45 Popular Songs From the '60s, '70s, '80s & '90s That Wouldn't Fly Today

Updated on March 17, 2019
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Politically Incorrect Song Lyrics from the Past

There are plenty of popular songs from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that would be considered politically incorrect today.  They wouldn't be played on the radio or they'd be cleaned up first.
There are plenty of popular songs from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that would be considered politically incorrect today. They wouldn't be played on the radio or they'd be cleaned up first. | Source

Were We Paying Attention to Lyrics? Or, Has Our Culture Shifted That Much?

Put this in the category of "What were we thinking?" When I was growing up, there were plenty of songs that I didn't quite know the lyrics to. Plus, we didn't have the Internet.

If a tune on the radio seemed catchy, then we danced to it and tried to sing or hum along. But looking back on favorite songs of yesterday using today's lens, there were some really awful and surprising words lurking in some of those hits.

The controvery that some of them caused at the time is incomparable to what they'd receive in today's climate. Standards and values have changed such that if these songs were released now, they wouldn't receive much radio air time—at least not without creating significant pushback. Some might see the light of day due to editing for radio play.

Granted, we do have gangsta rap now. And country music has an awkward fascination with violence, drinking (with a wink to drunk driving), plus stereotypes of women as sex objects.

While those are topics for another discussion, let's take a look at examples of 1960s-90s pop, rock, and country tunes that just wouldn't fly in today's climate. These were popular songs that advocated, for example:

  • sex role stereotyping and misogyny
  • racism or intolerance towards a specific group
  • inappropriate or illegal relationships and/or
  • illegal drugs.

How many of these songs did you sing along to? Did you realize what you were singing? Do you agree or disagree that society has changed enough that we wouldn't let these songs fly today?

There's a reason why you don't hear these songs much anymore.
There's a reason why you don't hear these songs much anymore. | Source

Songs That Advocate Sex Role Stereotyping and Misogyny

1. "Under My Thumb" by The Rolling Stones

This 1966 rock song is about a couple's sexual power struggle, and at the time of its release, it was criticized by feminists for subjugating the woman like "a squirming dog." The woman only speaks when spoken to, and the narrator is allowed sexual freedom while her eyes are meant for only him.

While Jagger defended the song as a turning of the tables, the song just wouldn't fly today. While it may be a popular "throwback" tune, it is a relic from the past. Real men today don't resort to misogyny.

2. "Johnny Get Angry" by Joanie Sommers

Girl, go get yourself some counseling.

In this 1962 pop hit, it's the boyfriend who is the victim of sex role stereotyping. A young woman wants her beau to behave more like a brute. She tries to provoke the fellow into jealousy and showing her who is boss. Then she claims that every girl wants a man like that to look up to. (NO!)

Oh, Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad
Give me the biggest lecture I ever had
I want a brave man, I want a cave man
Johnny, show me that you care, really care for me.

3. "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynnette

The Queen of Country Music co-wrote this 1968 song in just 15 minutes, and it came to define her career. The song caused controversy even then with the burgeoning feminist movement, as her lyrics were perceived as encouraging women to overlook infidelity and forgive their husbands' marital transgressions. That lop-sided approach just wouldn't fly today.

You'll have bad times, and he'll have good times
Doin' things that you don't understand
But if you love him, you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand.

4. "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry

You may like this song as much as I do, but the lyrics would raise more than a few eyebrows if it were released today. The 1970 pop song describes the carefree days of summer, and it was an international best-selling hit at the time.

However, it also advocates drunk driving and treating women as sex objects, especially if they are from poor families:

Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find.
If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal
If her daddy's poor, just do what you feel.

5. "Run for Your Life" by The Beatles

To hell with peace and love. The Beatles were singing about stalking, domestic violence, and threats of murder here. In this 1965 rock song, a self-described wicked guy who was born jealous tells his girlfriend:

I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man.

He says he is giving her a sermon and is "determined." While today's songs do feature stalking and violence, this song seems much more direct. Lennon and McCartney co-wrote it, and Lennon later acknowledged it was his least favorite Beatles song. He should be embarrassed. But we do have to remember that stalking wasn't a "thing" then and it certainly wasn't against the law. Times have changed.

