Sunday, May 30, 2010

Run for your life

I grew up in the sixties. I had two older sisters, both of whom would buy and play all the latest Beatles records. To use a cliché, you could say that The Beatles were the soundtrack of my childhood. I love the music, I always have done, and always will. However, listening to Rubber Soul on my iPod today the lyrics of one particular track sounded somewhat sinister:

Well I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or I won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

Well you know that I'm a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can't spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I've said
Baby, I'm determined
And I'd rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na

8 comments:

  1. There are several songs from the Sixties (the supposed Golden Age) whose lyrics either incite or condone what we would now call at least GBH With Intent if not actual homicide - such as the awful "Hey Joe", for example. It would be straying from this blog's subject to list and discuss them except to say why on earth would a woman want to marry a man who saw nothing wrong with this kind of hate-art?

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  2. Yes, it does seem to be an indication of changed times, although I'm not sure that Hey Joe condoned violence, quite the opposite.

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  3. I have a serious interest in Jimi Hendrix and over the years have listened to dozens of his live performances of "Hey Joe" and not one of the slightly variable lyrics of each of them condemns the said Joe in anyway - nor does any other version of the song, including the original, as far as I know.

    I've always thought RFYL was as bad, too.

    To stay close to legal matters, as a layman I am interested in whether the development of what appears to be becoming a law of Incitement To Hatred will prevent these type of songs being publicly broadcast eventually (cf. xenophobic and homophobic lyrics, traditional or contemporary).

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  4. Interesting. I've always thought of Hey Joe as an anti-violence song.

    As for your last point, I think we have to be very careful we don't impinge upon freedom of speech and expression.

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  5. Morecambe and Wise's "Following you around" sounds creepy these days. Thank goodness they changed it for the more appropriate "Bring me sunshine".

    http://www.morecambeandwise.com/morecambeandwise_songlyrics.aspx?s=2

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  6. To an extent these songs show how times have changed. I'm not sure how they were meant at the time, but if released now they would be vilified. Not to mention the lyrics in Down by the River by Neil Young, although that was based on a true story I believe.

    Overall I think this is a positive change in our society that such lyrics are not widely accepted these days, although some may say that is going over the top.

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  7. Its excellent to see a picture of the Fab Four on a Legal Blog. Yes that is definitely one of their worst songs. I nominate Maxwell's Silver Hammer as even worse both musically and in terms of unpleasant imagery.

    Did Jimi Hendrix ever condemn anything or take any particular ethical stance? To me he always seemed too detatched from reality to do anything like that.

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  8. Ah, another Fab Four fiend, I see. Yes, Maxwell's Silver Hammer was not one of their best...

    I got the impression that Jimi was into nothing else but peace and love, man.

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