One night last week I was doing dishes after supper while listening to one of my playlists on Fine Tune. (And y'all need to check out Fine Tune--it's the coolest, especially if you're a music fanatic like me.) The song "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton came on (and you don't have to be a genius to guess what particular playlist that song is on!), so I'm standing at the sink, washing away, singing out loud, "Come spend the night inside my sugar walls...lemme take ya somewhere you've never been..." Mid-sentence it hit me...WHAT THE CRAP??? I totally listened to this song all the time as a child. A child, people...like, at the age of 9 or so. These lyrics are seriously dirty, but to my young, unaffected ears, I probably just figured Sugar Walls to be a dessert place of some sort. Or, ooooooh--remember the lickable wallpaper scene in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?" Yeah, those were sugar walls, right? But the song...well...listen for yourself. And do I have to remind anyone that Prince (Mr. Sex-You-Up Himself) actually wrote & produced this little ditty?
This realization hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. What were my parents thinking? I mean, Eric and I used to watch "Grease 2" (everybody sing with me now, "RE-PRO-DUC-TION, reproduction, put your pollen tubes to work...") and "The Pirate Movie" ("Keep pumpin', blowin'...") 24/7...we had these movies memorized. And not embarrassingly enough, we still can still quote them verbatim. It's a gift...we probably inherited it from the Roth side. Anyway, the sex stuff was way over our head. Still...where was our parental advisory board? Mama? Dad? Your kids were being poisoned by sexual innuendo of a musical nature! Call Tipper Gore!
While still standing at the sink, I started thinking about other songs of questionable nature that I used to sing cluelessly. Immediately "Like A Virgin" by Madonna (she of chaste goodness, of course!) popped into my head. Russell Elementary, 4th grade, recess time, on the monkey bars...my friends and I (come on Tori, chime in here!) would sing this song at the top of our lungs. Where were Mrs. Couey, Mrs. Rountree, and Mrs...what was the other one's name? Was our P.E. teacher, Mrs. Sutton, too busy with the daily game of kickball to notice a bunch of 10 year old girls harmonizing about making it "through the wilderness" and being "touched for the very first time?" Y'all better believe if I heard the term "like a virgin" come out of Libbey's mouth that this Mama would go beyond berserk. B-E-R-S-E-R-K! I'm for real.
Then I thought of "She-Bop," by Cyndi Lauper. If y'all don't know what this song is really about, look it up on the 'net. Wikipedia has a good take on it. But I ain't gonna school you...I was embarrassed enough as an adult to realize what I'd been singing along to in 1984, as a 10 year old. Here I thought the She-Bop was a dance. Weeeeeeeellll...I guess to some it may be. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.
Pretty soon my brain was flooded with memories of songs I now realize were rather risque. At that time, though, my preteen mid-80's self was more concerned with having jelly shoes & bracelets in every color possible, getting my bangs cut into "wings," and trying to make certain that Jerry Livingston noticed the new Hawaiian-print Jamms I was sportin'. (Ah, Jerry...the "Kirk Cameron" of Russell Elementary...whatever happened to him? I haven't seen him since the day we graduated high school--wonder if he's still dreamy? I digress...) Still...I think of tunes such as "Obsession" by Animotion, "Leather and Lace" by Don Henley & Stevie Nicks, "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran, "Hurts So Good" by John "Cougar" Mellencamp and "Hot Blooded," by Foreigner. And don't even get me started on the entire Prince canon. Or "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. (See "She-Bop" reference above.)
I hope y'all are now picturing me as an innocent 10 year old, ignorantly humming along to Sheena Easton as she pleads, "Your body's on fire--admit it--come inside!" And I also hope this has sparked your (dirty) minds...let me know what tunes you performed in front of the mirror, hairbrush in hand, never realizing the seediness lurking beneath seemingly innocent lyrics. Come on! Let's make a list. Call it the "Dude, I sang about fornication as an 8 year old and didn't even know it!" list. Or come up with a better name...whatever...just feel free to share. I know we'll have some head smacking moments of reflection...as in, "Oh yeah--I totally get what Elton John meant when he sang "rollin' like thunder under the covers!'" And this was before he was out! Seriously!