Bryan Adams was nine years old in the Summer of ’69. He wouldn’t reach the ripe old age of 10 until November that year. While that makes him a decade older than me, unless he was some sort of child prodigy, it certainly doesn’t make him old enough to have been playing in bands where Jimmy quit and Jody got married and they were young and restless, needin’ to unwind. When I was 9 I was usually found halfway up a tree or on the gravelly garage site ground after grazing my knees in a failed attempt at a wheelie on my racing bike. I’m sure Bryan was no different. The nostalgic notion amongst the romantics of the world is that Summer Of ’69 is about exactly that – the year when Bryan and his pals formed a band, chopped and changed the line-up and set off on their quest for worldwide fame and attention. The more savvy amongst us will have cottoned onto the fact that Summer Of ’69 is exactly about this. Indeed, Bryan has since said that the song referred to the best summer of his life, being a young buck and enjoying everything that came his way.
The relationship between sex and music is nothing new. You knew this already, but the actual term ‘rock and roll‘ refers to the act of gettin’ it on, and ever since we’ve had the ability to magnetise songs and transfer them to vinyl, artists have used the platform to brag, boast and bum (steady on!) about their bedroom (or otherwise) escapades. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? You Shook Me All Night Long. Suck On My Big Ten Inch. Betty Boo Just Doin’ The Do. Here’s a good holiday game for you, especially if you’re stuck freezing somewhere in a caravan wearing last week’s flimsy summer clothes for warmth and comfort – give everyone a pen and piece of paper, set the clock to 2 minutes, say “Go!” and write down as many songs as you can think of that refer to sex, directly or otherwise. Regardless of genre or vintage, there’s hunners o’ them!
Some artists take the direct route – “If It Don’t Fit (Don’t Force It) cos you make your mama mad”, hollered Barrelhouse Annie on her pre-war 1937 blues record of the same name. “Squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my leg,” moans Robert Plant on Led Zep‘s downright funky re-write of Robert Johnson‘s Travelling Riverside Blues. “I wonder if you know what I’m talking about,” he ad-libs. We do, Robert, we do! Let’s Get It On, crooned Marvin. Push It (Push it real good!) rapped Salt ‘n Pepa. “There are explosive kegs between my legs, Dear God, please help me!” mentioned Morrissey, one eyebrow raised suggestively while the rest of him conveniently forgot that he was supposed to be celibate. “I got pictures of naked ladies, lying on their beds, da-da, da-da, da-dada, starts a swelling in my head.” Sorry, I can’t remember all the words. You could Google them if you like. That was shock metal rockers Wasp‘s mid-80s granny-frightener Animal (Fuck Like a Beast). We could go on for ever, really. How’s that list of yours coming on anyway? If you’re stuck, think metal bands. They are considerable repeat offenders. Bon Jovi‘s Slippery When Wet? It’s not a concept album about the industrial cleaning of factory floors, that’s for sure. And Prince. Don’t forget him, the little genius that he is. His back catalogue is a right smut-filled funk-fest of fornication and frolics.
Some artists are more subtle and incorporate a certain amount of dubiety to the lyrics. Millie‘s mid 60s skanking My Boy Lollipop is supposedly not about licking lollipops at all, but rather some sexual act or other. I can’t for the life of me think what it might refer to. The Vapors‘ Turning Japanese? Every schoolboy knows what that’s about. Soft rock balladeers Heart‘s innuendo-filled All I Wanna Do included a line about I am the flower, you are the seed, we walked in the garden and planted a tree. I don’t think Titchmarsh or that Charlie lassie who doesn’t wear a bra were much in the band’s thoughts at this time. The Naked Gardeners, maybe. I’ve blogged this before, but Grace Jones‘ Pull Up To The Bumper is perhaps the most sexually innuendo-filled lyric in the history of sexually-explicit records. Pull up to my bumper baby, in your long black limousine….drive it inbetween……..I’ve got to blow your horn………shiny, sleek machine…...grease it, spray it, lubricate it.……” Here‘s the full-length (!) uncut (!) 12″ (!) mix.
Some artists even go so far as to literally get into the groove and incorporate the actual act itself to audio tape. Axl Rose employed the services of one such obliging young lady while recording Rocket Queen on Appetite For Destruction, overturning strategically placed microphones in the process. Gads. It’s rumoured that saucy old Serge Gainsbourg did likewise whilst recording Je T’Aime with Jane Birkin, although Serge himself disputed this as if they had, he said, the record would’ve been a long-player. Ooft! Two such tracks that employ more than a touch of heavy breathing are L’il Louis‘ groundbreaking house classic French Kiss and Donna Summer‘s libido-filled Love To Love You Baby. Here‘s the original 12″ of French Kiss, taken straight from vinyl and complete with some reassuring crackle ‘n fluff underneath all that moaning and groaning. And here‘s the complete, full length (!) throbbing (!) 12″ (!) version of Love To Love You Baby. 16+ minutes of pure aural sex.
I’m off for a cold shower.