So, who worries about the music their kids listen to?
I don’t have any kids myself, but when I was visiting my 13-year-old niece recently, she asked me to get her the new Ting Tings and Office CDs (very hip, that one). At first I didn’t even think about it, until I remembered there were a few naughty words on both and I checked with her mother.
“Oh, she’s heard much worse than that. Go for it,” she told me. I was taken aback for a minute thinking, wait a minute…don’t you care that your child is being exposed to this? Thankfully, it was only a momentary flash of 40-year-old old fogey thinking, quickly dashed when I started to recall my record collection at 13.
From the Village People chanting about “My Roommate” (winkwink), to Barry Manilow bragging about feeling his “blood flow” (nudgenudge) in “Weekend in New England,” not to mention the gem of my 45 collection, Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City,” my pre-teen records were just as racy, if perhaps a little less direct. Heck, even something as deceptively benign as Neil Diamond’s “Desirée” (download) had a saucy little subtext:
It was the third of June
On that summer’s day
When I became a man
At the hands of a girl
Almost twice my age
Ooooo, young Neil got some cougar action for his first time! Granted, I don’t think I knew what that opening verse really meant when I was ten years old, but now it really jumps out.
“Desirée” is a strange little single in Neil’s canon, coming at a pre-Jazz Singer time in his career when the hits were far from guaranteed. “Desirée” broke a bit of a losing streak he was having, hitting the Top 20. It’s been included in a few greatest hits packages since, but it’s not a song you ever hear on oldies radio and it’s not a tune people normally bring up in Neil Diamond conversation (and who doesn’t engage in Neil Diamond conversation at least weekly?). For some reason, my ten-year-old self loved it, though, and the scratched and dusty 45 still sits in a box somewhere in storage.
“Desirée” peaked at #16 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1978.
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