Readers, Weigh In

Should radio stations play controversial songs expressing support for racism/intolerance, misogyny, illegal/inappropriate relationships, and drugs?

See results

6. "Getting Better" by The Beatles

The lyrics in this 1967 Beatles song would create a lot of heat today because they seem to normalize domestic violence against women:

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man, I was mean, but I'm changing my scene
And I'm doing the best that I can (ooh).

Lennon later admitted in interviews that this part of the song was autobiographical. He abused women he had relationships with and regretted it.

You Heard It Right

Oh, yes, you heard right.  Some of these songs denigrate short people, Arabs, Native Americans, African Americans, gays, people of mixed race, and other minorities.  Are we more tolerant today?
Oh, yes, you heard right. Some of these songs denigrate short people, Arabs, Native Americans, African Americans, gays, people of mixed race, and other minorities. Are we more tolerant today? | Source

Songs That Express Racism or Intolerance

7. "Your Squaw is On the Warpath" by Loretta Lynn

Today we handwring over whether to use the term "Native American" or "American Indian." There have also been significant movements to change sports team mascots that are said to perpetuate negative stereotypes of indegeous people of America.

However, such cultural sensitivity didn't exist in 1969 when this country song was released. Can you image the reaction if it were released today?

The song is about a woman whose "big brave chief" of a husband was out too late drinking "firewater." The self-described "squaw" warns him to "get off my huntin' grounds" and complains:

Well, you leave me at home to keep the teepee clean
Six papooses to break and when wean
Well ,your squaw is on the warpath tonight.

8 "I'm an Indian Outlaw" by Tim McGraw

This 1994 song is just plain ridiculous, and I'm betting Tim McGraw looks back and cringes a little at his first Top 40 hit. Complete with tom-tom drums, the song describes a rebellious Native American who is painted in cliches, from his wigwam to his peace pipe to his buffalo briefs. There is no way this over-the-top song would fly these days.

9. "Ahab the Arab" by Ray Stevens

Although released as a 1962 novelty song (a song intended as comedy), it became a Top 40 hit. Just try playing this song today on the radio or out loud. Given the political climate and cultural changes, it won't get the same reaction, particularly since Ray Stevens actually mocks the Arabic language. (Never do that.) He also refers to his character as an "Ay-rab" to rhyme with "Ahab."

Full of cliches, the song describes a camel-riding, wealthy sheik who meets up with a sultan and his harem. This is one of the most politically incorrect songs ever.

10. "Short People" by Randy Newman

Why pick on the vertically challenged? It's just so unnecessary.

The pop song caused controversy when it was released in 1977, but can you imagine today? These days we stipulate under the Americans with Disability Act that individuals who are 4'10" or less can be regarded as having a disability.

But this joke of a song took a different stance, saying that people of short stature didn't deserve to live! It also poked fun at them in other awful ways:

They got little hands
Little eyes
They walk around
Tellin' great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes
On their nasty little feet.

11. "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones

One of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, this 1971 classic rock song was at least partially inspired by an African American actress who became the mother of one of Mick Jagger's children. The song features so many taboo subjects, including forced sex with an underage slave girl, that Jagger said that he would censor himself today.

You may not have known the lyrics then, but here they are.  They wouldn't fly today.
You may not have known the lyrics then, but here they are. They wouldn't fly today. | Source

12. "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash

Today we take a harder stance against deadbeat dads, bullying, and insinuated gay shaming, but in 1969, it was a different world.

This classic country song is about a boy whose father left him when he was three. The only thing his deadbeat dad gave him was the effeminate-sounding name, "Sue." The child was teased mercilessly for it growing up.

As an adult, a life-hardened Sue is determined to find his father and kill him in revenge. However, upon finding his old man, he is surprised to learn that there was a reason for his "sissy" name. The father figured that with a name like Sue, the boy with no dad would teach himself to fight.

13. "One in a Million" by Guns 'N Roses

What was Axl Rose smoking when he wrote this? Why wouldn't he respect the opinion of his fellow bandmate, Slash (whose mother is half-black), and think twice about releasing this song?

The 1988 rock song describes Axl Rose's experience getting hustled at a Greyhound bus station when he first came to Los Angeles. In the lyrics, the following groups are denigrated:

  • the police
  • black people (and he uses the "n" word)
  • immigrants and
  • gays (calling them "f*ggots").

