One of the hottest songs of 1994 was a bluesy/honky-tonk number sung by a guy who sounded like he gargled with gravel. “My Baby Likes To Rock It” was a huge hit for a band called The Tractors and the lead singer’s name was Steve Ripley.
Ripley passed away last Thursday at the age of 69 at his home in Pawnee, Oklahoma, after a battle with cancer.
The Tractors really only ever had the one hit, although they also released a Christmas song called “Santa Claus Is Coming (In a Boogie-woogie choo-choo train)” that still gets played every holiday season (with the memorable “Awww, Choo-choo Santa, choo-choo” at the end) but Ripley enjoyed a great deal of success in the music business apart from the band, playing session guitar for artists like Bob Dylan and Leon Russell, and mentoring younger artists, including a then-unknown pop group of three brothers from Oklahoma called Hanson.
Later in life, Ripley owned a recording studio and hosted a podcast called “Oklahoma Rock and Roll,” which explored the state’s long and influential musical history.
Ripley is survived by his wife and two children.
If you’ve never heard the song, here ya go. It still holds up.