Saturday, March 7, 2009

Guest List: Songs I Liked Without Knowing What They Were Really About

A list from the pseudonymous Shorty about songs she liked as a kid without knowing their true meaning.

"Walk This Way" by Aerosmith
Because of the "hey-diddle-diddle" chorus, I thought the song was a nursery rhyme. I can vividly recall being in first grade and singing this song on the playground. A teacher heard me and I got in SO much trouble.

"Lady Marmalade" by (Patti) Labelle
I thought this song was really cool because my mom told me some of the lyrics were in French. I could pronounce all the words perfectly, so I decided to impress my French-Canadian grandmother by singing it to her. She was horrified but refused to tell me what I'd said.

"Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel
I started listening to Billy Joel after I saw the Disney movie Oliver and Company. I really liked this song and was confused when my mom told me I couldn't sing it in public. Why? Because I was enrolled in Catholic school at the time.

"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 buses, and womanizing?

"Digital Getdown" by NSYNC
This one almost doesn't count because it was by a boy band, but just look up the lyrics and you'll see why I had to include it. I had no idea it was about cybersex.

"I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" by Elton John
I thought the line "rolling like thunder under the covers" was talking about people tossing and turning because they couldn't sleep.

"Love In An Elevator" by Aerosmith
I thought it was about two people who met in an elevator and fell in love. How very wrong I was.

"Black Betty" by Ram Jam
I was a 4-year-old Ninja Turtle fan the first time I heard it. I heard the lyric "rock-steady" and (wrongly) assumed that Black Betty the girlfriend of the villain Rocksteady.

"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 also remember hearing the word "neckties" and thinking, "Why are they talking about getting dressed up?" I was probably in 8th grade before I figured out the song was about murder-for-hire.

Thanks, Shorty. How about the rest of you?

The one that stands out in my mind is the mid-70s hit "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band (yeah, I'm a bit older than Shorty). We all loved the song, but had no idea it was about a nooner.


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