6 Classic Songs That Seem Really Inappropriate (and Kind of Creepy) Today

When you’re scanning the radio for a good song, there are usually some stations that are bound to deliver no matter what. Now that I’m no longer in the demographic to care too much for the “hot new hits,” I am sad to say that the classics station is generally a nice place to settle into on long drives. And that is because some bands stand the test of time. Their music is just as enjoyable and relevant as it was when it first hit the charts several decades ago.

You know the tried and true go-tos: The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen — the list just goes on.

Have you ever taken a moment, though, to really pay attention to the lyrics that you’re singing in all of those old songs? I did recently and realized that they aren’t all so…appropriate. Here are some classic songs that most likely wouldn’t get made today. (Or at the very least, they wouldn’t become the successes that they were all those years ago.) And sadly, The Beatles show up on this list more than anyone else.

6. Girl — The Beatles

We’ll start out with a pretty tame example. The main lyrics of this song are pretty straightforward. Nothing to see here. But toward the end of the song, there is this pretty, upbeat harmonizing in the background. It probably sounded like “dit dit dit dit dit dit” to you. Well, that’s not quite right.
In an interview with Barry Miles for his book Many Years From Now, Paul McCartney revealed that the band often tried to sneak in dirty words wherever they could to see if they could get away with it. In this case, those words you hear in the background are actually “tit tit tit tit…” He told Miles: “It was always amusing to see if we could get a naughty word on the record: ‘fish and finger pie’, ‘prick teaser’, ‘tit tit tit tit’…If we could put in something that was a little bit subversive then we would.”

5. Money for Nothing — Dire Straits

I remember hearing the lyrics — really hearing them — in this song just a few years ago and I cringed. The crazy thing is that I did a dance to this in my kindergarten talent show and no one batted an eye. Now, it wouldn’t be allowed to play within blocks of an elementary school. If you still can’t figure out why, sing this part of the song to yourself:

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot, he’s a millionaire

4. Brown Sugar — The Rolling Stones

This one is all sorts of cringe-worthy. Yes, they’re singing about slaves. The levels of racism and misogyny in this song are staggering. It’s incredible that The Stones ever thought it would be ok to sing about this. What’s worse is that the public actually embraced it.

Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right
Hear him whip the women just around midnight
Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good
Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should

3. I Saw Her Standing There — The Beatles

Obviously The Beatles weren’t old when they sang this, but they also weren’t kids. If ever there were a creepy old man anthem, then this is it. We know what you mean, guys. She’s too young for you. She’s a minor. Please move on to someone you can legally date…

Well she was just seventeen
You know what I mean
And the way she looked
Was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another,
Oh, when I saw her standing there

2. China Girl — David Bowie

Just the fact that he calls her his “China girl” is bad enough. And don’t even get me started on the possessive nature of this “relationship.” But it wasn’t until recently that I took a closer look at the other words in this song. Should she “mess” with him, he’s basically threatening to destroy her. Oh, how romantic.

I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the whites of my eyes
My little China girl
You shouldn’t mess with me
I’ll ruin everything you are

1. Run for Your Life — The Beatles

This song has bothered me for quite some time. First, he calls her “little girl.” Nice way to refer to your (presumably) adult girlfriend. Then, if she dares to wander away from him, he will kill her. Yes, that is essentially what this song is saying. There’s no sugar-coating it or making excuses for it. It’s incredibly creepy and scary, and it is disturbing that a band as beloved as The Beatles would ever come up with something like this.

Well, I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won’t know where I am
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand, little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end’a little girl
Are they any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.