As you might expect, the song caused controversy at the time. Today, the reaction would be significantly worse.

14. "Half Breed" by Cher

Although a number one pop hit for Cher in 1973, Native Americans didn't like it even then. The song describes the cultural ostracism experienced by a woman of half-Caucasian and half-Cherokee descent.

When the song came out, Cher suddenly remembered that she was one-sixteenth Cherokee on her mother's side. (Does that make the song okay?)

The term "half-breed" is now considered pejorative and racist. "Multicultural" or "mixed" are examples of more accepted terms today. I'm convinced a song like this just wouldn't fly today.

15. "China Girl" by David Bowie

These days "China girls" are "Asian women," and it's inappropriate to refer to any woman as a little girl.

This international rock hit from 1983 is about a relationship between the narrator and his Asian girlfriend. It expresses concern that he may negatively influence her culture and identity:

My little China girl
You shouldn't mess with me
I'll ruin everything you are
I'll give you television
I'll give you eyes of blue
I'll give you man who wants to rule the world.

16. "Kung Foo Fighting" by Carl Douglas

This catchy tune from 1974 was never intended to be the international hit it turned out to be. It was recorded in two takes as a vinyl "side B." Perhaps you regard it as only mildly cringeworthy with its references to "funky China men from funky Chinatown" and "funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung."

But consider this: In 2011, a British man was arrested for singing it with his band after a complaint was racial abuse complaint was filed by a man of Asian descent who heard the song!

17. "Island Girl" by Elton John

In 1975, this rock song was a chart topper. But it reeks of racism that wouldn't sit so pretty in today's world. It's about a Jamaican woman, "black as coal," who works as a prostitute in Manhattan. A "black boy" is trying to take her back to the island and asks, "What you wanting with the white man's world?" This wouldn't fly today.

18. "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits

Based on a real conversation with a guy in an appliance store, this 1985 rock song raises more than a few eyebrows. It's about a guy who is watching M.T.V.

He provides color commentary about the musician "banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee" while there's a woman "stickin' in the camera; man we could have some fun."

He further described the singer in homophobic terms:

See the little f*ggot with the earring and the makeup?
Yeah, buddy that's his own hair
That little f*ggot got his own jet airplane
That little f*ggot he's a millionaire.

In 2011, Canadian radio banned the original, unedited version of the song from radio play on account of its anti-gay namecalling.

We used to give a wink and a nod  to inappropriate relationships, but the attitudes have shifted.
We used to give a wink and a nod to inappropriate relationships, but the attitudes have shifted. | Source

Songs That Advocate Inappropriate or Illegal Relationships

19. "Hot Child in the City" by Nick Gilder

A chart-topper in several countries, this 1978 pop song might sound catchy and innocent, but it's about underage prostitution. That "hot child in the city" is a teenage runaway:

Danger in the shape of something wild,
Stranger dressed in black, she's a hungry child.
No one knows who she is or what her name is.
I don't know where she came from or what her game is.

Would we allow the song to be played today on radio stations, or would there be significant uproar? The song made Nick Gilder a one-hit wonder.

20. "You're Sixteen" by Ringo Starr

This is a 1973 remake of a 1960 rock hit. Out of fairness, we don't know what age the guy is, although he is allowed to drive: "You walked out of my dreams, and into my car."

However, the narrator seems overly fascinated with the fact that his girlfriend is so young and tender you can stick a fork in her:

You're all ribbons and curls, ooh, what a girl
Eyes that sparkle and shine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine.

21. "War Is Hell (On the Homefront Too)" by T.G. Shepard

Ew, just ew.

In this 1982 country song, it's 1942, and the men are off fighting World War II. Meanwhile, the women were sitting at home allegedly bored and horny. (Really?)

A teenage boy delivers a married woman's groceries when he is pressed into service for his country, if you know what I mean:

War is hell on the homefront, too
God only knows what a woman goes through
She still needs what a man that's gone can't do
I can't fight this fire alone stay with me until it's gone
Oh, war is hell on the homefront, too.

22. "Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen

A true Queen classic, this rock song from 1978 features a narrator who developed a love for fat-bottomed ladies as a result of sexual abuse many years prior.

