By Al Menconi*
January 2000 – The following is a simple illustration of how much emptiness we are willing to accept, if it comes to us in small bites. There are many songs that are more graphic, but each of the following broke down barriers in what society considered acceptable.
1964 – The Beatles sang I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Their lyrics and attitude suggested physical aggressiveness was okay without an emotional commitment. Today this is such an innocent song, but in 1964 it was a major departure from what was acceptable.
1967 – The Rolling Stones sang Let’s Spend the Night Together. The Stones were even more aggressive. They implied having sex by wanting to spend the night with you. This was such a major leap in what was socially acceptable in our society that Ed Sullivan made them change the lyrics to “Let’s spend some time together” in order to perform their hit on his popular television variety program. Just a few years before, the Everly Brothers sang that they were worried that their reputation would be shot if anyone found out they had been out too late. Now the Rolling Stones were coming right out and saying let’s spend the whole night together. From this point on, songs became more and more suggestive.
1976 – Rod Stewart sang Tonight’s The Night. In this song, Stewart didn’t want any “used” girl for sex. He wanted a virgin girl to go upstairs with him and let her “inhibitions run wild.” Giving up your virginity in a song was now acceptable because it had a good beat and we thought he was sexy.
1981 – Olivia Newton-John sang Let’s Get Physical! Up to this point, it was assumed that you were “easy” if you had sex before marriage. Olivia NewtonJohn looked like the “girl next door” but she was just as aggressive as the guys! She left no doubt just how physical she wanted to get with her lyrics of showing “love” by getting horizontal. If it was okay for “the girl next door,” it must be okay for any girl.
1987 – George Michael sang I Want Your Sex! George Michael dropped all forms of subtlety with this song. No romance, just sex! At that time, many Christians tried to justify this song as being acceptable because he advocated monogamy. They had become so desensitized to sin, that they didn’t understand the difference between monogamy (having one sex partner at a time) and morality (waiting for marriage for sexual relations!)
1991 – Color Me Badd sang I Wanna Sex You Up! This was considered romantic. Honest! This song demonstrated what had become obvious in society – a complete confusion and misunderstanding that getting sex and having sexual talk was considered romance.
1994 – Nine Inch Nails sang in Closer “I Wanna F--- You Like an Animal!” With so much misinformation about love and sex being socially acceptable, it was just a short step to this rape-suggesting, aggressive song. Trent Reznor, the leader of Nine Inch Nails, was hailed as a genius for this and other thought-provoking songs.
1998 – Janet Jackson sang Tonight’s The Night! How can this cover of Rod Stewart’s 22-year-old hit by this sweet, goodlooking girl be so bad? Compared to what is popular it has to be considered tame. Right? Read the lyrics. This song was the first popular song about lesbian sex. “Come on little girl let your inhibitions run wild!”
We’ve sure come a long way, baby! I can recall telling my audiences in 1973 that I couldn’t imagine songs getting worse than Black Sabbath singing about the occult. As you read this, any song about any form of perversion is considered acceptable.
How did this happen?
One song at a time.
* Al Menconi heads a ministry that helps Christian families evaluate the content of popular music. For books, teaching tapes, videos, and other resources, visit Al Menconi Ministries on the Internet. Phone: 619-436-8676