17
Aug 06

GARY PUCKETT AND THE UNION GAP – “Young Girl”

FT + Popular124 comments • 8,931 views

#250, 25th May 1968

No connection between Ms Smith and Mr Puckett is implied, of course.Girls ‘turning out to be’ underage was doubtless a very real concern for your gigging rock star of the 60s and 70s, though I suspect a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy would be closer to the truth than Gary Puckett’s horrified self-denial. Puckett lays out the classic Lolita defense – grown man no match for deceitful nymphet with her skirts and make-up and “come-on look”. There’s something breathily weak, tearful almost, about Puckett’s vocals on the verse which makes the whole thing sleazier: his struggling for control is all too convincing. The sleaze has a strong setting: Puckett’s songwriters were highly regarded and the chorus especially is the sort of thing I might find myself bellowing along to in the pub, leaving me with a feeling of nervous shame the next day. A good match of content and effect, then.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Doctor Mod on 17 Aug 2006 #

    The photo sums up the sleaze perfectly.

    As usual, the pedophile (whether wittingly or unwittingly so) paints himself as the pained victim of a lascivious child. It’s her fault, he claims: “You kept a secret of your youth,” “You know that it’s wrong to be in love with me,” “That come-on look is in your eyes.” But in truth this is about a guy who is all id with no super-ego.

    Yet this was standard fare for GP. There was “Woman, Woman,” in which GP is situated as the victim of a woman about to cheat on him (hey, I wonder why), “Lady Willpower” in which he tries to break down the sexual reticence of a woman apparently his own age, one who possesses what he so obviously lacks. And then there’s the one that asks, “Why am I losing sleep over you?” in which he simply can’t understand why a woman would dump him. Seems to me that there are some nasty obsessions going on here.

    It’s all quite disgusting and pathetic–and pretty misogynistic in the bargain. The sexual bully wallows in self-pity and cries when things don’t go his way. (In academia I’ve worked with any number of blatant sexual harrassers who cry that they’re victims every time they get caught out–then do the same thing with students again and again.) Many cultural historians and sociologists now claim that the much-vaunted “sexual revolution” of the 60s was about the liberation of straight white men alone. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but the songs of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap do demonstrate a certain assumption of privilege on the part of those who fall into those categories. And the fact that all these songs were substantial hits suggests there were any number of consumers out there and around the world who found the sentiments expressed therein to reflect their own.

    And yet–and yet . . . . The song has a sort of cheap quasi-operatic bravura that makes anyone with a big voice want to beller along with it.

  2. 2
    Paul on 18 Aug 2006 #

    The problem with the “its misogynistic” line of critisism is that most rock/pop of the 60s and 70s (and a good deal from today)is misogynistic. This is especially true of the Beatles and Rolling Stones who seem to be very Popular on this site.

    This song isn’t bad because it is misogynistic – its bad because its over the top.

  3. 3
    Doctor Mod on 18 Aug 2006 #

    Oh dear–just say the word “misogynistic” and someone will be offended.

  4. 4
    Erithian on 18 Aug 2006 #

    And congrats on reaching the 250th Number 1. A quarter of the way to the 1000th – are you planning to stop there?

  5. 5
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 18 Aug 2006 #

    WE WILL NOT ALLOW HIM TO STOP! NOT EVER! bwahaha!! BWAHAHA!!

  6. 6
    Tom on 18 Aug 2006 #

    The plan was at one point to stop at 1000 but the 1000th No.1 was SUCH A DISGRACEFUL FIDDLE that the intention now is just to keep going until I get up to date, then update once every week* or two weeks or whenever new number ones come along.

    *a schedule I have plenty of practise in.

  7. 7
    Chris Brown on 19 Aug 2006 #

    It’s a sort of subject matter you don’t get any more isn’t it? The last time I can remember something like that in the charts was ‘U-16 Girls’ by Travis.

    I can’t really comment on other Gary Puckett songs, because I don’t remember any of them, but this sounds sort of out-of-time (as in dated, not rhythmically dodgy) already. I do remember this song being a minor plot point in an episode of Shelley though.

  8. 8
    koganbot on 19 Aug 2006 #

    Gary Puckett was born in the town Dylan grew up in. Roger Maris was born there too (though most of you don’t know who he is).

  9. 9
    Intothefireuk on 21 Aug 2006 #

    Poor old Jerry Fuller – (lets not forget he wrote the damn thing) – time hasn’t been kind to his songs. I guess in it’s time period (it was a hit in both 1968 & 1974 in the UK) the lyrics didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Is it possible the writer was incredibly naive ? These were after all far more innocent times. The popularity of the record in the 60s & 70s would seem to suggest the public didn’t recoil at his denials. I suspect though the truth is that even now the ‘sound’ of the record far outweighs the lyrical impact. The lovely melody and orchestral arrangement and Pucketts soulful voice still work for me and despite the possibly dodgy lyrics I have no guilty feelings about liking it. Mr Fuller himself believes his songs were about empowering women !! So that explains it then……..

  10. 10
    Daniel_Rf on 21 Aug 2006 #

    “Many cultural historians and sociologists now claim that the much-vaunted “sexual revolution” of the 60s was about the liberation of straight white men alone. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but the songs of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap do demonstrate a certain assumption of privilege on the part of those who fall into those categories.” – considering the amount of “the revolution’s coming so you gotta have sex with me” songs that the 60’s and early 70’s brought out, I’m not about to deny that there is something to this, but surely the Union Gap had bugger all to do with it? Judging by the instrumentation and general aesthetic of this song, I’d guessed that Gary Puckett got his #1 mainly from the adult-contemporary crowd?

  11. 11
    blount on 22 Aug 2006 #

    was there ac in the uk in 68? is there ac in the uk now? it seems to me very much am pop in the vein of the monkees other opener in 1986: the grass roots (albeit nowhere remotely as good as the grass roots). how did am/fm work in the uk? in the us i can imagine anything on here from ‘lady madonna’ and onwards that managed to get any play in the us (sorry cliff) being right up am’s alley until ‘jumping jack flash’ presents either a line in the sand or at the very least a headache – the schism between ‘rock’ and ‘pop’ even within a rock context definitely seems to be widening (though we’re still not quite at archies vs. zeppelin yet).

