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Preface: Celebrating youthful lust as well as the lust for youth.
This country has such an obsessive fear of pedophilia and child molestation, that we seem to have forgotten how to have a healthy appreciation for the natural beauty of youth. Being attracted to adolescent girls (and boys, depending) is not perverted - it's natural. Common sense, respect, and acknowledgement - not repression - of our nature as human animals is what contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
That having been said, rock 'n roll has quite the history of debauchery, and rock stars have never really cared about what the public considers to be "moral" behavior. So, in that vein, we'll explore some songs dealing with underage love this week, and take a look at a few of the more well-known "age-diverse" matchups in rock history. Relax, we don't check ID's around here.
Monday (7/07/08): Muddy Waters - She's Nineteen Years Old [released as a single, recorded in 1958]
Comments: We'll start off easy, as 19 years isn't such a big deal - but, when you consider that this song was written and sung by a man in his forties, you might get a little uncomfortable. But honestly, if a 19-year-old can appreciate other 19-year-olds, then why shouldn't a 40-year-old be able to? We were all young once, and youth never goes out of fashion. "She's nineteen years old, and got ways just like a baby child."
Tuesday (7/08/08): John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - She's Too Young [Bare Wires, 1968]
Comments: "Sixteen she is still in school, I've got to learn to keep it cool - she's too young, but not for me." Introducing our first couple of the week - Jerry and Myra! Legendary piano rocker Jerry Lee Lewis' career suffered major difficulties when, at age 22, his marriage to his 13-year old cousin Myra Gale Brown went public. It's a shame that Lewis' prospects were dashed just because the world didn't understand the couple's relationship. Supposedly, marriage at that age - and between cousins - wasn't such a big deal where they came from.
Wednesday (7/09/08): Johnny Winter - Stray Cat Blues [Saints & Sinners, 1974]
Comments: "I can see you're only fifteen years old, but I don't want your ID." Johnny Winter performs his magic on this great Rolling Stones song. Speaking of the Rolling Stones, bass guitarist Bill Wyman started a relationship at age 46 with 13-year-old Mandy Smith. They got married six years later. Despite the stereotype of "cradle-robbing" - not to mention the dirty reputation the Stones reveled in - all evidence indicates that Bill and Mandy's feelings were true and their intentions pure, and the relationship was handled with utmost respect.
Thursday (7/10/08): The Rolling Stones - Little Queenie (Live) [Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out, 1970]
Comments: "She looks like a model on the cover of a magazine; my, she's too cute to be a minute over seventeen." Continuing the chain of covers, The Rolling Stones pay tribute to one of Chuck Berry's classic odes to youth. Chuck Berry himself was actually imprisoned for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines for "immoral purposes". Although, as bad as that sounds, my impression is that the situation was blown out of proportion due to prevailing racist sentiments at the time (see the Mann Act).
Friday (7/11/08): Ten Years After - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl [Ssssh, 1969]
Comments: "Good morning little schoolgirl, can I go home with you?" Ten Years After performs what I consider to be the definitive version of this classic song. If you look at it from the perspective of a young schoolboy professing his love for one of his peers, it seems pretty innocent. But if you take the line, "tell your mama and your papa I'm a little schoolboy, too" to be less than straightforward, then the song suddenly takes on a potentially darker tone. But hey, love knows no boundaries - including age. The "King" of rock 'n roll himself fell for the charms of a fresh-faced young girl. At age 24, while stationed in Germany with the army, Elvis Presley met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, and courted her for several years before finally marrying her (she was 21 at the time of the wedding).
Saturday (7/12/08): Ted Nugent - Jailbait (Live) [Intensities In 10 Cities, 1981]
Comments: "Well I don't care if you're just thirteen, you look too good to be true." I guess jailbait is the name of the game, really. It's just as natural to be protective of the young, inexperienced, and impressionable, as it is to admire their innocence and vibrancy. Unfortunately, we tend to jump to conclusions all too quickly. At least the rock world and its lack of inhibitions will always be an open avenue. During Led Zeppelin's 1972 tour, while in Los Angeles, Jimmy Page, then dating famous groupie 'Miss Pamela', discovered 14-year-old groupie Lori Maddox. Jimmy allegedly had Lori kidnapped and brought to 'The Riot House' to meet him. By all accounts, they fell deeply in love, but their relationship didn't last for too long.
Sunday (7/13/08): Lance Lopez - El Paso Sugar [Higher Ground, 2007]
Comments: We'll close it out with a modern bluesy rocker by Lance Lopez, one of the hottest guitarists of this generation. And the next time you come across a hot young thing, remind yourself that there's nothing wrong with admiring beauty - it's the way you choose to act on your impulses that determines whether or not you're being a "decent" human being. "I remember when you were just seventeen, you were the sweetest thing that I ever seen."