If you're like me and love the song because you grew up on it, I get that. But let these lyrics sink in for a minute:

But I knew love before I left my nursery
Left alone with big fat Fanny
She was such a naughty nanny
Heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me.

23. "Hot for Teacher" by VanHalen

These days, the lusty schoolboy sentiments expressed in this 1984 rock song are considered just plain icky, not to mention illegal.

Context is everything, however. The song was before the Mary Kay Letourneau legal case and the subsequent rash of other teacher/student relationships. (What's wrong with people abusing their power like that?)

In this 1980s Van Halen song, however, it wasn't a pervy, totally gross subject yet:

Ow got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
I'm hot for teacher.

24. "Don't Stand so Close to Me" by The Police

It's songs like this 1980 pop hit that Gen X parents have playing in the back of their minds when they send their kids off to high school. A schoolgirl and teacher twice her age cross a dangerous line by having an illegal and inappropriate affair.

There is longing, frustration, temptation, and confrontation by superiors. He tells his student not to stand so close to him so as not to arouse further suspicion and his desires. Behavior like this now would land him on the 6 o'clock news in handcuffs. The song simply wouldn't fly today.

25. "Go Away Little Girl" by Donny Osmond

Unique for making the American Top 20 three times by different artists, this 1971 pop tune no doubt creates different reactions in a modern world. It's about a man who is in a committed relationship, but he is very attracted to a younger (we'll say) woman.

Rather than taking personal responsibility—because he is the adult in the situation—he tells her to leave because she's too hard to resist:

Go away, little girl
I'm not supposed to be alone with you
Oh, yes, I know that your lips are sweet
But our lips must never meet
I belong to somebody else and I must be true.

Relax, she's just smoking cigarettes.
Relax, she's just smoking cigarettes. | Source

Songs That Glorify Drugs

26. "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton

Today's songs about illegal drugs seem to be less obvious, sanitized for radio, or don't glorify drugs (e.g., "Took a Pill in Ibiza" or "Gorilla"). Not this 1977 rock classic. It's right out there:

If you want to hang out, you've gotta take her out, cocaine
If you want to get down, get down on the ground, cocaine
She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie,

Ironically, Eric Clapton claimed that the song actually has an anti-drug message. Would a radio play this song today?

27. "Heroin" by The Velvet Underground

Although this band later denied that the song advocated heroin, this 1967 rock tune seems to speak for itself. It describes the elation of putting a needle into one's vein and not caring about the ruinous and potentially deadly consequences. It is one of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Those old songs lyrics are head-scratching.  But then again, the lyrics of some newer songs are head-scatching, too.
Those old songs lyrics are head-scratching. But then again, the lyrics of some newer songs are head-scatching, too. | Source

Even More Songs from the Past That Would Be Considered Politically Incorrect Today