  12. 12
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 22 Aug 2006 #

    what’s ac? alternating current? yes we have that blount! OUR PLUGS AND ELECTRIC SYSTEMS ARE BETTER THAN YOURS thk you — also we had mobile phones b4 you and we invented hiphop

    prior to 1967, radio = bbc light (non-serious music), bbc home (non-music) and bbc third (serious music) + eg radio caroline, an offshore pirate devoted to 60s pop, and radio luxembourg (beaming pop in from the EU)

    after 1967, radio = bbc radio 1 (pop), bbc radio 2 (light), bbc radio 3 (serious), bbc radio (non-music)

    no commercial radio until the 80s, if memory serves (i could look this up but i need more coffee)

    i don’t think the AM/FM divide operates at all — the BBC broadcast in both once FM came online

    i had a nice old bakelight radio which picked long, medium and shortwave when i was a kid, with a dial that said “moscow”, “peking”, “hawaii” etc — but you could could never pick any of the far places up

  13. 13
    Pete Baran on 22 Aug 2006 #

    The AM / FM issue only really started rearing its head in the mid to late 80’s. Up to then the FM band was guarded by the BBC (though often not exploited) and “parts of the dial used for national security” (Save Our Static Snow campaign).

    Commercial Radio did not start til the mid seventies (LBC and Capital in 1973!), and were predominantly housewife favourite pop (slightly more grown up Radio One). In the mid-eighties some of the commercials (who often had an AM and FM frequency) split their frequencies to have AM Gold (oldies) stations.

    Radio One was predominantly on AM until the early nineties with the exception of particular shows and sequences (ie on Saturday afternoon etc).

  14. 14
    Mark M on 22 Aug 2006 #

    To answer Blount’s question maybe slightly more directly, the AM (pop) v FM (rock) divide that existed in the US was one of the many, many, many cultural tics that never crossed the Atlantic.

  15. 15
    Pete Baran on 22 Aug 2006 #

    Point taken. though now its taken me on a reverie on Capital Radio’s history which may turn into something more longform…

  16. 16
    blount on 22 Aug 2006 #

    i wonder how much of a role the fm/am divide in the states and the lack of it in the uk plays in the relative success of glam in the two countries – someone who ‘was there’ (dr mod, kogan maybe) can illuminate further but from what i can tell fm by the early 70s (in the us) very much firmly ‘rockist’ with am shifting away from rock then toward purer pop, easy listening, etc., away from the ‘glorious top 40 60s’ hence carpenters on one dial and yes on the other and seldom the two shall cross paths. i might be overstating am’s shift somewhat though – i can remember looking at wabc playlists and ‘happy’ and ‘tumbling dice’ (but i don’t think any ‘immigrant song’ or ‘stairway’ though i might be wrong) popping up – but is it fair to say that am radio circa 71 rocks less than am radio circa 66? in which case glam – which is kasenetz/katz + jagger/richards or zeppelin + archies – is out of place on either side – too rock for am, too pop for fm.

  17. 17
    Atnevon on 23 Aug 2006 #

    This is my least favorite of the four big Gary Puckett hits, but it’s still wonderful. That is all.

  18. 18
    Doctor Mod on 23 Aug 2006 #

    Blount–You ask about the AM and FM divide in the States and how this affects any number of things. That would take a long essay (maybe a book) to answer, but here’s a few random thoughts. 1968 is a bit early in this particular history–my own recollections in this regard are wound up in that other icon of US culture, the automobile. In the 1960s, virtually no one I knew had a car with a radio that picked up FM stations. We had such a radio at home, but there was hardly anything to listen to on FM anyhow. At the beginning of the 70s, though, the situation was rapidly changing, and I recall that in 1971, I seriously coveted a car radio with an FM band, and all of a sudden all the people of my own age were listening to the “progressive” FM rock stations. (I won’t even start on a discussion of the term “progressive” in this context as that’s a huge story in and of itself.)

    Most of my peers had started to become alienated from what was becoming the usual pop fare, and I’m of the opinion that the Beatles calling it quits was a watershed moment for this. Around 1969, there was the rise of bubblegum (another term as problematic as “progressive,” as certain groups–e.g., the Bee Gees–were capable of falling on either side of that dichotomy). There was also the rise of pre-adolescent lead singers in “family” groups like the Jackson 5, the Osmonds, the Partridge Family, the Cowsills, ad nauseam, who were definitely retreating from the sex-drugs-rock&roll references and “lifestyle” (I hate that word) that was an increasingly overt part of rock culture. One might want to see it as the split between liberal and conservative–after all, the so-called Moral Majority was a big issue kicking off the Nixon era–even though that too was quite simplistic.

    I don’t want to go off on too many digressions, so just let me say, in answer to your question(s), that you probably wouldn’t hear “Young Girl” on FM in the late 60s/early 70s. You definitely wouldn’t have heard Engelbert, Des O’Connor (who was never heard in the US anyway), or any other nostalgic, sentimental, or “cute” performer. (Somehow, though, Cat Stevens and Gilbert O’Sullivan were often played on FM in the mid-70s.) You could indeed, though, still hear the Stones/Led Zep/Yes back to back with Archies/Osmonds/Carpenters–as well as soul music!–on AM. (Ironically, this phenomenon is nowadays replicated on FM “oldies” stations in the US.) By the mid-70s, the gap between the sort of popular music on AM vs that on FM was quite large. To my mind, the 70s were a pretty sad decade for popular music in the US. At this late date, I find most 70s music–AM and FM types alike–mostly unlistenable.

    My AM listening days ended around 1971/72. Even now, I only listen to AM (and only in my car) for news broadcasts, which tend to be few and far between on FM.

    From some of the scholarly/archival work I’ve done on 60s rock/pop, I’ve noticed that a lot of artists who had relatively enduring successes throughout the 60s (and here I’m thinking particularly about the female singers of the period) vanished from the radar screen around 1970. Apparently, they were too pop for FM and starting to go in directions that were above the relentless banality of AM.

    Glam is another matter altogether. It depends on whom you regard as glam. Gary Glitter, for example, was strictly AM, but T-Rex, on the other had, was mostly FM. David Bowie was (sort of ) problematic, and I think most stations, whether AM or FM were slow to accept him. FM tended to be super-macho (very, very few female performs were played) and generally homophobic, but curiously Bowie and Freddie Mercury managed to become FM icons–probably because the “dudes” refused to see what they didn’t want to see and Queen were, after all, LOUD.

    But now I’m getting way beyond 1968. More on this as the time comes.

  19. 19
    Lena on 4 Oct 2006 #

    This gets played fairly regularly on an FM station I listen to here – CHFI – on their oldies Saturday night show. It’s a really scary song and without going into much personal history, reminds me of being a girl, or rather some unpleasant incidents from my girlhood. How it could be said to empower anyone is beyond me…

  20. 20
    Waldo on 29 Oct 2009 #

    I think it’s a fucking bit rich of yon Puckett telling the young girl to leg it when it is he who’s doing the kiddie fiddling. And if Gazza had jumped on this little madam in Mississippi or Alabama back in ’68, he would have been looking at a rape charge and the prospect of fixing rail roads for the next fifty years with some demented prison warder called Muskie standing over him clubbing him with a rifle. You literally don’t fuck about down home, boy. Y’hear?!

