Sunday, August 13, 2017

Show #160 July 1, 2017

This Summer Show goes out to Christine Sixteen!

Christine Sixteen- Kiss Love Gun 
Sixteen Again- Buzzcocks Love Bites
Like A Fly- Cheap Trick We're All Alright! 
Neither Here Nor There- Sloan Alternates 
Hurt By Love- Chris Spedding The Very Best Of Chris Spedding 
Nobody Knows- Matthew Sweet Tomorrow Forever 
I'll Never Stop- Protex Strange Obsessions 
If I Were The One- The Outlets I Remember 
^You're Sixteen- Ringo Starr You're Sixteen 
16 Forever- The Dictators Every Day Is Saturday 
Stay Sixteen- The Proof It's Safe 
One Last Night- Bullet Proof Lovers Shot Through The Heart 
Follow Me- Artful Dodger s/t 7" 
Afraid to Fall- The Bobbies Supersongs 
*Sixteen- The Indelicates Sixteen 
*Sixteen- Iggy Pop Lust for Life 
*Sixteen- The Flaws Sixteen - Single 
Mermaid- Dollyrots Whiplash Splash 
She Made A Fool Of You- Moon Martin Escape From Domination 
You Have The Advantage Of Me For I Do Not Know Your Name- The Upper Crust Delusions Of Grandeur 
Sixteen's Gone- Barely Pink Last Day of Summer 
The Sixteens- The Sweet The Collection 
16 Down- Flys Flys Own 
Don't Turn This Good Heart Bad- Biters The Future Ain't What It Used to Be 
Running Start- Shoes Black Vinyl Shoes 
>Sweet Little Sixteen- Chuck Berry The Anthology 
Sweet 16- Green Day ¡Uno! 
Sweet Sixteen- Think About Life Sweet Sixteen 
Sixteen Blue- The Replacements Let It Be

^Power Pop Prototype:  #1 Billboard Hot 100 1/26/74

*SacroSet:  Sixteen Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1958

Summer gets me thinking about the past and that inspired tonight's show of "16" songs.  While "Christine Sixteen" would seem like the PERFECT dedication, my feelings about the song have changed considerably over the years.  Gene Simmons was 28 in 1977 when he wrote "Christine Sixteen" (cribbing the title from Paul Stanley) and I was 13 when I heard it for the first time.  I didn't bat an eye about the lyrics back then but now they really skeeve me out, starting with the first verse:

Gene in 1977
She's got me dizzy, she sees me through to the end
She's got me in her hands and there's no use in pretending

If that's not bad enough there's the spoken word mid-section:

I don't usually say things like this to girls your age
But when I saw you coming out of the school that day
That day I knew, I knew
I've got to have you, I've got to have you

Then he brings it home with:

She's been around, but she's young and clean

Wow.  There's nothing like having a daughter to make you think twice about things like "Christine Sixteen"
Gene Today
and I'm sure my fellow Kiss fan fathers know what I'm talking about- at least I hope to God they do.  We're all getting older so it's not really fair, but the "young and clean" line elicits an even bigger "ewwww" when I think about what Gene Simmons looks like today.  That said, you gotta give the guy points for consistency. 

To be fair, quite a few tonight's songs have a lecherous component, like Iggy's "Sixteen:"

I give you my body and soul
sweet 16

I must be hungry 'cause I go crazy
Over your leather boots

He at least acknowledges something is wrong in the final verse:

Now baby I know 
That's not normal
But I love you,
I love you
I love you, sweet 16

HA!  You know you're way over the line when Iggy Pop says "that's not normal."

Even human Teddy bear Ringo Starr's selection from tonight, "You're Sixteen" has some cringe inducing lines:

You come on like a dream, peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine 

and who could forget

You're my baby, you're my pet
We fell in love on the night we met
You touched my hand, my heart went pop
Ooh, when we kissed I could not stop

"I could not stop" WTF?!?  And those lyrics were written in 1960 when Johnny Burnette had a hit with the song.