Song & Year Released
Lyrics That Would Not Fly Today
28. Lola (1970)
The Kinks
"Well I left home just a week before / And I'd never ever kissed a woman before / But Lola smiled and took me by the hand / And said, "Dear boy, I'm gonna make you a man."
29. Smokin' in the Boys' Room (1985)
Mötley Crüe
"Smokin' in the boys room / Teacher don't you fill me up with your rules / Everybody knows that smokin' ain't allowed in school."
30. Cradle of Love (1990)
Billy Idol
It burned like a ball of fire / When the rebel took a little child bride / To tease yeah, so go easy yeah."
31. Fire (1978)
The Pointer Sisters
"You're pullin' me close I just say 'no' / I say I don't like it / But you know I'm a liar / 'Cause when we kiss/ Ooooh, fire."
32. Father Figure (1987)
George Michael
"That's all I wanted / But sometimes love can be mistaken / For a crime."
33. Young Girl (1968)
Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
"Young girl, get out of my mind / My love for you is way out of line / Better run, girl / You're much too young, girl / With all the charms of a woman / You've kept the secret of your youth / You led me to believe you're old enough / To give me love / And now it hurts to know the truth"
34. My Sharona (1979)
The Knack
"Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind / I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind"
35. Johnny, Are You Queer? (1981)
Josie Cotton
"Why are you so weird, boy? / Johnny are you queer, boy? / When I make a play / You're pushing me away / Johnny are you queer?"
36. Cat Scratch Fever (1977)
Ted Nugent
"The first time that I got it / I was just 10 years old / I got it from some kitty next door / I went and see the doctor and he gave me the cure / I think I got it some more."
37. They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! (1966)
Napeleon XIV
"And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa / They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa / To the funny farm / Where life is beautiful all the time."
38. Hot Legs (1977)
Rod Stewart
Hot legs, bring your mother too. ... / 17 years old, he's trudging 64. You got legs right up to your neck. You're makin' me a physical wreck.
39. He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss) (1962)
The Crystals
Yes, he hit me / And it felt like a kiss / He hit me / And I knew I loved him
40. If You Wanna Be Happy (1963)
Jimmy Soul
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life / Never make a pretty woman your wife / So for my personal point of view / Get an ugly girl to marry you
41. Baby, It's Cold Outside (1964)
Al Hirt & Ann-Margaret
Beautiful, please don't hurry / (Well maybe just half a drink) / Put some records on while I pour / (The neighbors might think) / Baby it's bad out there / (Say what's in this drink)
42. Hey, Joe (1966)
Jimi Hendrix
Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand? / Alright. / I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady / You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
43. Stray Cat Blues (1968)
The Rolling Stones
I can see that you're 15 years old / No, I don't want your I.D. / And I've seen that you're so far from home / But it's no hanging matter / It's no capital crime
44. Christine Sixteen (1977)
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 (Christine sixteen) / I've got to have you, I've got to have you
45. Turning Japanese (1980)
The Vapors
You've got me turning up and turning down, I'm turning in, I'm turning 'round / I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so
Do you know of a hit song from the 1960s-90s with lyrics that we'd find politically incorrect today? Leave a suggestion in the Comments Section below.
What music do you listen to?  Have you paid attention to the lyrics?
What music do you listen to? Have you paid attention to the lyrics? | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 FlourishAnyway


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      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        3 months ago

        Yes, do. Of course you could write a book about popular songs that wouldn't have flown a generation earlier.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        3 months ago from USA

        Gypsy98716 - I can see where you get that. Maybe I should do a creepy songs from the 2000s and beyond playlist. That would make the list! Thanks for leaving a comment. Have a great weekend!

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Most of these songs have never offended me in the least bit. However, I've always found something to be creepy about the All American rejects song Dirty Little Secret. The lyrics "I'll keep you my dirty little secret. Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret." have always seemed gross to me

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        3 months ago

        It was a more innocent time, 1944. At the time everyone smoked and adults drank the hard stuff.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        3 months ago from USA

        Bob - I added "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to the list. I recall the first time I heard it I couldn't believe it was a Christmas song. I didn't catch the part yet about the what's in this drink. I thought it was funny that a holiday song would feature a woman asking for one more cigarette before going out into the winter storm. Seemed funny to me. I think we have Bill Cosby to thank for a lot of the hub-bub now.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        3 months ago

        Thank you. This season "Baby it's Cold Outside" has come under fire. It would be interesting to see which songs would be judged inappropriate a generation from now.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        3 months ago from USA

        Bob - The sinking feeling is right. I liked your description.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        3 months ago

        I can picture a manager telling a producer how it's a song about prejudice on both sides. I can see the producer buying it. Then the performer comes on stage with that getup and the producer immediately getting a sinking feeling.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        3 months ago from USA

        bebe - I understand the lyrics and your point, but I'm not sure we'd get by singing about about "half-breeds" today from any point of view. Cher came under scrutiny even then because her claims of American Indian ancestry didn't seem to hold water and she seemed to be using it as an excuse to advance this song. With genetic testing and the greater political awareness regarding native people today, this song would be career suicide. Look at the various singers, for example, who are slammed for cultural appropriation nowadays. I don't think we couldn't get by with it.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Actually the whole point of "Half Breed" is that it's an offensive term being directed at her.

        Half-breed, that's all I ever heard

        Half-breed, how I learned to hate the word

        Half-breed, she's no good they warned

        Both sides were against me since the day I was born

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        6 months ago from USA

        Zach - Thanks for your comment. He says he's getting better, but he still hasn't completely put it in his past and even mentions that it can't get any worse.

