Wednesday, October 17, 2007

J-j-j-jammin' on the one

Just saw a rerun of "The Cosby Show's" "Touch of Wonder" episode, where the Huxtables go record with Stevie Wonder. And Theo's big contribution is "jammin' on the one."

Had anyone actually ever heard of that as slang before that episode? Or was it like FBOFW and "Roadside," and the show writers just made it up?

Regardless, it's such a choice bit of 1980s memorabilia that I am campaigning to bring it back into style. Along with "choice," which I don't think I've heard outside of "Family Ties."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, "on the one" comes from James Brown and, later, Parliament/Funkadelic, mainly. Brown's big innovation to R&B was to shift the rhythmic emphasis to the first beat in a 4/4 time. Pretty much, it's not funk if the beat doesn't come down "on the one." "Jammin'," I suppose, might as well be any other groove-oriented word. The whole phrase doesn't stand out, but "on the one" had been out there for a while.

Maxwell Hammer said...

Sometimes slang is very local. The ultimate insult when I was in middle school was to tell someone "left". Which meant they should suck your left testicle. Other insults were to call someone "goob" or "prickle". Both of those meant gay. When I was in Virginia and other places no one had ever heard of these words.

Rebecca said...

"Choice" definitely shows up in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris is talking about the convertible, I think? Something, anyway, is "so choice."

Heather said...

I can think of one place "choice" was used as an adjective--Ferris Bueller's Day Off! Ferris is delivering his monologue in the restroom at the snooty restaurant and, when explaining why it was necessary to take Cameron's dad's car, he says, "I loooove to drive it. It is SO choice! If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Aaaaand I have officially revealed how very often I've seen that movie--I didn't even have to look up the script. :)

fs said...

Didn't Ferris Bueller use "choice" in reference to the Ferrari?

jamie said...

Ferris Bueller said Cameron's Dad's Porsche was "so choice."

And... that information is taking up the part of my brain that could be used to learn organic chemistry.

Suzy said...

"It is so choice" is used by Ferris Bueller in reference to Cameron's dad's car. :)

Anonymous said...

Jammin' on the one was odd, but what about Rudie's giraffe sounds? Those creeped me out!

Monty Ashley said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen Malcolm Jamal-Warner say (possibly on one of those I Love The '80s-type shows) that he had no idea what "Jammin' on the One" meant, and he suspected it was the writers trying to sound hip.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I would like 'choice' to be brought back, because I still use it and no one else seems to recognize the awesomeness of it. It was also used in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" re: picking yourself up a classic Ferrari if you have the means, because it is so choice!

Tracie said...

This makes me want to go home and watch Ferris Bueller right now.

cruey said...

well, "jammin' on the one" being local slang or james brown slang or whatever is one thing. but would you ever say it at a party?

stevie asks theo to rap something, theo says "i don't know." so to loosen him up, stevie asks "what would you say at a party?" and theo's response is "jammin' on the one."

wtf kind of sense does that make? who says that at a party?

Tami said...

My brother in Milwaukee says choice...I kinda figured it was midwestern.

Anonymous said...

LOL everyone here... I love you guys. WTF kind of sense indeed. :-)

Todd Carruth said...

this blog is so choice. Anyone? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

I'm from Milwaukee and have NEVER heard anyone use the word "choice" as an adjective. Ever. I'd say it's by no means a midwestern thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm in New Zealand and we have been using the word 'choice' since the late 70s. It's fading a little now but still very common. The opposite of 'choice' is 'stink'.

My dad has a stink car but my mate's dad has a choice car.