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Lyrics that make you go . . . ewwwwww

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Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:16 pm

Song lyrics are one of my favorite topics. And you have to understand that very often, lyric writers have to take a certain amount of creative or poetic license to make a song work. They reach for the rhyme; they put together words that we wouldn't use in everyday conversation. But sometimes songs are stupid.

Now and then my husband and I listen to an oldies (1950s-1960s) radio station. We're old enough to remember most of the songs, and it's fun to try to remember who did what song and sometimes we're right.

Subject matter in songs changed drastically in the 1960s, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why this song was written, recorded, and even became a hit. And it was a hit - back in 1962.

Apparently this chick is not happy with her boyfriend because he's just not as big a jackass as she thinks he should be. I won't post the entire song - the chorus is redundant. But here's the gist of "Johnny Get Angry" by Joanie Sommers:

[This song is sung in a minor key, which was an effort, I expect, to make it sound edgy; but the singer was so perky about the whole thing she only came off as demented. Adding to the dementia is a killer kazoo solo.]

Johnny I said we were through

Just to see what you would do

You stood there and hung your head

Made me wish that I were dead

Every time you dance with me

You let Freddy cut in constantly

When he does you never speak

Must you always be so meek?

Every girl wants someone who

She can always look up to

You know I love you of course

Let me know that you're the boss

Oh Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad

Give me the biggest lecture that I ever had

I want a brave man I want a cave man

Johnny show me that you care really care for me


I'm not a hard-core feminist. I never burned a bra or got offended if a gentleman opened a door for me. But Gad!!! What's this girl want? An angry, rude and potentially abusive boyfriend, I guess. Maybe Freddy would have been a better catch.

One more set of lyrics that makes me question the integrity of pre-feminist song writing is from that chart-topper from 1964 "Leader of the Pack"

My folks were always putting him down

They said he came from the wrong side of town

They told me he was bad

But I knew he was sad

That's why I fell for the leader of the pack

I thought that was stupid logic even when I was a kid hearing this song for the first time. She fell for a guy because he was sad? Way to set the bar high sister!

Actually, as a 10 year old girl, I thought the Shangri-Las were pretty groovy. I forgave them this piece of song-writing weirdness because they were good singers and had kind of a bad ass demeanor.

And also because the stupid lyrics were written by men.