      • profile image

        Zach Peardon 

        6 months ago

        “Getting Better”, by The Beatles is about regret towards abusing women, that seems like a good thing rather than bad, the song’s title even implies that you are a better person if you either don’t or at least stop abusing wives and girlfriends, it seems to go against domestic abuse rather than for it, to me anyways...

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        10 months ago

        You're welcome. I enjoy how you group the oldies together by theme.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        10 months ago from USA

        Bob - I've considered it but haven't done so yet. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        10 months ago

        The chorus of Short People shows it as a song about prejudice.

        Have you written a list of songs about prejudice?

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        10 months ago from USA

        John - My siblings and I used to sing that to my mother, who is short. She has a sense of humor thankfully.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        10 months ago from USA

        Bob - It very well might. People are sensitive!

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        10 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Wow, Flourish what a great selection of politically incorrect songs. However, you could have listed hundreds here. The first one that came to mind to me when I read your title was "Short People" by Randy Newman. Glad you included it. I always used to listen to a catchy tune without thinking too much about the lyrics , I must admit. Great job.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        10 months ago

        In some cases it's good they don't make songs like these today. In other cases it shows how hypersensitive folks are today. "In the ghetto", is a song meant to bring attention to the cycle of poverty and where it leads. I wonder if the song today would be blasted for using stereotypes.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        10 months ago from USA

        Bob - Thanks for the suggestion. I've added it as #37.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        10 months ago

        What about the song that was pulled from the airwaves at the height of its popularity? "They're Coming to Take Me Away!"

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        13 months ago from USA

        E. - Thanks for noticing the typo. I made the change. Have a nice day.

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        Heroin is not from 1984. It was recorded in 1966 and released in 1967.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        19 months ago from USA

        Chriswillman90 - No, not bad. I love many of these songs myself and just never stopped to consider what I was singing. Of course, other songs were controversial even in their day but would be absolute no-go's these days. It's hard to unlove the music you grew up on, even if you tried.

      • Chriswillman90 profile image

        Krzysztof Willman 

        19 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

        Is it bad that I have some of these on my playlist. What's interesting though is the meanings behind a lot of these songs, often I wouldn't think twice when listening to them. Great list.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Ann - Oh, the tv series! Can you imagine Archie Bunker these days? Sheesh. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Anyway, all the best, Flourish

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        20 months ago from SW England

        There are quite a few here that I don't know but lots that I do, some of them favourites of mine! It's true they got away with lots of 'inappropriate' wording though I do think some of them were tongue in cheek (still a bit dodgy though!). The same applies to television series - I watched one the other day that just wouldn't be allowed to make the studios these days. I guess we put it all down to experience.

        Great choices here, Flourish. You always deliver with this series and your research is superb.


      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Linda - You're right. There are a lot of songs from childhood that would merit a double take. My daughter really made me think about it. One of the worst offenders, for example, is the tune that often plays from ice cream trucks, a supposedly innocent little song that if you knew the lyrics of would make you a little aghast. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a remark.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is an interesting article, Flourish. You've got me thinking about the songs that I liked when I was a teen. I loved some of the tunes without understanding or listening to the lyrics properly. I suspect that some of my favourite songs wouldn't be acceptable today.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Genna - Yes, times really do change, don't they? I'm a fan of many of these songs but once you look at the lyrics, you go, "Wait, what?" I've wanted to do this one for a long time. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

        What a great title! I was thinking about this the other day while listening to Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Sure, there are songs that will always be timeless, but many others that would be considered corny, “lame,” inappropriate, waaay out-of-style, or politically incorrect -- especially today. Excellent list. The standout for me is "Stand By Your Man." I've always loved the musicality of that song, but did a bit of an eye roll at some of the lyrics.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Devika - Glad you enjoyed this. Many times the music is so fast or there is a regional or international accent and people don't listen to the words or think about their meaning. Have a terrific weekend.

      • profile image


        20 months ago

        Music is a great part of my life. I listen to the words and the tunes and will continue listening no matter what the words are. You have mentioned songs I had no idea of. A welcoming list!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Jo - I love the song even though it's very old fashioned. There's also a song that is similar, "I'm a Stand Your Woman Man." I liked that too. I'm glad Tammy's song brought back good memories. Have a wonderful Fourth!

