Meat Loaf - "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" Copyright (c) Edward B. Marks Music Corp. - Neverland Music Company - Peg Music Company - by permission.
Rolling Stones - "Some Girls" Copyright (c) 1978 - Schaltone S.V. - all rights reserved by permission.
I want you
I need you
But - there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
'Cause two out of three ain't bad
Meat Loaf, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"
"THIS GENERATION, by the age of 15, has listened to an average of 18,000 hours of television, more hours of radio, while spending 11,000 hours in school and 3,000 hours in some form of religious training," said Rev. Jesse Jackson of Operation PUSH, which is taking the offensive against suggestive rock music in principle and specificlly, a new Rolling Stones hit.
"I'm concerned about the psychological effect of a superficial view of life that reduces life to a sex thrill and defines a man or a woman by sexual fulfillment. I'm concerned about the racial factor in the Mick Jagger record. His characterization of black women is demeaning and degrading."
The Jagger song breaks new ground, even for the Rolling Stones. It is both sexually and racially offensive. It does not get played on the radio in Washington, according to a disc jockey who knows of such things, because it contains one of the few tattoo words. But the record is a big seller and is getting played on lots of living room stereos. The album cover sets the proper tone: it contains a pastiche of those large pointy brassiere ads from movie magazines of the '50s that gave us permanent inferiority complexes. Inside the album, tuckaway between such nifty titles as "Beast of Burden" and "When the Whip Comes Down" is the Stones' new hit title song. "Some Girls."
Briefly, the lyrics talk quite clearly about the sexual preferences of girls of various nationalities and describes white girls as "pretty funny/sometimes they drive me mad" and then Jagger sings, "black girls want to get f----- all night and I don't have that much jam!"
Okay, Mick. Let's hear it for good taste.
It's been much easier these past few years for parents not to listen to rock music. We say we can't understand the words and sure the lyrics are suggestive, but rock's always been that way. Music moguls are making big bucks off vulgarizing sex and appealing to the smuttiest corners of children's minds and they're getting away with it because parents are convinced there's nothing they can do about it. We say, heaven knows, we wouldn't want government censorship and we know from the way we reacted to our parents' outrage at Presley and others in the old days that if we tell our children they can't listen to certain music we have virtually guaranteed that they will. So we shrug our shoulders helplessly and go back to the important decisions.
Or at least most of us do. "Music can be at once tasteful and sell," says Jackson. "PUSH is going to try to make decadence less profitable. When he (Jagger) comes back into the country, we are going to picket his concerts. We think it is time for a showdown against decadent lyrics.
"My point is more thical than racial. Because of the Mick Jagger situation, a number of producers and writers have called me and said, 'do you think the public will object to this.' We're going to assume the responsibility to build a wall of resistance when the music steps over that line . . . Victory is not in any kind of censorship. Victory is in more sensitivity by the artists themselves.
"I know Stevie Wonder does songs like "Songs in the Key of Life" they have redemptive, healing power. I know if our children are programmed into sex and drugs and the life style, then they're not going to be inspired to develop academically or to close the functional gap between us and white people." Jackson says he thinks the music contributes to the teen-age pregnancy epidemic.
"I believe there's been a dark side and a light side to music," says two-time Academy Award winning songwriter Al Kasha. "Presley in the '50s was the dark side. Pat Boone was the light side. The Beatles were the light side, the Rolling Stones the dark side.
'The Rolling Stones are the biggest purveyors of this trend, I've always thought they've taken advantage of the darker side of life. The English writers are much more explicit than the American writers and they have moved the American writers to write this way. We are in a commercial business.
"The records were coming out so quickly, radio never had time to analyze what the songs were about. See, the trick was to be indirect. There was a record with lyrics like 'keep it coming love, don't let the well run dry. You're so into me, I'm so into you . . .' by the Atlanta. That can mean the sex act or so into your mind. Peter Frampton's I'm in You. You're in Me.' Disco Baby assaults the air with 'Move it In, Move it out, disco baby.'
"The problem is sex," says Kasha, who won his awards for music from "The Towering Inferno" and "Poseidon Adventure." "They'll go as far as they can until someone slaps their hands. The obviously no one is slapping their hands. The motion picture, music industry, record business, the people running it are basically financiers. They're not going to listen to a potential hit album and say, maybe we shouldn't release that record.
"No one is telling the Rolling Stones, gee, I really think that's X-rated. You should leave that in the bathroom or th bedroom. No kind of guidelines have been set. That's really the problem.
"The writer does a lot of curve throwing. It's like telling a kid sort of a dirty story where he can read between the lines. Obviously, a lot of writers feel it's a fast buck, which it is.
"What happened in the radio industry is that there are now about 26 chains, and one program director who monitors for the rest of the chain. It would be very easy for them to get copies of the lyrics and listen carefully and for the program directors to speak to each other."
Both Kasha and a Washington disc jockey say the music may soon get less sexy! "The books on the best seller list this year are more about running than about sex, says the disc jockey. "Maybe radio is just behind it."
Maybe. It is hard to imagine lyrics getting much rauchier. What on earth could Jagger do for an encore?
Jackson sees black children imperiled by listening to "Some Girls." White children are imperiled by it, too. The lyrics have gone too far and it's time that parents realize it. It's time that parents who grew up on rock and finally grew out of it, start listening to it again. We long ago left the Age of Aquarius and are now well into the Age of Outrage.
We may not like the lyrics and we may not know what to do about them, but we ought to know they're there. This time, we don't have to use our imagination!