Rock/pop songs with now-dated references

ex: I Love Rock & Roll by Joan Jett: “I love rock & roll/put another dime in the jukebox baby!”

When’s the last time a song on the jukebox cost a dime? In fact, when’s the last time you saw a jukebox?
And just to clarify, this topic is about songs from your personal life that now have dated references. Of course “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Irving Berlin (just an arbitrary example) has lots of dated references, but I doubt that any of the Teeming Millions were alive & cognizant when it was originally popular.

Also I would discount such songs like Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that name-checks nostalgic references. I’m more interested in song lyrics that reflected contemporary behavior at the time it was recorded, that has since become passe.

Fascist Groove Thang, by Heaven 17.

Jim Croce’s *Operator * has a lyric “you can keep the dime” talking about the dime he put into the pay phone. I don’t remember when pay phones were a dime, and it’s hard to even find a pay phone now. Hell even having the operator help you with the call isn’t done any more is it?

Croce’s music has a lot of references that are out dated, that’s the one that sticks out the most to me.

There are plenty of bars around here that have jukeboxes. They’re still popular with the beer-and-pool-playing crowd.

DARLINGTON COUNTY by Bruce Springsteen

On the album Born in the USA, he sings
“Our pa’s each own one of the World Trade Centers, for a kiss and a smile I’d give mine all to you.”

I have thought about this line ever since. How does Bruce sing it in concert? Does he skip the line, not do the song, or what?

My Baby Wrote Me a Letter

Writing letters and “ain’t got time to take a fast train” - hell, can’t even find a fast train unless you’re on the East Coast.


Certainly one of the prime examples of this is the Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” I imagine a lot of kids nowadays don’t even know what the U.S.S.R. was, and wonder why they’re singing about Ukraine and Georgia as if they’re part of the same country. Also, there’s the reference to BOAC.

There’s George Harrison’s Taxman:

Don’t ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
If you don’t want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister Heath)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Escape Club “Wild Wild West”

Headed for the ‘90s
Livin’ in the '80s

Of course, the references to George Wallace & Watergate in “Sweet Home Alabama” count.

Dead Kennedy’s California Uber Alles:

I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles
And never frowns
Soon I will be president…

Carter Power will soon go away
I will be Fuhrer one day
I will command all of you
Your kids will meditate in school
Your kids will meditate in school!

Or Just about anything else by them really. their songs seem so locked into the 80’s from whence they came.

In “Wonderful World,” when Sam Cookie sang “I don’t know what a slide rule is for,” he was implying that he was dumb and uneducated and didn’t know anything about math.

Today? Even the brainiest math student probably doesn’t know what a slide rule is for, either!

Stray Cats, Storm The Embassy: Fifty men taken captive in a hostile foreign land / Scorchin’ sun beaming down onto miles and miles of sand / A mideast country being ruled / By a man who thinks it’s fun / To hold our people in return / For a Shah that’s on the run . . .

Even when I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll was a hit, it cost more than a dime for a jukebox. :slight_smile: I recall it was at least 25¢ at the cheapest one I knew of.

The refence to dime is so common because it’s easy to rhyme with time. And not a lot else does.

Do people still Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side? Or are you know able to pass it however you like :slight_smile:

Faith No More’s “We Care A Lot” (perhaps better know nowadays as the ‘Dirty Jobs’ theme) should count, as it name checks Live-Aid, Garbage Pail Kids, Transformers etc, as contemporary items/events, and not nostalgic references.

Well, OK, what about Killing Joke’s “Eighties”?
No? Well, OK, what about Yaz “Goodbye '70s”
No? Well, OK, what about the Ramones “The end of the Century” - it’s the end, the end of the 70s
Hmm, there seemed to be a rush back then to forget the 70s…

Shawn Colvin (of “Sunny Came Home” fame) had a song on the same album called “New Thing Now” in which she sings that someone is “Equal parts Butt-Head and Peter Pan”.

First thing I thought when I heard it was “That line ain’t gonna age well”.

No one parties like it’s 1999 anymore.

“Let’s all meet up in the year 2000…” (Disco 2000, by Pulp)

Ah, but the SCA does still party like it is 1699 :smiley:

Pretty much all of Switchboard Susan by Nick Lowe. Still great, though…

I was just thinking about this one the other day when I heard it on the radio and it struck me what a specific reference it was. This bit from Let’s Push Things Forward by The Streets was pretty outdated even when it was released in 2002:

AltaVista was the search engine during the late 1990s but was already pretty much totally eclipsed by Google by that point. Does anyone still use it?