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 

        20 months ago from Tennessee

        Years ago when I was living in Nashville, I would often go to a little cafe with my fiance where we'd here Tammy Wynette singing 'Stand By Your Man.' It was a very Nashville thing. I married that guy. Then the health department closed down the cafe and I divorced the guy. Still have good memories, though, of that little cafe with Tammy Wynette singing 'Stand By Your Man.'

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from USA

        Larry - Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        20 months ago from Oklahoma

        Great idea for a list:-)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Rasma - They're mostly really catchy songs and I still can't help but like the majority of them regardless because I grew up on them. (I'm not a Beatles fan anyway. Just really never bought into John Lennon.) Thanks for the kind kudos. Have a great week.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Heidi - You're right. The good old days were nearly as all peace and love as we like to remember them! Have a great week!

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        21 months ago from Riga, Latvia

        One really awesome hub. I do agree with most of the songs with inappropriate lyrics still lyrics aside there are some favorites that I just love for the music itself. Didn't realize there were so many and lots that I didn't even recognize.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Catherine - You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I recall when "Short People" came out (jeepers, that was awhile ago). My family lovingly teased my mother, who is very short like her mother and grandmother. The rest of us are all tall folks.

      • CatherineGiordano profile image

        Catherine Giordano 

        21 months ago from Orlando Florida

        Wow! You have outdone yourself with this one. I sang and danced and loved to these songs and never even noticed how inappropriate the lyrics were. To be fair, a few of the songs (like Short People) may have been satirical or meant to reflect our norms to show them up. But, yes, most of them were just plain out of bounds. Thanks for writing this. It is an eye-opener.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        21 months ago from Chicago Area

        Yep, even though some of these songs are iconic and fixtures in our popular culture, they do often glorify the seedy side of life. I just take them as a sign of the times the artists (and we) were living in.

        If given enough time, I'm sure we could find a ton to add to this list. I'd add Steve Miller Band's "The Joker."

        The good old days weren't that good, eh? :)

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        MsDora - What made me write this was a discussion with my 17 year-old daughter about changing standards in music and culture over the decades and what was deemed acceptable then vs. now. I offered up some examples and let her listen to them then asked her reaction. She was horrified at some of the songs and wanted to know what kind of woman-hating, racist, short-people hating people people were back then to think all this was okay. It was a very interesting discussion, but the positive is that it gave me HOPE for the future. Young people these days are very open, loving, and accepting of differences.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Kallini - I bet you're not alone. I have a feeling that there are others who share your perspective. It's important to get varying points of view, so thank you for speaking up.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        21 months ago from The Caribbean

        You said "popular", so I counted. I recognize only one. Well, I didn't always have a radio, and it seems I spent most of my time in church. Still, I appreciate your research and I do learn through your articles. Thanks.

      • profile image

        Tamara Moore 

        21 months ago

        Yes, 'Under My Thumb' is definitely a good one to have here, as well as all the rest. Due to the rhythm and beat of some of these songs, it is easy for vulnerable teenagers (or, anyone) to glorify what these songs are actually saying. "If the beat is cool, then the words must be the truth"... I really do wish there was more censorship put on some of these songs, especially the Drug Songs, and such. Many will not like what I have just said, but I stick by it nonetheless.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Mattie - Thanks so much for your comment. We've changed substantially as a culture in the last several decades and still have a way to go towards equality.

      • MartieCoetser profile image

        Martie Coetser 

        21 months ago from South Africa

        Many of these songs were my favorites. I seldom if ever took the lyrics to heart. The melody and rhythm were all that counted in my naive mind.

        Mankind did grow since the 50's. At least all decent, well-bred people no longer tolerate discrimination of any kind.

        Thanks for this eye-opening playlist, Flourish!

      • kallini2010 profile image


        21 months ago from Toronto, Canada

        Hello Flourish:

        I believe that political correctness solves as many problems as it creates. Renaming a thing is not equivalent to eliminating it. The Arab song - sorry, it made me laugh because it makes the singer looks stupid and ignorant (still funny!) It just shows that he knows nothing, NOTHING about the Arab world, their culture and heritage. That it was the Arab World that preserved and carried culture between the Roman Empire and Renaissance.

