Friday, November 2, 2012

Songs I Heard Too Young

Though I'm only 22, I recognize more classic rock songs than modern ones. My parents almost always listened to our local classic rock stations whenever we went anywhere in the car and I quickly developed a love for the genre.

It's only in recent years that I've realized how many dark/sexual messages I was exposed to that I didn't really understand. I have great parents, but sometimes I wonder what they were thinking. Here are some songs that sparked funny and fond childhood memories:

  • "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. I was in first grade when this song was in heavy rotation. Because of the "hey-diddle-diddle" chorus, I thought it was a nursery rhyme. I wound up getting busted for singing it on the school playground.
  • "Lady Marmalade" by Patti Labelle. I thought it was sophisticated because of the French lyrics. I could pronounce them all pretty well for a six-year-old. My maternal grandmother was French-Canadian, spent 3 years living in Quebec, and could speak French. I decided to impress her by singing it one afternoon. Needless to say, she was horrified, but she refused to tell me what the French words meant.
  • "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel. I became a Billy Joel fan after seeing the Disney movie Oliver & Company (he was the voice of Dodger). I went to Catholic school for second grade, so I was put under strict orders not to sing it in public. What made it an even bigger no-no is that I live in the South, where Catholics aren't too popular to begin with.
  • "Ramblin' Man" by The Allman Brothers Band. Is there anything more adorable than a freckle-faced 8-year-old girl singing about a man being killed over a gambling debt, babies being born on Greyhound buses, and womanizing? I don't think so.
  • "Hotel California" by The Eagles. Not sure how I old I was, probably elementary school. I'd go into like a trance whenever this song came on the radio. When I couldn't sleep, I'd slip out of my room, take my parents' Eagles album, and put it in my Fisher-Price tape player. It and "Desperado" were my lullabies.
  • "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley. I was about 7 and taking a dance class. Everyone got to pick a song to perform an interpretative dance to during the last class and that was our recital. I was listening to Elvis with my grandma one afternoon and when the tape got to this song, I said, "This is my dance song." She tried to convince me to pick one of my favorite Disney songs instead, but I was a stubborn little kid. When it was my turn on recital day, I stood up and proudly danced my routine. Pretty much everyone thought I was nuts.
  • "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC. Pretty much self-explanatory.
  • "Fat-Bottomed Girls" by Queen. Or as I like to call it: the original "Baby Got Back." When I was little, my mom would turn off the radio every time this song came on. I would cry because the opening guitar riff sounds a lot like the one for Elton John's version of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King." I now understand she didn't want me asking questions about the implied pedophilia in the first verse.
  • "Renegade" by Styx. This was my favorite song for several months when I was in about first grade. I'd wear my dollar-store cowboy hat, go to whatever room my family was in, and put on this "concert" for them. The other songs in my set were "Midnight Rider" and "Ramblin' Man."
  • "Centerfold" by J Geils Band. While Riverdance was popular, I used to love copying their moves and I thought this song sounded Irish. If I wasn't in the car when this song played, I'd dance the Highland Fling to it. My mom caught me one day; I didn't know why she was so upset. A couple years later, in 5th grade, she sat me down and explained what the song was about. It's a miracle I can listen to it now without feeling embarrassed.
  •  "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC. Ah, the interesting discussions this song produced. "Mommy, why would people wear shoes made of concrete? And what's cyanide?" I remember hearing the word "neckties" as a small child and thinking, "Why are they singing about getting dressed up?" I was in middle school when I finally figured out it was about murder-for-hire.

No comments:

Post a Comment