Gene Chandler – Duke of Earl

First Hit #1: February 17, 1962

If there’s one thing that defines the Duke of Earl, it’s the constant repetition of “Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl”. It’s either charming or grating depending on your tolerance for repetition, and I bounce between the extremes with some regularity over the course of the song. If, however, there are two things that define the song, it’s that repetition and the swagger Chandler brings to the track.

This is a cocky song, it’s bravado hitting the level of an early hip hop track – before it became cool to rap about vulnerabilities and was instead all about how awesome you are. The message is that the Duke of Earl is awesome in every way, with a sub message being that the Duke of Earl’s girlfriend is awesome by association. It’s cocksure and kind of charming in its way, a love song for the self.

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