"beat to the socks"

Posted by Patty on February 20, 2002

In Reply to: "beat to the socks" posted by James Briggs on February 18, 2002

: : Jack Kerouac used to claim that the term "Beat Generation" came from the expression "beat to the socks". The other day, someone played me an old recording by a singer, pianist, songwriter named Fats Waller. His song had a line that went "when they play those swing songs it beats me to my socks". What does this expression mean?? Thanks. - Patty

: A guess, but surely that the rhythm is so strong that your whole body reverberates to it - right down to your socks.

That seems plausable (reverberating beat). But Kerouac's books can also give the impression of someone (being the author) who falls into sadness and a sense of futility, so "beat" sometimes seemed to me to signify "defeated". A "beat" generation, if you see. No, hey? - Patty