Whip It – Devo | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#14); 1980

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Devo’s name summed up its philosophy: the world was de-volving due to the destructive impact of modern technology. Formed in 1972, Devo moved from Akron to LA five years later where it caught the attention of Iggy Pop and David Bowie. The inevitable single – Jocko Homo – appeared in 1977 with its signature catchphrase, “Are we not men? We are Devo!” Next Devo disassembled the Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which peaked at #42 in England in the Spring of 1978. Stateside, Devo’s debut album on Warner Bros., produced by Brian Eno, generated some noise and went gold. Devo’s 15 minutes of pop culture fame arrived in 1980 with its third album and Whip It. Whip It’s commentary of the use of force to solve any problem in America went over the head of most MTV viewers, who simply liked its “hip” mechanical sound and “nonsensical” lyrics. Devo ultimately lived out its dream of de-volution; disbanding in 1984.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Devo
  • Robert Margouleff

Lyrics Written by:

  • Mark Mothersbaugh
  • Gerald Casale