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Archive for January 20th, 2017

It’s been a long time since I did a hooker songs column, so I decided it was time to rectify that!  Actually, the immediate inspiration was that one of my earliest whore anthems (actually one of my party pieces during my early whoring days at university) came on my Pandora the other day, and I realized I had never featured it!  So without further ado:

Material Girl  (Peter Brown/Robert Rans)

Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me
I think they’re ok
If they don’t give me proper credit
I just walk away

They can beg and they can plead
But they can’t see the light (that’s right)
‘Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right

(refrain) ‘Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Some boys romance, some boys slow dance
That’s all right with me
If they can’t raise my interest then I
Have to let them be

Some boys try and some boys lie but
I don’t let them play (no way)
Only boys who save their pennies
Make my rainy day

(refrain)

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world

Boys may come and boys may go
And that’s all right you see
Experience has made me rich
And now they’re after me

‘Cause everybody’s living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

A material, a material, a material, a material world

Living in a material world (material)
Living in a material world
[repeat and fade]

It’s always annoyed me that the video undercuts the message of the song, but that wasn’t unusual at the time (and still probably isn’t, though I rarely watch videos any more).  While this one is pretty overt, the next one seems to slip under most people’s radar:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can’t hold me forever
I didn’t sign up with you
I’m not a present for your friends to open
This boy’s too young to be singing the blues

(refrain) So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough
Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you’ll do then
I bet that’ll shoot down the plane
It’ll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you’ll get a replacement
There’s plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain’t got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

(refrain)

The narrator is clearly a kept boy who has decided he doesn’t like that life and is saying goodbye to his patron to head back to his rural origins.  Actually, Elton has recorded a number of sex work songs; on the very same album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, appears this one (which is much more graphic):

Sweet Painted Lady (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

I’m back on dry land once again
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We’re all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we’ve learned

If the boys all behave themselves here
Well, there’s pretty young ladies and beer in the rear
You won’t need a gutter to sleep in tonight
Oh, the prices I charge here will see you alright

So, she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

(refrain) Oh, sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

(refrain)

Forget us we’ll have gone very soon
Just forget we ever slept in your rooms
And we’ll leave the smell of the sea in your beds
Where love’s just a job and nothing is said

So she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

(refrain)
(refrain)

And then there’s this one from Rock of the Westies:

Island Girl (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)

I see your teeth flash, Jamaican honey so sweet
Down where Lexington cross 47th Street
Oh she’s a big girl, she’s standing six-foot three
Turning tricks for the dudes in the big city

(refrain) Island girl
What you wanting with the white man’s world?
Island girl
Black boy want you in his island world

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s world

Well she’s black as coal, but she burn like a fire
And she wrap herself around you like a well-worn tire
You feel her nail scratch your back just like a rake, oh oh
He one more gone, he one more John who make the mistake

(refrain)

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s world

(refrain)

He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you, but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s
Tell me what you wanting with the white man’s

Long-time readers will recognize the familiar theme of the young man in love with a sex worker who thinks he’s going to “rescue” her and can’t understand why she isn’t interested.  But Bernie Taupin threw a sly little twist into this one; by making her so incredibly tall, it’s pretty obvious the implication is that she’s a transwoman.  But while Elton wasn’t quite ready to broach that subject openly in the 1970s, Lou Reed certainly was:

Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She said, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

(refrain) And the colored girls go,
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City is the place where they said:
Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
I said hey Joe, take a walk on the wild side

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets
Lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should have seen him go, go, go
They said, hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side
I said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side, alright, huh

Jackie is just speeding away
Thought she was James Dean for a day
Then I guess she had to crash
Valium would have helped that bash
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
I said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

(refrain)

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