Songs about fucking: sex & music

Sex and music have enjoyed a long relationship, even before the so-called lurid dawn of rock & roll. Both blues and jazz were rife with sexual energy. Whether it was the backwoods of acoustic artists like Robert Johnson or the jazz hall sauntering of vocalists like Mamie Smith, sex was an essential part of the blues. Likewise jazz music, from its surge to popularity in the roaring twenties through the days of big band and Dixieland, brought couples together, and very close.

Like all music genres, the increasing familiarity makes it become the norm. The emergence of bebop turned swing into ‘old man music,’ while rock & roll became not just a new beacon for sexuality expressed through music, but it was the first time a genre of music was specifically aimed at, and taken in by, teenagers.

Teen heart throbs existed before the ‘50s of course. The character of Johnny Fontaine for instance, in “The Godfather” was heavily based on the career of Frank Sinatra in the early 1940s, with young girls screaming and crying when he would sing (the notion that The Beatles started this trend is most definitely false). But the pop singers of World War II sung innocent love songs. Later, when Big Joe Turner sang “”I’ve been holdin’ it in, way down underneath / You make me roll my eyes, baby, make me grit my teeth,” there was no question what he was talking about. Parents collectively were outraged with the genre, a natural instinct – never before had children taken such a keen interest in a style of music. While cheery and playful, there was a dirty subtext to a lot of rock & roll songs and the B-film industry followed suit, offering cheap films that gave early rockers a place to lay down the dirty sax and pounding piano chords for kids who wanted to make out with their dates in movie theaters.

While the drive-in theaters were like the Wild West in terms of what it could get away with, television made a more concerted effort to desensitize rock & roll. “The Ed Sullivan Show” for instance was oblivious to the sexual power of Elvis Presley (so was Elvis apparently) when they first booked him in 1956, but when concerns rose about the singer’s “suggestive” dance moves, his third appearance famously featured him shot from the waist up. The plan of course backfired, with Presley breaking into some hip swiveling at the conclusion of “Peace in the Valley” (of all songs!) which given the tight shot on the singer’s torso, only made his off-camera gyrations all the more dirty.

So because the rock & rollers essentially won out over the repressive parents and TV hosts, have we become the lecherous fuck-obsessed pigs that they assured us Elvis Presley’s hips would make us? Of course not at all, or at least not any more than the kids back then. Rock & roll didn’t make teenagers have sex with each other – a natural progression of the teenager in society beget the need for a culture that fed those progressed desires. We (and by we I mean all music fans) didn’t like rock & roll simply because it was different. We took it in because it’s what we needed, and if we needed to break out of sexual suppression, rock was there to undo the knots.

The  sexual freedom that of today that is supposedly new is not a dissent but merely evolution. When Lady Gaga informs us about her desire to ride our disco stick, or when Ke$ha demands, “just show me where your dick’s at,” it’s shocking, simply because it’s a new way that someone figured out a way to say “I just wanna fuck” in a pop song. Whether or not you care for either “LoveGame” or “Blah-Blah-Blah” is irrelevant — it’s mainstream pop music and is completely akin to Arthur Mckay singing about getting a handjob in “She Squeezed My Lemon” nearly 80 years ago. It was lurid, disgusting, raunchy—but most of all, it was a sign of the times, and we as a society turned out fine, not in spite of it, but because of it.