        We may be politically correct outside of home, but inside we feel deep mistrust and fear towards Arabs/Muslims. We know nothing and not even trying to learn anything because we know all we have to know - Arabs/Muslims are terrorists. That's all they are. All of them.

        The same thing with "half-breed". It doesn't matter what kind of mix you are. If you are half-black, you are rejected by both sides - for blacks, you are not black enough, for whites you are just plain black.

        Which is also misleading - most blacks are not blacks, they are browns. So, the majority of whites are not white. People are always have this colour confusion. There women with nice light brown skin (which I love!) call themselves black and I always think - I'd love to have that complexion, not my pasty "white".

        I always thought that wars were incomprehensible and counterproductive. I don't understand what took me so long to finally get it - wars are deeply human, they are as human as it gets. That is our nature.

        I believe songs simply reflect culture by voicing sentiments and opinions. Maybe it's not such a bad thing to hear them being said out loud so that at least the conversation can be started about what's wrong and how wrong it is.

        It's the same phenomenon with the church - religion tells people what they should be instead of trying to understand what they really are. Instead of trying to cure a disease, we'd call it another name and pat ourselves on the back - problem solved. Besides, our brains get quickly adjusted to double standards - we know where we should call people to have mental disabilities and where and when we can call them just plain crazy. And we do because we "know" - it's the same thing.

        In short, we always try to blame the mirror for our ugly mugs.

        I found your hub very illuminating. I'm glad those songs exist. Plus it made me think that there is a certain overlap between political correctness and propaganda - they both tell/prescribe us what to think.

        Now I feel that'll be in the weird minority of one. Again.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Bill - We've dfinitely changed as a culture. Our music is a good time capsule for that. Have a great week!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        21 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Oh, I think most definitely, our culture has shifted considerably since these songs came out. I can think of many things we said back in the 50's and 60's that would never be uttered today....it is interesting for sure. Great hub!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Linda - Absolutely. I added My Sharona; thank you for the suggestion. The whole stalking song genre seemed to have started strong with that and Every Breath You Take and it's still going gangbusters today.

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        John - I'm right there with you. We do have the excuse though that there was no Internet, so the lyrics were often a guess back then. I don't know what excuse we use now. I've never heard of that Jimmy Buffet song. Some of his stuff is so inappropriate, but this one might take the cake. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        21 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Wow! Flourish, I feel so guilty now. Some of these were among my favourite songs at one time or another. I didn't even think about the words as being inappropriate.

        I just thought of another very inappropriate one: "Please Take Your Drunken 15 Year Old Girlfriend Home" by Jimmy Buffet.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        21 months ago from Washington State, USA

        The problem is that sometimes the tune is pretty catchy, it has a good beat, etc. But you're absolutely right--on so many of these the lyrics are horrible and never should have been okay. (Of course you could add a lot of today's rap music to this hub, that that's just too obvious, isn't it.)

        What about adding "Private Eyes" (Hall and Oates), and/or "My Sharona" (The Knack) to the list?

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Stevarino - Great addition of a real 60s classic! It would never fly today. Of course, as a mother of a teen daughter today, I am horrified at the lyrics. However, putting it in historical context ... I'm still wondering how we ever thought it was okay. Times do change. I openly admit that I have certainly sung along to that catchy song and others like it and never thought much at all about the lyrics. Thanks so much for putting on your thinking cap and offering this one up! Have a great week!

      • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR


        21 months ago from USA

        Galaxy Rat - Thanks for weighing in. You're right that kids often do listen to the radio and what music their parents are listening to even if they don't understand the words.

      • stevarino profile image

        Steve Dowell 

        21 months ago from East Central Indiana

        How odd! For some reason, this tune was on my mind when I woke up this morning and I was wondering why I hadn't heard it in years. I then thought how inappropriate the lyrics would be in this day and age which was probably why it hadn't been aired in quite a long time.

        Young Girl - Gary Puckett and The Union Gap

        Thanks for the fun!

      • profile image


        21 months ago

        I think they shouldn't play songs like this. Well, kids could be listening. Maybe only paid radio. Nice Hub, Flourish; I enjoyed it!


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