cause I got my other worries

53rd and 3rd
Standing on the street
53rd and 3rd
I’m tryin’ to turn a trick

53rd and 3rd
You’re the one they never pick
53rd and 3rd
Don’t it make you feel sick?

Then I took out my razor blade
Then I did what God forbade
Now the cops are after me
But I proved that I’m no sissy

According to Wikipedia, “In the song, Dee Dee’s lyrics referenced the wavering feelings of a “straight” teenage hustler who confuses being purchased with being attractive and also confuses violence with masculinity. Legend has it that Dee Dee himself, bassist and primary lyricist and songwriter of The Ramones, worked as a hustler in order to pay for his heroin habit. He refused to discuss the matter during his lifetime, fueling speculation that the track is, in fact, autobiographical. In the film End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, other members the band seem to insinuate that the story is indeed true. At the end of the song the protagonist of “53rd and 3rd,” who bemoans the fact that he’s “the one they never pick,” is finally chosen by a customer but produces a razor blade to do “what God forbade.” He is chased by the police, but is pleased that he has “proved that [he’s] no sissy.””

The title also “53rd and 3rd” also became the name of an “influential[3] British indie pop label. It was run by The Pastels‘ Stephen Pastel and friends, and released records by the likes of Talulah Gosh, Shop Assistants, The Vaselines, The Soup Dragons, and BMX Bandits”  continues Wikipedia.

Wikipedia tells me that Metallica and other bands have covered the song and Rod Stewart also referred to the location in one of his songs.

So why a song about prostitution for interesting fact #2 about the number 53?

For one, I liked how the B 52s song “53 Miles West of Venus” worked as a theme for my week, so I was inclined to choose another song.

But the bigger question is: What does prostitution mean to you? And where, why and how do we prostitute ourselves?

A few things to think about, huh, including how our addictions make us act in ways that conflict and corrupt us. At least that’s what I’m going to think about this week as I embark on a detox and cleanse and attempt to cut down on sugar, wheat, alcohol (oh yeah that’s sugar), and did I mention sugar? Ah and bread. I really love bread.

And please join me tomorrow for the #yourturnchallenge where a group of us will blog daily for a week… and my blogging will of course be colored by this week’s interesting fact about the number 53…

PS For something completely different, if you’d like to read about a magical meal near Mammoth at McGee Creek Lodge with food by guest chef David Scheidt and his Mastro Scheidt Cabernet and sauv blanc, here you go!


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