Unintentionally controversial songs

It is fair to say, that we would be gracelessly lying if we said we'd never made a faux pas in respectable conversation. It turns out, that we are not the only ones. Down in the deep crevices of the internet is a history of past singer-songwriters with some very dodgy lyrics indeed. 

Who doesn't love a classic? To ignore the older decades of music, would be like eating vanilla ice cream for the rest of our lives. But, as values have become more concrete, especially in regards to feminism and sexual regards to women, when we look back at the days of yore, it's fair to say quite a few of these lyrics aren't looking so romantic anymore. Have a look at some of these hidden wonders that would be given the Robin Thicke Award for Chauvinism if they were dared to be written today.

Wives and Lovers - Burt Bacharach, 1963

The trope of the '50s housewife' is now a stereotype that we tend to gape and gawp at.

However in the early 60s, songs like this one existed, that tell the ominous advice to young ladies not to forget to do their make-up, or the husbands will most likely cheat on them immediately with that bit of stuff at the office. Aside from Alan Rickman in Love Actually, it all sounds a little bit hostile.

Wives and Lovers 

"Hey, little girl,
Comb your hair, fix your make-up.
Soon he will open the door.
Don’t think because
There’s a ring on your finger,
You needn’t try any more."

Aah, just what every lady loves to hear. That she's ugly without make-up and her beloved partner will leave her because she's not 'trying hard enough'. This must have been what Burt meant when he sang The Look of Love.  

Image from Creative Commons

My Sharona - The Knack, 1979

This No.1 hit for the rock quartet is a catchy tune we probably all have heard at some point or another - but perhaps the rock quartet's one hit wonder wasn't such a bad thing, when you look at some of the lyrics that weren't "My, my, my, my Sharona." 

"Such a dirty mind, always get it up for the younger kind." 

Erm, only if Sharona is over 18 and up for a serious relationship, right, guys..? Guys?

In the Summertime  - Mungo Jerry, 1970 

Ray Dorset's 70s rockers may have wanted to bring a bit of sun into our lives with this No.1 smash, but looking a little closer at the lyrics reveals some pretty skewed opinions on 'poor girls'. Maybe all that heat was playing with their minds...

"In the summer time when the weather is high
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather's fine
You got women, you got women on your mind
Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find..."

"If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal, If her daddy's poor, just do what you feel, Speed along the lane, Do a turn or return the twenty-five, When the sun goes down, You can make it, make it good in a lay-by."

That's right, ladies. If you're a bit short on cash this January, never fear, for Mungo Jerry and their giant sideburns are always there for you, if they feel like it. Later on in the 90s, Jamaican rapper Shaggy, another known Casablanca-style romeo and all round romancer of women, would cover this worrying summer smash. 

Neil Young - A Man Needs a Maid, 1972

Country legend Neil Young is still regarded as a genius in his realm, but in much-revered album Harvest, there is a bit of an odd one. We're sure Neil was just a bit lonely and had a bit of extra dust building up, but maids have feelings too! 

"I was thinking that maybe I'd get a maid 
Find a place nearby for her to stay. 
Just someone to keep my house clean, 
Fix my meals and go away."

Could she not stop for a bit of a chat, or a country singalong maybe? 

They don't care about us - Michael Jackson, 1995

A quick break from sexism now, as we look at some other unintentionally offensive ditties. 

In 1995, Micheal Jackson landed himself in a bit of context trouble, when The New York Times pointed out that the lyrics were a tad anti-semitic. Naturally, Jackson denied the allegations and said he "loved all races". The offending lyrics are here for you to judge yourself.

"Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me"

The mysteries of Louie, Louie - The Kingsmen, 1959. 

Now to a mysterious anomoly on our list is the 50s smash cover by The Kingsmen. The Kinks-style razor sharp riff, and the momentously catchiness catapulted this song as a zeitgeist of 50s pop culture, but was not without its hidden controversy.

In light of the slurred tone that Jack Ely adopted whilst singing the song, investigations were carried out on what was thought to be a look in to the lewd and suggestive content Louie Louie was secretly containing.

The old legend went, that if you slowed down the track on a record player to 33 RPM, you could hear a much naughtier version of the song. At the time, any trace of such content in a mainstream hit could've ruined the band's reputation. The rumours have always been said to be simply rumours, but did not stop rock critic Dave Marsh looking deeper into the matter with his Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World's Most Famous Rock 'n' Roll Song. The song was also routinely analysed by the FBI during a 30 month investigation, but the scandal was never proved, and went to be the Atlantis of great pop music mysteries.

The rumoured lyrics involved were said by those who 'heard' them, to contain lines such as, "Each night at ten, I fuck her again. I lay my girl all kinds of ways, and on that chair, I lay her there, I felt a boner in her hair." 

It's enough to make any girl in 2014 blush. 


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