Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturday Song Selection: Special Sexist Symphony Edition

"I just couldn't get anyone to sing my songs, so I had to sing my own tunes" - Paul Anka

"I believe in criticism" - Paul Anka

As regular readers know (and so we commence by egotistically taking quite the fantastical leap with a presumption of, what are more than likely imaginary, “regular readers”) on the occasional Saturday, we here at the “… and several butcher’s aprons” Studios, high atop the “… and several butcher’s aprons” Arms, centerpiece of “… and several butcher’s aprons” Plaza, Hotel, Casino and Brothel (Legal Notice: “… and several butcher’s aprons” is a subsidiary of Koch Brothers Industries) from time to time take a breather from the seriousness, solemnity and polarization of politics -  the exasperation of the dynasty of ducks;  the idiotic, imbecilic, ignorant Alaskan who used Martin Luther King day as an opportunity to take cheap, racists shots at our President;  our own onion-paper-thin examinations of religious and social mores and behaviors, (okay, like Norm Crosby to a malaprop, a teabagger to a tractor pull, a GOP pol to Putin’s posterior,  no matter the intended topic or subject, this blog can rarely stray very far from the entertaining and dramatic circus of the political arena. Like bacon grease to Chris Christie, human growth hormone to A-Rod, and OxyContin to Rush Limbaugh, it’s just in nycityman’s blood) as we, instead,  return to our recurring feature celebrating that which makes the hills come alive - the sound and joy of music. So let’s leave partisanship in the past for this weekend, and pack up all our cares and woe, here we go singing low.

"Hi, for those of you younger than dead, I'm Norm Crosby"
Today, we present three of the most sexist songs to have reached heights of profound fame and fortune in pop music during the era of my youth; with special attention paid to one particular songwriter. Paul Anka, not only the king of chauvinistic lyrics, but also simply one of the worst composer/lyricists to have ever attained great success. No doubt, Mr. Anka contributes generously to charities and is benevolent to babies, and puppies and his Mom. He, for certain, exudes expertise in maintenance of a deep, dark tan no matter the season or time of year. Plus, he’s Canadian, rumored to be a felicitous and pleasant peoples, often of hearty and robust stock (Paul Schaeffer being the rare exception) but, alas, all of those virtuous traits don’t necessarily translate to quality wordsmithing,

Why skewer sexism in some selected songs from the 60’s and 70’s? While my non de blog, nycityman  should make it crystal clear that I am of the xy genus, I still hold certain sympathies  and understandings towards the concerns of women, maybe unfortuitously painting me as one of those sensitive males, long out of favor since Jimmy Carter professed lust in his heart,  Alan Alda’s tresses remained jet black, and Phil Donahue graced our CRTs each and every weekday afternoon;  and perhaps providing partial  explanation why the springs on my Serta Perfect Sleeper haven’t creaked wildly since the days that Hugh Hefner didn’t require a winch and a pulley in his attempts to satisfy whomever his current set of teen-age, identical twin girlfriends may be.

Forever the Playboy
Gender-biased jingles will be represented here by Mr. Anka’s, “Having My Baby” and “She’s a Lady” (whoa, whoa, whoa) as well as by the deleterious ditty, and the most egregious of the threesome, “Wives and Lovers,” whose authors will not be revealed until a little later on in our dissertation (bet you’re on the edge of your seat now!)

Well, she always knows her place”

Paul Anka, now 72, peaked at his craft almost 6 decades ago, as a very young teen,  concocting danceable and heartfelt musical melodramas like “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” “Diana” and “Puppy Love.”  Likeable, harmless, easy to sing along to, precious pop,  and ultimately as light and fluffy as a feathery down pillow, floating atop a cloud, aloft a sea of whipped Marshmallow Fluff. Unluckily, when maturing as an artist and addressing more serious and adult states of affair, his creative ability, never the less, remained still beatifically and blissfully aery and diaphanous, a gauzy gathering of gossamer angels wings, kitten fur and lilac petals.

“Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers. You may not see him again”

As to the disclosure of the identities of the architects of our third chauvinistic chanson, it both surprises and disappoints, as the music is by Burt Bacharach and the lyrics by Hal David - two of the greats, two legends and  one of the finest popular music partnerships of, not just the 1960’s, but of any era. In all fairness, one cannot lay blame or criticism or ire on composer Bacharach for this questionable creation, but for his role as accomplice in acquiescence.  How did the celebrated, prolific and prodigious Hal David pen this offensive clunker? Now, it was the 60’s a time of much experimentation, and perhaps we can attribute this momentary lapse in judgment to long sessions of shared hallucinogens with Timothy Leary, Grace Slick and Stanley Myron Handelman, but that’s highly unlikely;  and although, it was a time ago, it was still the 1960’s not the 1560’s.

"I'm Stanley Myron Handelman, and you have no idea who I am"
So now, introductions and explanations having been made, a few select lyrics sampled, we, Serling-like, submit for your approval the texts in their entirety, followed by performances of each gem.  Arbiter, appraise and enjoy. Proceed with caution.

Having My Baby

Having my baby,
What a lovely way of saying how much you love me,
Having my baby,
What a lovely way of saying what you're thinking of me

I can see it, your face is glowing,
I can see it, in your eyes I'm happy you know it

That you’re
Having my baby,
You’re the woman I love, & I love what it's doing to you,
Having my baby, 
You're a woman in love and I love what's going through you,

The need inside you, I see it showing,
Oh the seed inside you,
Baby do you feel it growing,
Are you happy you know it,

That you’re having my Baby,
I'm a woman in love, and I love what it's doing to me,
Having My Baby,
I'm a woman in love and I love what's going through me,

Didn't have to keep it, wouldn't put you through it,
You could of swept it from your life, 
But you wouldn't do it, no you wouldn't do it.

And you’re having my baby,
I'm a woman in love, and I love what it's doing to me,
Having My Baby.
I'm a woman in love, and I love what's going through me,

Having My Baby (Having My Baby)
What a lovely way of saying how much you love me,

Having My Baby,
I'm a woman in love and I love what it's going through me,
Having My Baby 

She’s a Lady
Well she's all you'd ever want,
She's the kind they'd like to flaunt and take to dinner.
Well she always knows her place.
She's got style, she's got grace, she's a winner.

She's a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, 
She's a Lady.
Talkin' about that little lady,
And the lady is mine.

Well she's never in the way
Always something nice to say, Oh what a blessing.
I can leave her on her own
Knowing she's okay alone, and there's no messing.

She's a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, 
She's a Lady.
Talkin' about that little lady,
And the lady is mine.

Well she never asks for very much and I don't refuse her.
Always treat her with respect, I never would abuse her.
What she's got is hard to find, and I don't want to lose her
Help me build a mountain from my little pile of clay. 
Hey, hey, hey.

Well she knows what I'm about,
She can take what I dish out, and that's not easy,
Well she knows me through and through,
She knows just what to do, and how to please me.

Wives and Lovers

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I'm warning you... 

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He's almost here... 

Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you'd wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

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