  21. 21
    sandra Barr on 27 Jan 2010 #

    This morning I watched ‘Young Girl’ on you tube, I then went into a few of Pucketts other tunes…’like young girl, you are now a woman’! And after reading Cathy O’Briens book ‘Trance Formation America’ and other books on the CIAs mind control programmes, Puckett just reeks of pedophillia!
    His songs are sick…and he is a pervert! How come no one noticed this before! Google MK ULTRA!
    Things were not as innocent in the 60s/70s as some of you think! The Mind control programmes have been running from the 50s, and the music industry has been one of its many fronts. Pucketts song are not only full of pedophilia innuendo, they also include MK ULTRA mind control triggers, having listened to the testimony of recovered mind control slaves, and read their testimonies, I am in no doubt whatsoever, that Gary Puckett and his song writers were part of the programe!

  22. 22
    Pete Baran on 27 Jan 2010 #

    Milton Keynes Mind Control -RUN TO THE HILLS!!!

  23. 23
    Erithian on 27 Jan 2010 #

    No Pete, we’re talking Iron Maiden on the “Final Countdown” thread at the mo.

  24. 24
    thefatgit on 28 Jan 2010 #

    The older you get, the more disturbing the lyrics become.

  25. 25
    DADDYLOVESHER1 on 29 Jan 2010 #

    I don’t get you people at all . . too much head and not enough HEART in these comments above . . any FEELING, LOVING hearted person can identify with these lyrics . . . and hopefully FEEL what this is saying . . no doubt the interplay between the music, singer’s voice and lyrics ALL work together beautifully to evoke this effect–this song evokes great emotion in me and I think that is precisely what it is supposed to do . . I experience in the voice of Gary Puckett the sentimentality of watching your lovely daughter child growing up and no longer being “daddy’s little girl” . . it succeeds in making me cry uncontrollably when I hear it . . I do cry because I will NEVER EVER get over seeing my little girl . . once so close and so sweet and going everywhere and doing everything together . .then as if I turned my head . .and she was all grown up and experiencing her first love . . and possibly heartbreak. She is a “woman now . . she’s found out what it’s all about . . ” this is a tragic song that tears at my heart making me return in memory and stare hopelessly at photos of my beautiful little girl–that will never be that again-and those years gone and my life changed. WOW How tragic life is . .maybe most people can’t relate to my depth of feeling concerning my baby . . but she was my one and only and yes I DO have a great great sentimental attachment to her . . and this song is really successful in bring that out in me . .in that Mr Puckett succeeds as well as my vivid memories of that year 1969-and hearing it on the radio-so there is that element of one’s own childhood as well.
    All this PROJECTION into the song about sexual abuse of and such just isn’t there . . . consider the lyric:

    This girl walked in dreams
    Playing in a world of her own
    This girl was a child
    Existing in a playground of stone
    Then one night her world was changed
    Her life and dreams were rearanged
    And she would never be the same again
    This girl is a woman now, and she’s learning how to give
    This girl is a woman now, she’s found out what it’s all about
    And she’s learning, learning to live
    This girl tasted love, as tender as the gentle dawn
    She cried a single tear, A teardrop that was sweet and warm
    Our hearts told us we were right
    And on that sweet and velvet night
    A child had died, a woman had been born
    This girl is a woman now, and she’s learning how to give
    This girl is a woman now, she’s found out what it’s all about
    And she’s learning, learning to live
    This girl is a woman now,she’s learning how to give
    This girl is a woman now,she’s found out what it’s all about
    And she’s learning, learning, learning to live

    GOD ALWAYS BLESS YOU Lia .. you will forever be my little girl and the years we spent together were the BEST years of my life. I will go to my grave with you on my mind and in my soul an spirit !

  26. 26
    gapfan forever on 7 Mar 2011 #

    These comments are the dummest things I have heard in a long time. To suggest that Gary Puckett is a pervert is just a ridiculous rant of a jealous mind. I grew up listening to Gary sing these beautiful songs and I can assure you that I am neither warped nor disturbed by these lyrics. They got me through my adolescent years with hope and promise that one day I too, would be a woman and be cherished by someone like him. Listen to that emotional voice and forget about your wordly problems and just LISTEN to the music! To slam a man of his character and to declare that he is sick is a travesty to everyone who loved rock’n’roll. Everyone who loves his music should stand up for him and the things his music did for rock.

  27. 27
    punctum on 7 Mar 2011 #

    “dummest”

  28. 28
    Mark G on 7 Mar 2011 #

    God!

    GP is not a pervert (probably), he’s a singer.

    The song is about being conflicted. To like this song (I don’t, I have to say) doesn’t mean you automatically feel the same way.

    Oh, and girls grow up (I know). You can’t wish them forever babies/’innocent’.

    Grow up also.

  29. 29
    Mark G on 7 Mar 2011 #

    “Consider this lyric” um… ?

  30. 30
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Mar 2011 #

    Dear God, who’s been eating our porridge? We’ll have bloody Sarah Palin onto us next. Better run, folks.

    See what I did there?

  31. 31
    punctum on 7 Mar 2011 #

    I must remember to add “sense of humour” to your file. They tend to leave out things like that. Very important.

  32. 32
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Mar 2011 #

    Cheers, Marcello. But I’m certainly not going to climb into a crate with that Estonian bird again. Man I had a dreadful flight. And in the end I didn’t even go anywhere. Bloody Fotheringay!

  33. 33
    wichita lineman on 8 Mar 2011 #

    As in Sandy Denny? How did she get dragged into this?

    One thing I’d say about G Puckett is that he has a phenomenal, expressive voice, could’ve been up there with Neil Diamond or Elvis in the 70s as a quality big ballad singer, and was ill served by a bunch of singles that sound great individually but were ALMOST IDENTICAL; the result was that the UK and US were thoroughly tired of him by mid ’69.

    Album tracks like the heartbreaking, regretful Then And Now do him justice. (Without having the records handy, I’m not sure which producer/A&R man stuffed his career).

    ps I do have a real picture sleeve of this which I can lend you if you want to keep Jeffrey Epstein apologists from the door. Just saying.

  34. 34
    punctum on 8 Mar 2011 #

    As in Sandy Denny? How did she get dragged into this?

    Don’t worry, WL. It was a good idea and you did your best. I’ll stress it in my report.

  35. 35
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Mar 2011 #

    Thus Leo is off the hook.

