Tired of hearing that musicians of the last twenty years (or just the ones you like) have unprecedentedly filthy minds? Welcome to a blast-from-the-past BitchTape that speaks for itself! Chime in with your own faves in the comments.
1. "(Love is Like a) Heat Wave" by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
Let's start off with one of my all-time favorite songs. This tune seems innocent enough for it to be covered in PG-rated movies, but I love its matter-of-fact approach to lustful attraction. It doesn't hurt that Martha Reeves knocks the vocals out of the park!
2. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by the Beach Boys
I started to write out examples of suggestive, restrained lyrics for this one, but they quickly became the whole song. Oh, adolescent dreaming!
3. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" by the Shirelles
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media by Susan J. Douglas has a lot to say about how this song nudged the still-taboo topic of female sexuality a little closer to the spotlight.
4. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" by the Beatles
Sure, rumor has it that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" involved, shall we say, metaphors, but as they grew as artists, the Fab Four got a lot more overt.
5. "Love Child" by Diana Ross & the Supremes
And now, for the Tell Your Children!-esque portion of our program, Ross encourages abstinence because she doesn't want to "end up hatin'/The child we may be creatin'!" In her defense, musicians, like filmmakers, were often not allowed to address "controversial" topics unless they seemed to condemn them.
6. "Boogie Shoes" by K.C. & the Sunshine Band
Dear readers, I am so confused. While it's clear to anyone who cares what this song's about, what are "boogie shoes?" Are they condoms? easily removed clothes? or just... a really sexy pair of shoes?
7. "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers
Did they or didn't they? We, the listeners, might never know, but after a young couple inadvertantly spends the night together, they worry "What're we gonna tell our friends when they say 'Ooh-la-la?'" This catchy ditty also inspired the best Boy Meets World episode ever.
8. "Let's Misbehave" by Irene Bordoni
The oldie-est of oldies on this mix, this recording is from 1928. I also recommend Elvis Costello's 2004 cover, because what do you get when you cross a classic rock artist with a Cole Porter-penned musical number? A LATTER-DAY OLDIES HEAVEN! Maybe I should call it "Three Minutes in Heaven."
9. "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
"I'm gonna drink a lot o' coffee, spend a little cash/Make that girl love me when I put on some trash" Again, I don't know what it means, but it sounds SCANDALOUS.
10. "Fever" by Peggy Lee
This track was considered boundary-pushing in the '50s—because of raciness, not its questionable examples of romance—but I can't hear it without thinking of Soldier's Girl.
11. "I Know What Boys Like" by the Waitresses
Okay, this one's a bit of a stretch since as far as I know, the ambiguous "oldies" blanket is not considered by most to cover the '80s. But hey, it came out in 1980, several years before I was born, and thus is categorized as such in my mind. Plus, it's a really spectacular song.
12. "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James & the Shondelles