By Jason Menard
People in the future may look back on this generation’s youth and be shocked at the level of misogyny, violence, and overt sexuality in today’s music. But, you know what? I’d rather bear that cross than the one that should be applied to the generation directly before mine: pedophiles.
When you take a close listen to the lyrics of some of the songs from the generations preceding my birth in 1973 and they truly put the Sick in Sixties and made the Fifties filthy!
Like a bunch of lyrically inclined Hugh Hefners, the male singers of this time frame had a penchant for expressing their lust for the recently pubescent members of the opposite sex.
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap reached the charts in 1968 with Young Girl. In 1968, Puckett was 26. Oh, sure. Puckett sings that he was tricked by the temptress, “You led me to believe/You’re old enough/To give me love/And now it hurts to know the truth.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt ol’ Gary enough to make him flee! No, he puts the pressure on the young girl, “You better run girl/You’re much too young girl,” admitting (perhaps hinting or encouraging) that if she stays “That come-on look is in your eyes, oh” will overpower him. She must “get out of here/before I have the time/to change my mind.”
Way to let the threat of statutory rape curb your desires Gary! I’m sure, “I told her to get out, but she stuck around, and well… you know…” would have worked wonders with the judge.
Prior to that, Johnny Burnette hit number eight on the U.S. charts with You’re 16. At the age of 26, Burnette sang about how the object of his affection, “all ribbons and curls, oh, what a girl” stole his heart. “You come out of a dream/Peaches and cream/Lips like strawberry wine.”
Yes Johnny, she’s 16, she’s beautiful, and you’d be in jail.
Billy J. Kramer had a hit in 1964 with Little Children – a song imploring his girlfriend’s young siblings to not tell their parents about Kramer’s nighttime adventures with their sister. First, he threatens them, “Little children, you better not tell on me/I’m tellin’ you.” Then, he resorts to bribing them with candy, money, and a movie.
All in all, it’s extremely creepy. And I’m going to go home and reinforce that “don’t take candy from strangers” message with my daughter.
And, last but not least, what’s a little holiday cheer without a heaping helping of date rape? Initially written in 1944 by Frank Loesser and sung as a duet with his wife Lynn Garland, Baby It’s Cold Outside has been covered and recovered by several artists ever since. No less than Dinah Shore, Ella Fitzgerald, Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban (likely trying to coerce her to the couch made of ‘fine Corinthian leather’), and Sammy Davis Jr. have taken turns with the song.
But it’s Deano’s version that sticks in our mind. Maybe it’s because Dean Martin’s gin-soaked image as a swinging hipster makes the scenario all-the-more plausible, but somehow this paean to acquaintance rape takes it’s place next to Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells during the holidays.
Never mind the fact that this woman’s desperately trying to get home, while the male protagonist is plying her with drinks, pressuring her to spend the night, and all but barring the door and breaking out the ball gag.
So perhaps those responsible adults who are so infuriated by today’s rap music and who get all flustered when Katy Perry’s breasts are hanging out (pun fully intended) with Elmo should pick up some of their old platters and give them a spin.
People in glass houses, after all, shouldn’t throw stones. Nor should people who celebrate courting girls who are still playing with doll houses.