  36. 36
    wichita lineman on 8 Mar 2011 #

    I haven’t got a clue what you’re on about… I feel like Lex trying to get his head round the Steve Milliband “gag”.

  37. 37
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Mar 2011 #

    WL – Well, let’s see here. Ah, yes. When you enter an arts and crafts competition, don’t go all Turner Prize on us. Just do a picture of Beardie like everyone else.

    Never purchase a tapestry off on old lady from the same village unless you really want to hang it in your own home.

    Never take a watch off a guy in Poland, who isn’t really in Poland.

    Never try to outswim a former Olympic Bronze medalist.

    But do count the chimes of Big Ben.

    OK? If not, MC, I’m sure, will be happy to be less oblique. But first I’d bet you could do with a decent drink.

  38. 38
    punctum on 9 Mar 2011 #

    In the mid-nineties when I lived in Stamford Brook, my next-door neighbour was Kevin Stoney!

  39. 39
    Erithian on 9 Mar 2011 #

    I’m with you on this Wichita, and I’m glad you said so first. Now that Eric Cantona has said the seagulls and trawlers thing was nonsense, I’m not trying to understand these two…

  40. 40
    punctum on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Don’t worry, Erithian. You’ll be cured. No more bad dreams. If you have so much as a nightmare, you will come whimpering to tell it to me.

    WHIMPERING!

  41. 41
    Erithian on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Anywhere you like as long as you arrive back here in the end.

    (Wichita – I thought as much, they’re going all Prisoner on our ass again.)

  42. 42
    wichita lineman on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Ah… that had crossed my mind, but I still didn’t get a single reference (sad face). Now, if it had been the Avengers…

  43. 43
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2011 #

    “Gentlemen…HELLFIRE!!!!”

  44. 44
    wichita lineman on 12 Mar 2011 #

    Now Peter Wyngarde would have made for a very intreeguing Popular entrant.

    A friend of mine somehow got his phone number in the nineties and just for the hell of it called him up. The phone rang and rang, and just as my friend was about to put the phone down, Mr Wyngarde picked up and said, in his ripest Jason King, “There you are.”

  45. 45
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2011 #

    As a matter of fact, WL, Wyngarde has been discussed already by myself and a few others, including, inevitably, my Rt Hon Friend the punctum of the Green Dome, back in the midst of time but I’m blessed if I can remember where. We, of course, considered the cottage industry et al and the fact that Jason King was accepted at the time as an inveterate womaniser and that one naturally assumed Peter to be the same. It’s only with hindsight and looking back on those old shows that the truth becomes apparent. King was as camp as Butlins and to see him flopping over some of the lovliest girlies of the period is now, frankly, comical. But when all is said and done, Peter Wyngarde was a fine classically trained actor. He made two brilliant appearances in The Avengers, firstly as the manic misogynistic Cartney in “A Touch of Brimstone”, an episode understandably remembered most for it’s closing stages and then as Kirby in “Epic”, which I always felt may have been an inspiration for Vincent Price’s character in “Theatre of Blood”. For Prisoner groupies like me and the Scottish lad, Wyngarde also appeared as Number Two in one of the very finest episodes of the series where he dished out a severe beating to Number Six in every sense of the word, as well as revealing to everyone what a prize prawn the supposed hero could be at times.

    I agree that Wyngarde would have made a wonderful Popular entrant, although perhaps “Young Girl” may not have been a judicious choice. Perhaps “I Pretend” would have fitted better.

    Coat.

  46. 46

    This is where the FT search function sends you if you enter “Peter Wyngarde

  47. 47
    wichita lineman on 12 Mar 2011 #

    Gosh, thanks men. So many Wyngarde refs – and I’m curious to know if Tom uncovered much more “late-60s, highly-ornamented ‘progressive pop’”!

    My other PW story. A friend of mine went for lunch with him and said he was vegetarian. “Oh really?” purred Mr Wyngarde. “I’m 50% vegetarian, 100% bisexual.”

  48. 48
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Mar 2011 #

    Inevitably, Peter also turned up in The Saint in an episode called “The Man Who Loved Lions” in which he played a bloke who… er… well, loved lions. I think they all ended up dressed as Roman gladiators, right up Wyngarde’s strasse obviously.

    Also in the memory bank is an ad he did for a deodorant:
    Wyngarde face to camera
    Voiveover: “Peter Wyngarde smells…”
    Peter looks outraged
    Voiceover: “…GREAT with Right Guard!!”

    As Jason would have put it: “Fancy!”

  49. 49
    punctum on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Wyngarde as Number 2 was a scream. Caked in mascara, doing his meditative karate chops, without the Jason ‘tache and looking alarmingly like the younger Alan Rickman. Couldn’t find his “The Pink Prisoner” sketch on YouTube or similar but it is out there somewhere and is a hoot.

    Here’s what I had to say about his one and only album some while back:
    http://cookham.blogspot.com/2003_06_22_archive.html

    He still does plan a sequel to the record, this time concerning guns and shooting (as in the sport).

    Speaking of “Checkmate” and Paddy Mac in general: what was it with Number 6 and his attraction to older women? Georgina Cookson, Rosalie Crutchley, Nadia Gray…

  50. 50
    Mark G on 14 Mar 2011 #

    He didn’t feel comfortable cavorting with the dollybirds, being a married man, etc.

    Annette Andre was the closest Paddy Fitz got to a dollybird (physically, I mean), but she was the watchmaker’s daughter so….

    (punchlines ad infinit, obv)

  51. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Well, the Number 6 thing with women was always most odd. Even when one brushes aside Paddy Mac’s well-known reluctance, indeed refusal, to get into a serious clinch with any of his female co-stars (something which of course ruled him out of playing Bond) Number 6 was clearly never interested in getting his leg over. I would therefore dispute MC’s contention that he was attracted to older (indeed any) women. Of the three examples he gives, the homely Rosalie Crutchley, admittedly under the influence, persues him relentlessly and 6 is disinterested to the point of rudeness towards her. A different story emerges with the far more appealing Nadia Gray, who he does clearly take a shine to, only for her to betray him. With Georgina Cookson (she does also briefly appear in “A, B and C”), things do get rather interesting. Her character, Mrs Butterworth, is very sexually charged but our hero just doesn’t see it. I recently wrote a pastiche on this episode, which very crudely mocks this relationship and Number 6’s (ahem!) habits in general. It’s completely barking, perhaps, but underpins the fact that Georgina is a horny old gal clearly on offer and Number 6 demurs. When she ultimately emerges as Number 2, after 6’s comical return to the Village, he should have leapt on her like a cat with the birthday cake playing a central role in the proceedings. But he just turns away and stares out of the window. Strange lad.

