"Rockaria!" is a song by Electric Light Orchestra
This was the third track on the band's successful 1976 album A New World Record, and as the second single from the album, released in the UK in 1977. Featuring the operatic voice of Mary Thomas during the introduction, she flubbed the first take by starting the vocals too early. However, Jeff Lynne elected to use the take (complete with her interjection, "Oops!") anyway. During live performances, the 'aria' was provided by the band's bassist Kelly Groucutt, illustrating his wide-ranging vocal talents.
The song itself is a unique fusion of rocking blues, glam rock, opera, and power pop. The lyrics are about a "sweet little lady" who "sings like a songbird, and she sings the opera like you ain't never heard, but she ain't ready (no no no, she ain't ready) and she ain't gonna rock & roll." According to the lyrics, she is obsessed with the operatic masterworks of Wagner, Beethoven, Puccini and Verdi, and the singer's intent is to show her "how to rock and roll." By the end of the song, however, the twist becomes that the opera singer has proven that she actually can rock 'n' roll with the best of them — and that she has a few tricks to teach to the singer!
The title of the song is not used within the lyrics, thus it is often mispronounced, usually as rhyming with "momma mia". It is actually a fusion of two different words, rock and aria, thus giving "rock-ahr'-ia".
On some CD pressings of A New World Record, it appears without the exclamation point.
Just got back from the downtown palais
Where the music was so sweet
It knocked me right back in the alley
I'm ready, yea, yea, yea, I'm ready,
Wo, wo, wo, I'm ready
And I'm really gonna rock tonight.
Sweet little lady sings like a songbird
And she sings the opera like you ain't never heard,
But she ain't ready,
No, no, no, she ain't ready
No, no, no, she ain't ready,
And she ain't gonna rock & roll
She's sweet on Wagner,
I think she'd die for Beethoven,
She loves the way Puccini lays down a tune,
And Verdi's always creeping from her room
Come on I'll show you how to sing the blues
Now baby, come on over you got nothin' to lose,
Are you ready, hey, hey, hey are you ready
Ooh, ooh, ooh, are you ready
I wanna show you how to rock and roll.
"Now listen here baby," she said to me
"Just meet me at the opera house at a quarter to three,
"cos I'm ready, yea, yea, yea, I'm ready,
"Woo, hoo, hoo, I'm ready,
"I'm gonna show you how to sing the blues."
Chorus -- repeat
Far, far away the music is playing.
Well we were reelin' and a rockin' all through the night,
Yea we were rockin' at the opera house until the break of light,
And the orchestra were playin' all Chuck Berry's greatest tunes.
And the singers in the chorus all got off on singing blues,
And as the night grew older everybody was as one,
The people on the streets came runnin' in to join in song
Just to hear the opera singer singin' rock & roll so pure,
I thought I saw the mayor there but I wasn't really sure,
But it's alright.
pounds 600 cash payout for sacked singer ; TRIBUNAL: Entertainer wins settlement after being replaced in tribute band
May 17, 2008; A PROFESSIONAL entertainer has been awarded pounds 600 compensation after complaining he was replaced as a lead singer in a band...