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Old 05-30-2019, 11:39 AM
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Hit Songs in Bad Taste


Songs in the Top 20 or 25 that make you question the taste of your fellow human beans.
My entry is "Timothy"(1970), which made #17 on Billboard's Top 40. It is a whiny little ditty about three minors trapped underground for days, and only two of them leaving...with their bellies full and no memory of what happened. This song was actually designed to get banned for the sake of publicity, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.

So, watcha got?

Last edited by Czarcasm; 05-30-2019 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:41 AM
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:43 AM
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Why is this one in bad taste?
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:49 AM
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:53 AM
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Songs in the Top 20 or 25 that make you question the taste of your fellow human beans.
My entry is "Timothy"(1970), which made #17 on Billboard's Top 40. It is a whiny little ditty about three minors trapped underground for days, and only two of them leaving...with their bellies full and no memory of what happened. This song was actually designed to get banned for the sake of publicity, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.

So, watcha got?
I had never heard of this song until I read about it in Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs. I still have never heard it. So, despite my prodigious ignorance of popular music, I have to ask how effective the strategy of getting banned was. Looks to me like the banning was more successful.


Barry said something like "at least they resisted the urge to call it Yummy Yummy Yummy, I've got Tim in my Tummy."
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:56 AM
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I had never heard of this song until I read about it in Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs. I still have never heard it. So, despite my prodigious ignorance of popular music, I have to ask how effective the strategy of getting banned was. Looks to me like the banning was more successful.


Barry said something like "at least they resisted the urge to call it Yummy Yummy Yummy, I've got Tim in my Tummy."
When a song hits the Billboard Top 20 it is considered successful whether you heard it or not.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:02 PM
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Songs in the Top 20 or 25 that make you question the taste of your fellow human beans.
My entry is "Timothy"(1970), which made #17 on Billboard's Top 40. It is a whiny little ditty about three minors trapped underground for days, and only two of them leaving...with their bellies full and no memory of what happened. This song was actually designed to get banned for the sake of publicity, and it succeeded beyond all expectations.

So, watcha got?
Great choice and NOT to be pedantic but just to clarify for those not in the know-(and to make the song a bit more palatable) that would be miners, not minors. Cannibalism among kids would be TOO much. And written by member Rupert Holmes, of The Pina Colada Song fame/infamy!
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:06 PM
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A song mistakenly thought to be in bad taste was Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed"(1975) from Welcome To My Nightmare, because a lot of people thought it was about menstruation. It was actually about spousal abuse.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:07 PM
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Great choice and NOT to be pedantic but just to clarify for those not in the know-(and to make the song a bit more palatable) that would be miners, not minors. Cannibalism among kids would be TOO much. And written by member Rupert Holmes, of The Pina Colada Song fame/infamy!
Sorry-my SpellCheck is slightly pervy.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:16 PM
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You have a lot of general misogyny of course in your 60's and 70's hits (You're Having MY Baby, Treat her like a Lady, anything by the Eagles), and your various odes to 16 or 17 year olds which were more acceptable back then vs. now, but wouldn't call those bad taste. Some may point to Ram Jam's Black Betty, but that was of course not an original but a remake of a Leadbelly tune, plus the song lyrics mention race, but aren't racist per se.

#92 peak position is way out of the guidelines, but the fact that "I want my Baby Back" by Jimmy Cross could chart at all, especially in the early 1960's, when it is about a guy so broken up about his girlfriend's death he digs up her coffin and joins her, should earn special mention!
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:21 PM
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"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals in 1962, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King (!)

ETA: not sure if it was a, um, “hit” though
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:23 PM
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Is anyone else chuckling that Czarcasm's example of a song that is in "bad taste" just happens to be about cannibalism?

I think Heart's awful song All I Wanna Do is pretty tasteless. I suppose there have been women who picked up total strangers and boned them for the sole purpose of getting pregnant because their partner couldn't, but maybe lets not sing about it.

Hinder's Lips of an Angel never fails to piss me off, even though I like it, musically. Schmucko is having a secret conversation with his old girlfriend while his current girlfriend is in the other room, as he tells her, among other things, "sometimes I wish she was you". Dickhead.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:29 PM
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"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals in 1962, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King (!)

ETA: not sure if it was a, um, “hit” though
I don't know if it was a hit, but it was definitely about hitting. From Wiki:
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"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King for girl group the Crystals under the guidance of Phil Spector in 1962. Goffin and King wrote the song after discovering that their babysitter and singer Little Eva was being regularly beaten by her boyfriend. When they inquired why she tolerated such treatment, Eva replied, with complete sincerity, that her boyfriend's actions were motivated by his love for her.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:34 PM
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Gary Puckett's Young Girl gets called on this all the time. He doesn't specify the age of the girl in the song but it clearly sounds like a girl who is not simply days away from legal age.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:36 PM
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Gary Puckett's Young Girl gets called on this all the time. He doesn't specify the age of the girl in the song but it clearly sounds like a girl who is not simply days away from legal age.
Definitely a wide Gap age-wise in that Union.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:36 PM
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"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals in 1962, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King (!)

