I was talking with friends this weekend when the song “Back Door Man” (lyrics) came on the radio.
We then started talking about its meaning… I always thought it was a sordid tale of pedophilia. I started searching the web and came up with this, but it certainly does not qualify as a definitive explanation.
Anyone know the history of this song as it relates to the meaning?
I always took it as primarily a reference to a clandestine love affair (with possible allusions to anal sex). I never in a million years would’ve thought of pedophilia, since the only thing to suggest that is the reference to “little girls”, which, lyrically speaking, one usually conflates with “young, sexually available women” and not “pre-adolescents”.
If you got a lady and you want her gone
But you ain’t got the guts
She keeps naggin’ at you night and day
Enough to drive you nuts
Pick up the phone
Leave her alone
It’s time you made a stand
For a fee I’m happy to be
Your back-door man
From this I thought that “back door man” meant that he was supposed to sneak in throughthe back door and murder the woman, since near the end of the song he lists various means of getting rid of someone. Considering the other verses, though, I suppose him seducing her would fit the theme better. It doesn’t really make sense, though. Could someone explain the phrase in the context of the song?
When my son was about 4, he loved to listen to the radio with me, and sing along. One day we were grocery shopping and I picked up some item and remarked that it was pretty cheap. He looked at me and asked… “Is it dunder cheap?”
Took me a while to figure out exactly where he’d gotten that mangled phrase.
The ‘eat more chicken’ line may just refer to the number of lovers he’s had rather than oral sex. I understand that an earlier term for a womaniser was a ‘chicken chaser’, and the sentiment is that you can have your meal, but he’ll have his chicken!
In “blues” terminology I’ve never taken “back door man” to mean anything other than being a lady’s illicit lover. Literally sneaking the lover’s sneaking out the back door when her steady/husband comes home.
I can see where some folks might think of anal sex but pedophilia? That’s a streeeeeetch.
Chicken is a popular subject in old blues songs. There are two paths of meaning, and they sometimes cross in the same song. (Crow Black Chicken, for example.) First, chicken has been slang for women (more graphically, pussy) for a long, long time. Musicians and showbiz guys have had a reputation for coming into town and scooping up other fellas’ girlfriends. “Hide your daughters” was good advice.
The other path is the bird itself. Before the days of mass-produced Tyson and Perdue chickens, chicken was a pretty special meal. Some folks had a small flock in the backyard for eggs and the occasional meal. When you had company, you sacrificed one of your egg-layers for dinner. Some gals might cook a chicken for a sneak-around boyfriend, too.
Dozens of songs and stories have been written about stealing chickens. (Such as Nobody Here but Us Chickens) Chickens were lost to foxes, but also to hoboes and travelling musicians. Not just them, either. In the comic strip, Sherriff Tait was always busting Snuffy Smith for stealing chickens.