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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rock And Roll Songs and the Lies I Was Told About Them

When you attend parochial schools as I did for 12 years, you occasionally get to attend presentations on the various evils lurking in the lyrics of popular music. Here is a list of some of the incorrect information that was contained in some of those presentations.

Suicide Solution, Ozzy Ozbourne
    I was told that this song was encouraging the listener to commit suicide as a solution to all of life's problems. Which I could see someone inferring from the title, but why not take a look at what the lyrics actually say? If anything, the song seems to be a warning about the dangers of alcohol.

Wine is fine
But whiskey's quicker
Suicide is slow with liquor
Take a bottle drain your sorrows

Hey, Jude, The Beatles.
I was told that in the song "Hey, Jude," Paul McCartney is advising Jude to use heroin. Apparently the phrase "Let her under your skin" and "let her into your heart" were supposed to refer to injecting heroin under one's skin and into one's bloodstream.
Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
Sure, obviously that's about heroin. What else could it possibly be about? Meeting a nice girl and falling in love? Don't be so naive!

Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones.
   I was told that this song is about sado-masochism. Which one could buy if one looked at the title and did not read any of the lyrics. They could have just said that this was a very naughty song because it contains pleas for S-E-X, but no, they went with the S&M lie. Why? I don't know why.

I'll never be your beast of burden
My back is broad but it's a hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me
I'll never be your beast of burden
I've walked for miles my feet are hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me

Dog Eat Dog, Adam and the Ants.
   I was told that the term "dog eat dog" was a slang term for two men blowing each other. (I'm sure the guy didn't use those words, but it eas something like that.) Aaaaanyway, that may be true. "Dog eat dog" may very well be a slang term for oral sex, but the song has absolutely nothing to do with sex of any type. Not that Adam + the Ants didn't have some risque' songs (Whip in My Valise, Strip) but this wasn't one of them. You can see the lyrics here. Maybe you can make sense of them. I have no idea what the song is about, but it's not about blowjobs.

Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkle
   I was told that the "bridge" in this song referred to heroin, which Simon & Garfunkle were advocating as a way to get over the "troubled waters" of  life. Seriously. This verse:
Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
was supposed to be especially incriminating, as the "silver girl"  was a syringe. Really. That's really what I was told.

Bonus: these two did not come from a parochial school presentation, but from a book I stumbled onto in a public library. The book was about songs which promote drug use. Two of the songs were "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground and "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. If one is not familiar with these songs, one might guess from their titles that they would be songs about how awesome drugs are. But if one has ever heard the lyrics to either song, that really could not be further from the truth.

Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends, they can go my way
Pay your toll, sell your soul
Pound for pound costs more than gold
The longer you stay, the more you pay
My white lines go a long way
Either up your nose or through your vein
With nothin to gain except killin’ your brain

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for cocaine use.

I have made the big decision
I'm gonna try to nullify my life
'Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper's neck
When I'm closing in on death
And you can't help me not, you guys
And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk

Does that make you want to go shoot heroin?

Now I’m broke and it’s no joke
It’s hard as hell to fight it, don’t buy it!
Could that be a more explicit anti-drug lyric?

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of all this was. I had a point when I started this post, but I don't remember what. I guess the main takeaway would be that I got lied to a lot in parochial school, and I don't really get why.


jadedj said...

The name of their game is...control.

While reading this I kept thinking of Eric Clapton's Cocaine, it must have drove them bonkers. On the surface it might seem to be advocating the use of cocaine, but closer examination reveals it's anti-cocaine message...that is for anyone with a modicum of a brain.

jadedj said...

Make that..."must have driven them bonkers". There's no accounting for bad verb tense.

Margaret Benbow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Benbow said...

A person sees everything through his own lens. And it seems to me that someone who re-interprets innocent lyrics to be about drug use, must be using drugs. Just my opinion.