To be fair, it's virtually impossible to separate sex from rock and roll.  At first glance tonight's Power Pop Prototype, the recently departed Chuck Berry's 1958 classic "Sweet Little Sixteen," seems to be about a chaste passion for rock and roll rather than sex with older dudes.  Berry wrote the song while on a package tour and noticed a teenage girl backstage who was insistent about getting every headliner's autograph. Berry said: "She couldn't have seen one act on the show - unless it was mine!"

Sweet Little Sixteen
She's just got to have
About a half a million
Famed autographs
Her wallet filled with pictures
She gets them one by one
Becomes so excited
Watch her, look at her run 

The song takes a turn in the last verse, however

Sweet Little Sixteen
She's got the grown-up blues
Tight dresses and lipstick
She's sportin' high heel shoes
Oh, but tomorrow morning
She'll have to change her trend
And be sweet sixteen
And back in class again

I can't help thinking about the link between the implied sex with Berry's young autograph-seeker and the actual sex involved in Cynthia Plaster Caster's work which is just a different kind of "collecting."


Not surprisingly, the punk bands have a more rebellious take on on the subject, like Buzzcocks "Sixteen Again" from their second album Love Bites:

Look at me here I am for your eyes
Mirrored proof of love's suicide
I know I never will feel quite like you
And I know you won't treat me right till I do
But at least we'll know it's true
That we're sixteen again
Oh no

And you have to love The Dictator's "16 Forever:"

I don't care if I have no financial plan
I'll never be a man, I'll be just what I am

16 forever don't you try and complicate my life
16 forever a vow I made one brokenhearted night 

The newer groups are keeping it real with the theme, like Montreal's Think About Life and their song "Sweet Sixteen:"

Sweet Sixteen and you’re on your own
And your family family kick you out of the house
Working part-time at diners, saving money for college
At least you’re passing with B's, so it’s no real tragedy

And Irish band The Flaws dial up the angst in their "Sixteen:"

Even as a boy of 16
I had this recurring kind of dream
where every night I'd feel the same pain
It happens every time I'm alone
My eyes feel dead like stone
and every night I feel the same pain

Yeesh.  The Indelicates have a more lighthearted take in their "Sixteen:"

Oh oh and we'll write funny songs about
Boys and Girls and other Boys and other Girls
This heartbreaking world where no one understands
Oh oh It'll be so funny
Oh oh it'll be so funny

This scene is the scene to be seen in
Not that the scene is what we'd be seen with
We just wanna be 16 (16) 16 (16)
Even though we're 23

For sheer rock and roll mythology though, you can't beat The Sweet's "The Sixteens:"

Where were you in '68
In '68 Julie was Johnnie's date
Two kids growin' together
Livin' each day as if time was slippin' away
Oh, they were just sixteen
And their love a teenage dream
They passed the time, they crossed the line
The line that ran between
Julie and Johnnie now you've made it

But life goes on, you know it ain't easy
You've just gotta be strong
If you're one of the sixteens
And life goes on, you know, you know it ain't easy
You know you'll never go wrong
'Cause you're all part of the sixteens

One of the first songs I thought of when putting this show together was The Replacements' "Sixteen Blue," from Let It Be.  Once again Paul Westerberg nails it- a fitting end to the show and this blog post.

Drive yourself right up the wall
No one hears and no one calls
It's a boring state
It's a useless wait, I know

Brag about things you don't understand
A girl and a woman, a boy and a man
Everything is sexually vague
Now you're wondering to yourself

If you might be gay

Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
One day, baby, maybe help you through

Drive your ma to the bank
Tell your pa you got a date
You're lying, now you're lying on your back

Try to figure out, they wonder what next you'll
You don't understand anything sexual

I don't understand
Tell my friends I'm doing fine

Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
You're looking funny
You ain't laughing, are you?
Sixteen blue

Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
You're looking funny
You ain't laughing, are you?
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue
You're mine, if you want to

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