    The there’s the small matter of Angela Browne but I’ll think I’ll stop now.

  52. 52
    punctum on 14 Mar 2011 #

    The end scene of Many Happy Returns got edited:

    Mrs Butterworth: “Many happy returns!”

    #6 grumpily pulling the curtains.

    Mrs B: “Now come on big boy, you know there’s no way out of here so howzabout some high-falutin’ rumpy pumpy then?”

    Cue Benny Hill-style chase around 6’s pad. 6 escapes through the door, stopping only to pat Angelo Muscat on the head in rapid strokes.

    God bless Ms Cookson, still with us and now in her nineties.

  53. 53
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Yes, that’s how it should have finished. And “A Change of Mind” could have ended happier for #6 too when a hypnotised #48 asked him “Was there anything further?”

    Obviously there was a Benny Hill element in “The Girl who was Death” as well but all the sexual stuff was coming from the lovely leggy Sonia. Once again #6 simply didn’t see the red light. But then again it was only “a blessed fairytale”, I suppose.

  54. 54
    Snif on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Oi, what about Jane Merrow as No 24 in “The Schizoid Man”…there was even a mental link between them.

  55. 55
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    That’s a good call, Snifmeister. Jane Merrow was a right little darling but the relationship between her and Six was apparent from the opening shots. It was uncle/niece and nothing else and was soon swallowed up anyway by the power of the main storyline. Alison’s contrition at the end was out of pure regret for her betrayal rather than the fact that she wanted some upsy-downsy with Pat.

    There was also never anything happening between Six and Annette Andre beyond merely teaming up to stop her ludicrously overacting dad from blowing up Number Two. Sparks between them there came none.

    Same deal with Norma West, another definite, if rather robotic, piece of eye candy. Denise Buckley’s maid was even more tempting but dear old Pat just had constant rows with her instead of getting down to business.

    Look, let’s just nail this here and now. If the part of Number Six had been cast to Sid James, the entire history of popular arts in Britain would have been altered.

  56. 56
    wichita lineman on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Sir Sid James, as I like to think of him.

  57. 57
    punctum on 15 Mar 2011 #

    The only ways in which 6 cops off with The Ladies:

    A) When he’s dreaming about it (Katherine Kath, “A, B & C”). Dishy Number 14’s got the hots for you in real life, you damn fool!

    B) When he’s Owen MD (“Do Not Forsake Me…”) wherein he magically gains a fiancee, necks big time with Zena Walker etc…and all on the same set as “A, B & C”!

  58. 58
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    There was also Kathy, the good time bar gal. But Pat was under the knock-out drops again. And as soon as he revived, she died!

    Madam Engadine was indeed another mature glam. And dreaming Number Six could well have ended up as the filling in an Engadine/Butterworth sandwich and enjoyed the young French maid as desert. Typically, he didn’t. Do you think a dribbling, panting, chuckling, low-growling Sid would have passed up on all that?

  59. 59
    Mark G on 15 Mar 2011 #

    No, but wherever and whoever he was in with, the “Orange Alert” would have piped up to “innit marvellous!”

  60. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    I wonder how old Sid would have got on against Leo in the “Decree Absolute”. Now THAT would have been darned good telly.

  61. 61
    wichita lineman on 15 Mar 2011 #

    “Get out of here before I have the time to change my mind, ‘cos I’m afraid we’ll go too far” said an honourable Sir Sid to Dishy No.14.

    Right. That’s it. I’ve bought the box set off Amazon for a stupidly low price.

    Katherine Kath still going at 91!

  62. 62
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Blimey, is she really? Wot, Engadine AND Mrs Butterworth still turning up at those wonderful parties in Paris? Well, with both Sid and Pat in the ground, it’s up to Peter Bowles now.

    Sheila Allen (Dishy Number 14) also still around, monitoring dreams at 78.

  63. 63
    Snif on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Are you sure Sid James wouldn’t have been better as Number Two?

    Just thinking of that bit in the opening titles..

    McGoohan: I am not a number, I am a free man!

    James: *laughs*

    Now really, apart from Mr McKern, who could have delivered that laugh as well?

  64. 64
    Erithian on 16 Mar 2011 #

    “Number Two” is a good Carry On character name for Sid too.

  65. 65
    punctum on 16 Mar 2011 #

    The real Prisoner/Carry On link is Fenella Fielding: “Congratulations on yet another day…today’s flavour is strawberry…”

  66. 66
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Mar 2011 #

    Yes, well done, Snif. Sid, of course, would have been far better as Number Two and would have driven Paddy Mac bonkers. He might have even got all the secrets out of the pillock.

    “Arf Arf Arf Arf!!!”

  67. 67
    punctum on 17 Mar 2011 #

    With Tony Hancock as Number 6; “Stone me, what am I flipping doing in this place?”

  68. 68
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Mar 2011 #

    Hancock’s Number 6 would never have made an effort to escape from the Village. Thus he would never have encountered Mrs Butterworth. He would have just sat moping around cotemplating the Buddah as he always did back at Railway Cuttings. Then Patrick Cargill would have turned up pretending to be a doctor when all along he was Number 2 and Tony would have sung like a canary for a cup of PG Tips and a couple of custard creams.

  69. 69
    punctum on 18 Mar 2011 #

    Cargill: “I see you know your Goethe.”
    Hancock: “Oh yes, he’s marvellous, I’ve got all his 78s.”

  70. 70
    Stevie on 21 Mar 2011 #

    More than a few Union Gap songs were about jailbait, but who cares when the hooks and riffs are so scrumptious?? As I’ve lamented elsewhere, WHY CAN’T ANYONE WRITE STUFF THIS CATCHY ANYMORE??

  71. 71
    punctum on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Interesting choice of adjective: “scrumptious.”

  72. 72
    wichita lineman on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Re 70: Really? I can’t think of any others.

    …and with perfect timing, Young Girl pops up on Capitol Gold. Daily occurrence, I’m sure, but I only listen to it about once a month.

  73. 73
    Stevie on 21 Mar 2011 #

    “This girl is a woman now.. and she’s learning, learning how to love..”

    “Did no one ever tell you the facts of life.. well there’s so much you have to learn.. and I would gladly teach you…”

    Let’s face it, they’re not exactly singing about matrons here ;)

  74. 74
    punctum on 21 Mar 2011 #

    It’s not exactly “Cyprus Avenue,” is it?

  75. 75
    wichita lineman on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Punctum, I just spotted elsewhere that you think Young Girl is the WORST number one EVER and I’m intrigued to know why. It’s not Cyprus Avenue*, but then almost nothing else is, “raaaaaiinbooow riiiibbons” and all.