ETA: not sure if it was a, um, “hit” though
Didn't chart of course but a wonderful example of a really well produced, well played, well written (by top writers) and catchy tune about a terrible topic- the joys of domestic abuse!

The Crystals are also the artists credited to (Let's Dance) The Screw, an early 60's Phil Spector release solely produced to get out of a contractual obligation, with no thought it would be aired or released (it wasn't). IIRC there are no other lyrics but the title is chanted several times over a backing track.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:36 PM
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A song mistakenly thought to be in bad taste was Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed"(1975) from Welcome To My Nightmare, because a lot of people thought it was about menstruation. It was actually about spousal abuse.
Oh, well then, no problem. Glad it's not about something awful like I thought.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:39 PM
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Oh, well then, no problem. Glad it's not about something awful like I thought.
The song is definitely against wife beating.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:40 PM
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Gary Puckett's Young Girl gets called on this all the time. He doesn't specify the age of the girl in the song but it clearly sounds like a girl who is not simply days away from legal age.
Also This Girl Is A Woman Now is in bad taste because the idea that a young girl becomes a woman by having sex is wrong on a lot of different levels.

The Bouys always claimed that "Timothy" was a mule.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:45 PM
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Also This Girl Is A Woman Now is in bad taste because the idea that a young girl becomes a woman by having sex is wrong on a lot of different levels.

The Bouys always claimed that "Timothy" was a mule.
It wasn't the band that made the claim. From my cite:
Quote:
Scepter Records executives tried to claim that Timothy was really a mule, not a person, in order to get radio stations that had banned the song to reconsider. When asked about this claim, however, Holmes refused to play along with the Scepter executives.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:47 PM
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The song is definitely against wife beating.
I know, and I've always known what the song was about. I think the people who thought it was about menstruation didn't listen to much more that the title.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:49 PM
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When a song hits the Billboard Top 20 it is considered successful whether you heard it or not.
I don't doubt it.

And I've already proclaimed by song ignorance, but if something is really successful, it become ubiquitous and eventually, you'd think, I would have heard it. Not the case with this song at all.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:51 PM
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"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" by the Crystals in 1962, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King (!)

ETA: not sure if it was a, um, “hit” though
This one, too, was included in the Dave Barry book.


I don't recall hearing this one, either. But back in 1962 I wasn't paying close attention, so it's not surprising.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:53 PM
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Why is this one in bad taste?
Yeah. I agree it's kinda silly, and very 70's, but honestly it's not that bad.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:56 PM
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Definitely a wide Gap age-wise in that Union.
Nope. Oh you can infer one, but she could be 18 from all that the lyrics say.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:11 PM
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Run For Your Life-The Beatles.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:21 PM
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Boom Boom (Out go the Lights) by Little Walter, but a hit for the Pat Travers Band in the 70's.

I never been so mad before
When I found out she ain't mine no more
If I get her in my sight
Boom, boom, out go the lights

There are plenty of blues songs with similar themes (getting back at my cheating girl) but something about the audience participation on the "Boom Boom" part makes it particularly disturbing.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:27 PM
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Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones. Glorifying slavery and misogyny in one fell swoop.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:27 PM
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Except the singer in Young Girl is specifically telling her to run away from him. He does admit to being tempted, but that was when he thought she was older and once he discovers she's too young, he ends it.

In the rest of the mini-opera, the girl comes back when she's of age ("Lady Willpower") and they have sex ("This Girl is a Woman Now"). But she tires of him and starts looking for other men ("Woman, Woman"). When she finally leaves, he is hurt ("Over You").
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:33 PM
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Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones. Glorifying slavery and misogyny in one fell swoop.
I think you may have the winner here, plus it hit number one!
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:58 PM
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“Short People” by Randy Newman was No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, according to Wikipedia.

It was song *against* prejudice so I’m not sure it qualifies as in bad taste, but most listeners missed the point he was making.
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Old 05-30-2019, 02:13 PM
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"Fulsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash.

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Old 05-30-2019, 03:04 PM
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Deservedly panned in the recent past, Baby it's Cold Outside deserves a mention. And what a story - after having been called for being suggestive of date rape, it made the Billboard download top ten.

It gets weirder - the Wiki page tells the story of it being suspended by radio station

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Old 05-30-2019, 03:09 PM
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Rum and Coca Cola.

Both mother and daughter are whores servicing Yankees. Just because it whooshed over the Andrew Sisters' heads doesn't make it any less offensive.

eta: and what exactly is misogynistic about the Eagles? I can't think of a single song that fits.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 05-30-2019 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:12 PM
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I think Heart's awful song All I Wanna Do is pretty tasteless. I suppose there have been women who picked up total strangers and boned them for the sole purpose of getting pregnant because their partner couldn't, but maybe lets not sing about it.
Truly words to live by. You slew me with that one!
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:22 PM
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Benny Mardones claimed that the problematic lyrics of Into the Night were totally innocent and about a neighbor he was fond of like a younger sister.

