Monday, July 14, 2008

Young Ain’t What It Used To Be

Shuffling the songs on your iPod can be illuminating.

The random selections from one’s digital music catalog (I keep about 5,550 songs on my iPod) often spur new thoughts about artists, song titles, or lyrics.

This week, the presence of three songs in the space of a couple of hours led to a lyrical revelation:

Over time, rockers singing about the young women they want to boink have raised the ages of their desired conquests.

I’ll admit that my argument suffers from methodological weaknesses. Most notably, it is based only on songs that appear on my iPod. (Worse still, it is based only on songs that popped up in my random mix.) There may be several other songs in my catalog—and dozens elsewhere—that would refute the notion.

Nevertheless, here are the songs that led my to my conclusion.

KISS, “Christine Sixteen” (1977). Gene Simmons crooned about someone way too young for him (even in the 1970s)—and probably sparked many community watch programs—with lines like:

I don’t usually say things like this to girls your age
But when I saw you coming out of the school that day
That day I knew, I knew
I've got to have you, I've got to have you!

Let’s all say it together: Eww.

Winger, “Seventeen” (1988). Also below the age of consent was Kip Winger’s target. He creeped out a generation when, at 27 years old, he sang about his 17 year old lover:

And just when I thought
She was coming to my door
She whispered sweet
And brought me to the floor
She said, I’m only seventeen
I’ll show you love like you’ve never seen

Sure, she was a year older than Simmons’ prey … but, to this day, the most common reaction to this song is a resounding chorus of “Eww!”

Eagles of Death Metal, “I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen)” (2006). Lesser known is this song from the very fun (and not actually death metal) band Eagles of Death Metal, featuring Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. In it, we hear about a slightly older—and finally legal—young lady:

I gotta feeling that you wanna come over
I get you here and I will make you roll over
Now look it baby, you're just nineteen
I got the flesh and I will make you scream

Finally, we have it. A song about playing around with younger women that doesn’t also involve a felony.

Which, of course, reminds me of another song on my iPod, “Felony” by Dokken (1983):

Felony in tight blue jeans
I did not know she was so sweet
Felony, what you did to me
The judge said sorry—first degree …
Those tight blue jeans that drove my wild
I did not know she was just a child



At July 14, 2008 11:25 AM, Blogger bob_vinyl replied to my musings ...

The whole statutory rape angle is a long tradition that goes way back. I doubt Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" came out of nowhere to inspire generations of idiots not only to believe it is acceptable to have sex with underage girls, but to wear it like a badge of honor. Morons.

At July 14, 2008 12:30 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

I PUT YOU BACK! IT WAS AN OVERSITE, you know I love your wittiness, talent, sarcasm and devilish avatar (but I do miss the crow pic). I will come back and read this post later...

At July 14, 2008 1:53 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

The first song that I think of when it comes to loving younger girls is the Knack's "My Sharona". I don't know the line word for word but it goes something like "I always get it up to the touch of the younger kind."

At July 14, 2008 1:55 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

My cousin was a huge Kiss fan and I remember him playing that song on a forty-five.

At July 14, 2008 3:45 PM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...

Good post, and good point. When you really look at those lyrics...EWW is right. I've found that guys like to go for younger girls, but that is just sick.

At July 14, 2008 3:55 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

Not a subject I've given a whole lot of thought to until now.

At July 14, 2008 6:53 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Bob: Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis thought alike, apparently.

Barbara: Whew. I thought I wrote something offensive. Oh wait, that's what I always do!

Jeff: "Younger kind" leaves open many possibilities, not all of them disgusting.

Angel: As long as your cousin wasn't 45 himself and playing it for 16 year olds, that's fine by me.

Jessica: I just thought of a Prince quote (from "The Morning Papers") along these lines: "Why is age more than a number when it comes 2 love?"

Cube: And I hope you give it no more thought after ... now.

At July 15, 2008 8:05 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

In 1978 on their first album after the passing of their original lead guitarist, Terry Kath (and their first studio album to feature a title, Hot Streets instead of a number, which would have been XII fwiw) Chicago recorded Little Miss Lovin' with guest background vocals by The Bee Gees:

"Sweet Sixteen
Mighty Fine in her tight blue jeans
Yes indeed
Little Miss Lovin'"

Most of the guys in the band were in their early 30s by then... So there's definitely a creepiness factor there.

At July 15, 2008 10:59 AM, Blogger Beth replied to my musings ...

Total eww. Have you seen the movie Sugar Town? Michael Des Barres plays a rock star who always beds barely legals. He beds Beverly D'Angelo and discovers that fortysomething women know how to do things a young thing hasn't even dreamed about.

At July 15, 2008 4:21 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: Nice addition. I'm sure if we really searched musical archives we'd find many more.

Beth: I missed that one. But many a video from the early '80s ran from the same starting point.

At July 15, 2008 6:18 PM, Blogger The Mad Hatter replied to my musings ...

Don't forget Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" from 1980. Donald Fagen singing it makes it especially gross.

At July 17, 2008 3:38 PM, Blogger Jim replied to my musings ...

u have 5K songs on your iPod? I haven't HEARD 5K songs in my lifetime!

Dear David:

Your therapy session has been rescheduled for next Tuesday.

/s/ Your friends at the Obsessive-Compulsive Clinic :)

dvdkojwx <-- an X-rated dvd featuring a knock-out at a junior welterweight match (See "Cup, necessary to wear")

At July 17, 2008 5:02 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

"Sixteen" was clearly the target age of desirability in early rock songs like "Only Sixteen," by Sam Cooke, "Sweet Little Sixteen," by Chuck Berry, "Sixteen Candles," by I'm Too Lazy To Google It, etc.

"Good Morning LIttle School Girl" I think was by the Johnny Burnette Trio and clearly suggests a girl below what we would modernly deem the proper age of consent.

The old modus operandi of early rockers like Conway Twitty, Jerry lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, etc. was to switch to COUNTRY when it became more appropriate to sing about boinking a woman over forty--and substitute "adultery" for "statutory rape" as the "forbidden fruit" in the lyrical content.

At July 17, 2008 6:34 PM, Blogger Nessa replied to my musings ...

I don't know if there are any songs about it, but it sure is good that women can't get into trouble with younger men.

At July 20, 2008 8:38 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

MH: Fagen doing about anything can be creepy.

Jim: Just be grateful I didn't record my entire collection on my iPod.

ZW: It certainly has been a trend for a while. Long before rock and roll.

Nessa: Unless you're a blond schoolteacher in Florida. She got busted, that's for sure.

At July 24, 2008 6:27 AM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

let's get Jerry Lee's thoughts on the matter...

At July 25, 2008 3:19 PM, Blogger The Rock Brigade Blogger replied to my musings ...

Kiss strikes again on the song Domino from 1992's Revenge album, when Gene sings about the girl of his affections:

"Got a reputation, haven't got a hop. It's a sticky situation, if she ain't old enough to vote"

At July 27, 2008 10:55 PM, Blogger Malcolm replied to my musings ...

A collective ewww is right. To be fair to Mr. Berry in regards to "Sweet Little Sixteen", he wasn't singing about trying to "hit that". He was merely making an observation about a teen who liked to act/dress beyond her years.

I was going to mention Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen", but somebody beat me to the punch. Another jailbait song that comes to mind is "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.


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