    Stevie, err, yeah, soz. Amazing how easily I’m taken by a singer who has words like “lady” and “woman” in his songtitles.

    *which I always thought was Cypress Avenue until I just checked.

  76. 76
    Mark M on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Re 75: I’d be surprised if anything less than about 85% of people who knew the track also presumed it was Cypress rather than Cyprus – I certainly did. You live and learn.

  77. 77
    punctum on 22 Mar 2011 #

    #74: Can’t remember where I said that but here’s something I wrote (privately) about the song five years ago which is a lot more generous than I would be inclined to feel now:

    Few singers of chart-topping songs have, I think, ever sounded as scared as Puckett does on “Young Girl.” The key line here is the first: “Young girl, get out of my mind” – note, not out of “my life” – and although there are references to “that come-on look…in your eyes” and entreaties to “hurry home to your mama,” the really disturbing factor in the song is that it gives no evidence that protagonist and girl (or victim?) have actually met. Puckett’s rather strained voice consumes itself in potential terror, as though he’s observing the girl through his bedroom window, or from the opposing street corner, or through the school playground railings – “’cause I’m afraid we’ll go too far.” Meanwhile the song alternately insists with Motown chorus beats and glides on mistakenly serene seraphims of strings, like an intercepted Gaudio and Crewe backing track. But nearly everyone who bought it and/or danced to it treated it simply as a tremulous, slightly beefier mid-tempo update of “Go Away, Little Girl.” And, to complicate matters further, the band were apt to dress in Civil War uniforms. So did “Young Girl” simply represent a 1968 Ashley Wilkes, anxious about Scarlett?

  78. 78
    wichita lineman on 22 Mar 2011 #

    You said somewhere on a Popular ’68 entry that a particularly bad Top 3 was Young Girl, B Goldsboro’s Honey, Eng Hump’s Man Without Love.

    Good call on the Gaudio/Crewe prodn. I wonder if the latterday antipathy towards Young Girl would be eased if Frankie Valli was singing it, rather than the physically bigger sounding Puckett? He was often tortured inside a doomed relationship (the adulterer in Bye Bye Baby, the wronged serviceman in Toy Soldier, the boy from the right side of the tracks in Rag Doll). Or Del Shannon? I can’t think of an obvious lyrical precursor, bar Go Away Little Girl, but you wonder what’s behind the paranoia in Keep Searchin’ and Stranger In Town. Better to keep the mystery caged.

    Not sure that the man and girl haven’t met, though – how does he know she’s younger than he initially thought? “Get out of here…” suggests the setting is the singer’s family home. The stricken sound in his voice is what lifts this away from the patronising, sickly Go Away Little Girl (and I write that as someone who can put up with a LOT of middling Goffin & King) in which the protagonist barely puts up any resistance.

  79. 79
    Mark G on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Well, there’s “Only Sixteen” which is more in the irony olympics for “oh, I was 16, I’ve aged a year since then!”

    (however, not “Just Thirteen” by The Lurkers, which was not about jailbait but the frustrations of not being old enough to get into gigs, etc, but got banned by the beeb just to be sure)

  80. 80
    Erithian on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Remember the Regents’ “7Teen” – “… and not yet a woman”?!

  81. 81
    wichita lineman on 22 Mar 2011 #

    There are a few girl group 45s from the other point of view (which puts me on thin ice, so I’ll tread carefully): Goffin and King’s Just A Little Girl by Donna Loren , and the campy Is Thirteen Too Young To Fall In Love by The Petites.

    Best of all is Piccola Pupa’s awesome Put Two Extra Candles On My Cake (cos she’s only 14 and wants to go out with an older boy, you see), written by Neil Sedaka’s regular co-writer Howard Greenfield and Toni ‘Groovy Kind Of Love’ Wine, who must have been about 16 at the time.

    Piccola also did a terrific version of Breakaway , which is much closer to Tracey Ullman’s cover than the Irma Thomas original.

  82. 82
    Mark G on 22 Mar 2011 #

    #80, yes, and I know a story about that song, but it’s probably libellous so I’ll have to say no.

  83. 83
    Erithian on 22 Mar 2011 #

    #82 Ooh, is it anything to do with the band’s appearance on one of those short-lived Saturday morning’s kids’ TV shows? Gary Crowley was the presenter, and in his usual intensely irritating Cockney geezer style he did a quick interview with the lead singer. He asked (and even as he asked it I thought it was an odd question) “So how did you get the money together to do the record?” Singer (looking embarrassed): “Well, we did this, er, job in London.” Crowley: “Oh yeah, you’ve got a bit of a dodgy past aintcha?” And carried on with the show as though nothing had happened.

    Googling “Gary Crowley” and “The Regents” brings up lots of references to him and the band both having a bust-up with Devo on a show called Fun Factory in 1980, so perhaps it was then.

  84. 84
    Paulito on 23 Mar 2011 #

    @77 Methinks lines such as “And though you know that it’s wrong to be/ alone with me/ that come-on look is in your eyes” make it fairly plain that he’s directly involved with the girl. A similar ‘stalker’ theory has been postulated about “I’m Not in Love” (mischievously fuelled by Eric Stewart himself). In neither case does the suggestion stand up to scrutiny.

  85. 85
    Mutley on 23 Mar 2011 #

    I’m not sure where the criticism of “stalker” lyrics of songs from another era is leading. Should the songs be banned or the offending passages edited out? Each age has its censorship – for example, in the 1950s the BBC would not play “religious” pop songs or songs that mentioned brand names. Certainly, not even the mildest swearing in songs would have been broadcast. At the same time, Cliff Richard’s Living Doll could go to no.1 containing the lines “I’m gonna lock her up in a trunk so no big hunk /Can steal her away from me”. Elvis Presley’s Dirty, Dirty Feeling has the verse:
    I hear you’re pretty good at runnin’/ But pretty soon you’ll slip and fall/ That’s when I’ll drag you home with me girl /I’m gonna chain you to the wall.

    In a world that has experienced the activities of Josef Fritzl and others would such lyrics would be acceptable in mainstream pop now? I think the discussion of the lyrics of Young Girl, taken in isolation, leads nowhere.

  86. 86
    punctum on 23 Mar 2011 #

    #84: In your final sentence you missed out the word “my” between “to” and “scrutiny.”

  87. 87
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Mar 2011 #

    I would suggest that “Out Of Time” trumps “Go Away Little Girl” but also understand the difference. The latter is telling a dolled-up, lovestruck early teen to push off, whilst the former involves a sneering bloke rounding on his cheating bird in a more adult setting. Poor old Mick. What did he do to deserve that?

