When Sting sang about “Roxanne,” in 1978, she was a prostitute whom he loved and wanted  to “save.” The song had a plaintive, painful tone.

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light

Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight

Today’s “Roxanne” is a status seeking Malibu party-girl, spending Daddy’s money and sniffing cocaine.

It’s also a Top 40 sensation.

The singer/songwriter is Arizona Dervas, a 24-year old white hip-hop /rapper from Maryland who got instant buzz last year when his version of  “Roxanne” hit  #4” on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The uptempo delivery is catchy, and the lyrics are raunchy…


All she wanna do is party all night

Goddamn, Roxanne

Never gonna love me

But it’s alright

She think I’m a asshole

She think I’m a player

She keep running back though

Only ‘cause I pay up

Popular music both reflects and influences pop culture and listening to these two “Roxannes,” side-by-side, is an eye-popping example of how much our culture, and musical tastes and styles have changed sinc 1978.

Vive la difference?