The video feels just a little different...

https://youtu.be/zWHjJt4833I


Definitely a hit. It charted in the top 20 twice.

Last edited by Loach; 05-30-2019 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:32 PM
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Some may point to Ram Jam's Black Betty, but that was of course not an original but a remake of a Leadbelly tune, plus the song lyrics mention race, but aren't racist per se.
And, though I suspect that the origins of the song are lost to history, there are a lot of theories about what "Black Betty" refers to, which have nothing to do with race (or even people) -- Wikipedia has a number of cites, suggesting that the term might be referring to a gun, a whip, a whiskey bottle, or a penitentiary wagon.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:36 PM
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Don't know if it counts as a hit, but Elvis Costello's Alison. Linda Ronstadt did a very pretty cover of it, but ISTM that murder is in bad taste.

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Old 05-30-2019, 03:44 PM
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Somewhat off-topic (thought I consider most hit songs to be in poor taste), but this reminds me of when my son was in a band. When it came to song selection, violence against kids (like Foster the People's big hit) was off-limits, but songs with spousal beating/killing were allowed.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:46 PM
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Don't know if it counts as a hit, but Elvis Costello's Alison. Linda Ronstadt did a very pretty cover of it, but ISTM that murder is in bad taste.

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For some reason I thought that was his ONLY hit, but apparently that didn't even chart and his only Top 40 hit was Veronica.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:56 PM
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First 2 that popped to mind (and I'm too lazy to look up chart positions) are Smack By Bitch Up by Prodigy and Seventeen by Winger (which I always thought was a Skid Row song for some reason).
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:04 PM
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Dr. Dre and Snoop gotta have at least one mention with Bitches Ain't Shit. But a quick look shows that they never released it as a single. No problem, Ben Folds reached the Top 100 (at 71) with his version.

Last edited by Biggirl; 05-30-2019 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:05 PM
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For some reason I thought that was his ONLY hit, but apparently that didn't even chart and his only Top 40 hit was Veronica.
Every Day I Write the Book snuck in there as well, peaking at #36 (Billboard anyway- you may be referencing Cashbox, not sure where it peaked there)
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:13 PM
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There are plenty of blues songs with similar themes (getting back at my cheating girl) but something about the audience participation on the "Boom Boom" part makes it particularly disturbing.
There are also songs about being beaten up by your cheating man, like My Man by Billie Holliday.

He's not much on looks
He's no hero out of books
But I love him
Yes, I love him

Two or three girls
Has he
That he likes as well as me
But I love him

I don't know why I should
He isn't true
He beats me, too
What can I do?
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:15 PM
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Dr. Dre and Snoop gotta have at least one mention with Bitches Ain't Shit. But a quick look shows that they never released it as a single. No problem, Ben Folds reached the Top 100 (at 71) with his version.
Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks. Lick on these nuts and suck the dick. Get the fuck out after you're done.

You could probably just say "Rap" and it's /thread.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:21 PM
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Since bad taste is relative, I'll include a really, really successful song, your taste can be the judge. Start Me Up by the Stones is another in a long line of rock and roll songs about sex. (Hi, AC/DC!) As many times as people had these lyrics pass through their brains, a little focus on the lyrics brings about another take on the song. Like when the Folksmen perform it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzkILGr2-Ok
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:26 PM
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Every Breath You Take by the Police. Their biggest hit. Lots of awards. Played at weddings and such.

Wait, what? Listen to the lyrics.

And yes, that was the intent.

(Reading that I noticed it was written on Ian Fleming's desk at Goldeneye. So that's ... weird.)
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:38 PM
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You could probably just say "Rap" and it's /thread.
Or you could say "rock" or "pop" and it would make about as much sense.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:38 PM
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First 2 that popped to mind (and I'm too lazy to look up chart positions) are Smack By Bitch Up by Prodigy and Seventeen by Winger (which I always thought was a Skid Row song for some reason).
When "Seventeen" was a hit, I had a friend who would sing that "She's only seventeen...." line as "I'm only thirty-two....." And when "Beavis & Butthead" was revived in the early '10s, the hapless Stewart still wore his Winger t-shirt, which probably had some viewers asking if Winger was really a band.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Extreme's "More Than Words" is not appropriate for weddings either. It's a dude telling his girlfriend that she's history unless she has sex with him.

I have always wondered how "Double Shot of My Baby's Love" got on the radio.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:52 PM
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Never knew the name of this song. Looking for 'orgasm song' the reference came from Exapno Mapcase in this old thread. A lot of people were up in arms at the time. The song sucked so I didn't care.
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