  88. 88
    Mark G on 23 Mar 2011 #

    I don’t think that’s right about either song. The first doesn’t mention ‘cheating’ as such, only that the girl has been ‘away’. In Jail, on tour or back with her mum, who knows.

    And the latter isn’t sneery, is it?

  89. 89
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Mar 2011 #

    #88 – I don’t actually mention cheating as far as “Go Away Little Girl” is concerned.

    As for “Out Of Time”, I think the aggrieved man is sneering all day long but naturally that’s just my opinion.

  90. 90
    Snif on 23 Mar 2011 #

    I was at a 50th birthday party last year where 80s music was the go – someone asked the DJ to play “My Sharona”, but was rebuffed with “I don’t play songs about paedophilia.”

  91. 91
    Paulito on 23 Mar 2011 #

    @86 Thanks for pointing that out. No doubt a quick perusal of your own posts will show that you apply a similar qualification each time you express a viewpoint.

  92. 92
    Mark G on 24 Mar 2011 #

    #89, I think you have your “former” and “latter” mixed up, or maybe I do…

  93. 93
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Mar 2011 #

    #92 – I think we’ve both hit the buffers now, Mark. Let’s quit while we’re ahead.

    #90 – The DJ could have avoided the puzzling comment about “My Sharona” by simply declining to play it on account of it being from the 70s rather than the 80s.

  94. 94
    Paulito on 25 Mar 2011 #

    @93: The DJ was presumably thinking of that uber-sleazy line about how the narrator “always get[s] it up for the touch of the younger kind”. A harsh interpretation perhaps, but I can see where he was coming from…

  95. 95
    punctum on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Maybe we should just ban every piece of music that offends anybody.

  96. 96
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Exactly. And the corollary of this, of course, would be that we would never play anything ever again. The day the music died would be upon us.

  97. 97
    Mark G on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Well, we wouldn’t be allowed to sing “American Pie” …

  98. 98
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 25 Mar 2011 #

    surely the sacrifice is worth it

  99. 99
    wichita lineman on 25 Mar 2011 #

    Yeah yeah, always with the Don McLean slagging!

    Which makes me realise I never thought to check what Tom made of John Denver. I shudder.

  100. 100
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Mar 2011 #

    I too have never understood the serial toeing poor old Don always gets from the brass here. Any more of this and the poor bugger may well take his life as lovers often do.

  101. 101
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 25 Mar 2011 #

    THEY’RE NOT LISTENING STILL! PERHAPS THEY NEVER WILL! <– this means us

  102. 102
    punctum on 25 Mar 2011 #

    His popularity in Britain did wane following the inexorable rise of his near-namesake, zany Brummie funnyman Don Maclean, pronounced as in opposite of dirty, viz. “Maclean!” “Yes I had a bath this morning.” What chance did Playing Favourites stand against his classic renditions of “Golden Years,” “A Glass Of Champagne” etc.?

  103. 103
    Mark G on 25 Mar 2011 #

    So how does the pronounciation differ? Aren’t they both “clean” ?

  104. 104
    punctum on 25 Mar 2011 #

    No, Don “American Pie” McLean rhymes with “wane.”

  105. 105
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Mar 2011 #

    I’m going to resist the severe temptation of plunging in to another discussion with punctum regarding Crackerjack Don and the way he and dear old Peter Glaze used to present bizarre versions of chart hits of the day. Peter’s rendition of Boz Scaggs’ “Lido Shuffle” was and is legendary.

    The less pleasant side of Don arose when he presented the God slot show for Radio 2 (now in the hands of the perfectly decent Aled Jones) and seemed to suggest that George Harrison’s passing would provide George the opportunity of atoning for his part in “Life of Brian”.

  106. 106
    Erithian on 27 Mar 2011 #

    Shades of Rowan Atkinson as the Devil welcoming souls to Hell: “Everyone who saw Monty Python’s Life of Brian? – Sorry, I’m afraid He can’t take a joke after all…”

  107. 107
    wichita lineman on 28 Mar 2011 #

    Andy Partridge said in Smash Hits that he knew he was a proper pop star when Peter Glaze sang Making Plans For Nigel.

    I wonder if Don Maclean had a go at Don McLean’s Crying a few months later?

  108. 108
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Mar 2011 #

    This “singing a pop song of the day” lark was replicated on a truly dire pop show from the end of the seventies on ITV called “Get It Together”. One of the presenters was Roy North, one time oppo of Basil Brush. The spot in question opened the show unlike in “Crackerjack” when it arrived in a costume sketch piece towards the end.

    Roy once stuck a peg at the end of his hooter and treated us to a rendidtion of “Ma Na Ma Na”. The look he received from fellow presenter Linda Fletcher, a sturdy good time-looking gal, echoed the thoughts of us all in suggesting that North should have been sectioned.

  109. 109
    Paulito on 29 Mar 2011 #

    @85: Interesting comment about “Dirty, Dirty Feeling” and how such dodgy lyrics didn’t appear to bother the censors of the day, although they were happy to ban popular songs that they saw as in any way blasphemous or sexually immoral. Another example of this phenomenon is ‘You Been Torturing Me’, a minor US hit in 1961 both for the Four Young Men and for Gary “Alley Oop” Paxton. As far as I know, neither version was banned or censored in any state, yet the lyrics are possibly the most unpleasant I’ve ever heard in a mainstream pop song. Herewith in full:

    “I’m gonna stomp you on the top of your foot
    And hang you from a big long fishing hook
    And drop you down to the bottom of the sea, hey-hey
    Let the sharks eat you all up
    If them mean old whales don’t interrupt
    Cos baby you know how you been torturing little ol’ me
    Hey-hey

    “I’m the judge, the jury too
    Judgement has been brought upon you
    You been convicted for the crime you’ve done
    You made me feel like a little ol’ crumb

    “You know it’s wrong to torture me
    You love my friends the same way you love me
    And like Tom, I don’t wanna hang from a big oak tree over you
    When I say hop, I mean make like a frog
    And when I say bark, you better sound like a dog
    Cos I’m gonna torture you
    The same way you been torturing little ol’ me, hey-hey”

    The song is too stupid to be in any way ironic, although the singer’s goofy drawl (in either version) presumably signifies that it’s meant to be humorous, playful even. It doesn’t sound that way.

    Examples such as the above, the Elvis lyric cited by Mutley and, of course, the (in)famous line “I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man” as featured in numbers by the King and later the Fabs – all of which were untroubled by bans of any kind, AFAIK – seem to show how, notwithstanding their general overweening piety and censoriousness, the moral authorities of the day weren’t too bothered about suggestions of rape/murderous revenge for female infidelity appearing in music for kiddies and juveniles. I’m not remotely suggesting that such songs should have been banned (indeed, the use of the “see you dead” line in ‘Baby Let’s Play House’ gives the song a deliciously dark undertone), merely that they reflect the misogynistic “angels or whores” attitude to women that was so common in those days and so rarely challenged at the time.

