In Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs’ great masterpiece, Wooly Bully,
“Hatty told Matty, ‘Let’s don’t take no chance.
Let’s not be L-seven, come and learn to dance.’”
What’s L-seven? Google was fruitless; it’s time for the big guns.
Real simple explanation, based in Fifties/Early Sixties slang:
If you were “hopelessly out of it,” you were a square, which of course nobody wanted to be. Contemplate what L7 draws graphically, and you see the connection.
L7 =square, man
Form an “L” with the first finger and thumb of your left hand, then complete the "square with a “7” formed by the first finger and thumb of your right hand, like so:
Now that you’re hip to the jive, get out there and dance, daddy-o.
If you draw an L and a 7, joined at the tips (and using a straight downstroke on the 7 instead of a diagonal), you have a square.
(Kids used to jokingly do this with their hands, as well, using their thumbs and forefingers to make the L and 7 and joining them to produce a square.
“Let’s not be square”
For further commentary, I’m going to shift this over to Cafe Society.
I’ve been told that if you make an “L” with your left hand and a “7” with your right, and put them together, you get a square…
I’ve heard the opposite is C-moon. A Capital C and a crescent moon make a circle, the opposite of square. C-moon is hip.
Man, you cats must have some deformed thumbs.
I get a rectangle and not a square. Maybe my thumbs are too short.
Rick James’ second album was titled Bustin’ Out of L Seven and there was also a punkish girl group in the 80s and 90s called L7.
Nobody wants to be a square. Only the Lonely.
Thanks – you are a bunch of C-moon cats and kitties. I hope to someday overcome the heartbreak of L7 myself. Then everything will be, um, copacetic.
Decidely less panicky…
So basically, the line, Let’s not be L7 is a call to everyone to avoid being a square. And, yet, in later years, it was Huey Lewis and The News who said that, “It’s Hip To Be Square”. So who’s right ?
Huey WAS the kid deathly afraid to be L7. Then he grew up, and now he needs to convince himself he still is hip.
Sorry, Huey, and furthermore, you’re just too darn loud.
But Huey Lewis spoke to the pre-cyber generation. He is truly a carry-over of 50’s/60’s music wrapped in a modern-marketing bow !!!