Recently in a Facebook group that I run, someone posted a song that spurred an interesting conversation.
Things have changed a lot since rock and roll kicked off in the fifties; heck, things have changed a lot in the last couple of years. Those changes are long overdue, but my stacks are littered with tracks from an era when rock stars were far from #metoo enlightened.
And while this might be the least important concern resulting from this very important national discussion, the question remains: What the heck do we do with songs that we once loved but now make us feel creepy?
This isn’t a judgement, by the way. Liking a song doesn’t make you a sex offender, so don’t get your guard up. It’s just that some songs might have an ick factor these days that they didn’t have when they originally dropped (although they should have). And frankly some of these songs always made me say “ew,” but I still like them.
Also worth considering: The speaker in a song shouldn’t be confused with the performer or writer of a song. Rock music was for kids for at least its first 20 years, so the characters in the songs often were teenagers. When we listen to Ringo sing “you’re 16, you’re beautiful, and you’re mine” we shouldn’t assume that a 33 year-old drummer is chasing a high school cheerleader. We can, but we can also assume that the narrator of the song is the same age as the object of his affection, which is likely what songwriter Richard Sherman intended.
And then there’s Gary Glitter. I can’t separate that creep’s personal history from his music.
Anyway, here are a few songs from my stacks whose lyrics just don’t cut it in 2018:
“It’s So Easy,” Guns N’ Roses. “Turn around bitch I got a use for you /Besides, you ain’t got nothing better to do/And I’m bored.”
“Going Blind,” KISS. “I’m 93 and you’re 16, and I think I’m going blind.”
“Do You Wanna Touch Me,” Gary Glitter.
“Jailbait,” Aerosmith. “You’re jailbait, and I just can’t wait.”
“Into the Night,” Benny Mardones. “She’s just sixteen years old / Leave her alone they say.”
“Art Lover,” The Kinks. “Jogging in the park is my excuse to look at all the little girls.”
“He Hit Me (and It Felt Like A Kiss),” The Crystals. “If he didn’t care for me / I could have never made him mad /
But he hit me / And I was glad.”
“Maggie May,” Rod Stewart. “You lured me away from home / Just to save you from being alone.”
There you have it: Eight songs to party with Gary Glitter and R. Kelly by. What did I miss? I’m listening.
Categories: Deep Cuts