  110. 110
    Snif on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Then there’s Goffin and King’s “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)”…

    He hit me
    And it felt like a kiss
    He hit me
    But it didn’t hurt me

    He couldn’t stand to hear me say
    That I’d been with someone new,
    And when I told him I had been untrue

    He hit me
    And it felt like a kiss
    He hit me
    And I knew he loved me

    If he didn’t care for me
    I could have never made him mad
    But he hit me
    And I was glad

    Yes, he hit me
    And it felt like a kiss
    He hit me
    And I knew I loved him
    And then he took me in his arms
    With all the tenderness there is,
    And when he kissed me,
    He made me his

  111. 111
    wichita lineman on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Goffin & King also wrote Please Hurt Me for Little Eva.

    Their psychological S&M tendencies, presumably drawn for their own relationship, make them my favourite Brill Building team.

    People REALLY objected to He Hit Me at the time, though. Even though it fell between two of the Crystals biggest hits (Uptown and He’s A Rebel) it didn’t chart and didn’t get airplay.

    The flip side of He Hit Me, No One Ever Tells You, is almost as bleak, but with a resigned wrist-slashing lyric, and a valium-fuelled arrangement. Great!

  112. 112
    Erithian on 31 Mar 2011 #

    A shout out, surely, at this point for Spiritualized’s “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)”!

    Hard to imagine Carole King being involved with a song like that.

  113. 113
    Mark G on 31 Mar 2011 #

    #111 but did they? It sits on their debut album without outrage (the album wasn’t banned).

    I’m more of the opinion that it was not a hit because the track is slow, morose, and has no good-time vibe like “He’s a rebel” and “da doo ron ron” (don’t know “Uptown” off-hand) so probably didn’t get airplay for all sorts of reasons.

  114. 114
    vinylscot on 31 Mar 2011 #

    A more up-to-date example would be Florence and the Machine’s, “Kiss Like A Fist” which was inexplicably used as a continmuity ad on BBC TV for a time. Does it get away with it because it’s a happy wee tune…. or because it’s being sung by a female?

    You hit me once
    I hit you back
    You gave a kick
    I gave a slap
    You smashed a plate
    Over my head
    Then I set fire to our bed

    You hit me once
    I hit you back
    You gave a kick
    I gave a slap
    You smashed a plate
    Over my head
    Then I set fire to our bed

    My black eye casts no shadow
    Your red eye sees no pain
    Your slaps don’t stick
    Your kicks don’t hit
    So we remain the same
    Blood sticks and sweat drips
    Break the lock if it don’t fit
    A kick in the teeth is good for some
    A kiss with a fist is better than none
    A-woah, a kiss with a fist is better than none

    Broke your jaw once before
    Spilled your blood upon the floor
    You broke my leg in return
    Sit back and watch the bed burn
    Well love sticks, sweat drips
    Break the lock if it don’t fit
    A kick in the teeth is good for some
    A kiss with a fist is better than none
    A-woah, a kiss with a fist is better than none

    You hit me once
    I hit you back
    You gave a kick
    I gave a slap
    You smashed a plate over my head
    Then I set fire to our bed

    You hit me once
    I hit you back
    You gave a kick
    I gave a slap
    You smashed a plate over my head
    Then I set fire to our bed

  115. 115
    Mark G on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Possibly because she gives as good as she gets.

  116. 116
    wichita lineman on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Mark, I think the fact the lyric on He Hit Me is so bare – with the stark, blunt arrangement suggesting brute violence – just meant that everyone heard the lyrics, and felt queasy. I didn’t say it was banned.

    I’m sure there are quotes from Lester Sill on how no radio station would touch it. It didn’t even merit a UK release. When copies turn up on ebay they are almost always promos – no one bought it.

    For the record, I think it’s amazing, so shocking it feels like it stops time.

    Songs like Dirty Dirty Feeling or Run For Your Life are upbeat and danceable, so the impact of the lyric is considerably lessened. How often to you hear people say “I don’t really listen to lyrics that much”?

  117. 117
    Cumbrian on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Wiki has a source (from allmusic.com – so take that for what it is worth) claiming that He Hit Me is grounded in truth – that Goffin and King found out that Little Eva’s boyfriend was abusing her and asked why she stayed with him and got the gist of the song as a response. I suspect them writing this and giving Please Hurt Me to Little Eva might well have been them trying to get her to wake up (although this might be charitable – I can’t for the life of me imagine why else you would give her songs to sing about her own domestic violence situation, so I assume it is intervention by song).

  118. 118
    wichita lineman on 31 Mar 2011 #

    Yes that sounds familiar, maybe it’s in the Alan Betrock Girl Groups book or Always Magic In The Air. G&K’s autobigraphical songs tend to be more psychological torment than physical.

  119. 119
    punctum on 16 Jun 2011 #

    TPL offers yet more thoughts on “Young Girl” and nineteen other pieces which come together to form an unexpectedly moving picture:

    http://nobilliards.blogspot.com/2011/06/various-artists-20-flash-back-greats-of.html

  120. 120
    Mutley on 17 Jun 2011 #

    Re the discussion above (around late March 2011)about censorship and banning records, this is an appropriate spot to mention the recent death of Carl Gardner, lead singer of the Coasters, who produced a string of rock’n’roll Leiber and Stoller classics in the mid to late 50s, including Charlie Brown, which was banned by the BBC because of the use of the word “spitball”. I believe the BBC later rescinded its ban following popular protest.

  121. 121
    Lena on 13 Dec 2011 #

    And if you think this song’s bad; well, let’s just say at least she’s alive: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/12/laugh-until-you-cry-bobby-goldsboro.html

    Ta for reading, everyone!

  122. 122
    intothefireuk on 10 Sep 2013 #
  123. 123
    lonepilgrim on 25 May 2016 #

    I can remember very clearly hearing this at the time as it is a bit of an ear worm and GP sings the hell out of it but there’s no denying its problematic lyrics. You can pick up similar sentiments in other songs as detailed above. I’ve always found ‘Your life, little girl, is an empty page/That men will want to write on’ and the whole of ‘You are Sixteen, going on Seventeen’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ pretty creepy.

  124. 124
    chrisew71 on 11 Jun 2018 #

    Puckett (minus the Union Gap) opened for the Monkees when they toured in the ’80s. All I remember of his set is that a group of middle-aged women in the front row were very much into him, he played barefoot, and “Young Girl” was even creepier sung by a guy likely in his 40s by then.

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