Nine Hits from the ‘70s That Sound Totally Inappropriate Today

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of the songs you grew up enjoying? Sometimes when you examine what an artist is saying, you find meanings you never dreamed of in the songs. More often than not, the lyrics are far less innocent than they sound on the surface.

The 1970s were full of songs that wouldn’t get recorded if they had been written today. From songs that express some nasty ideas outright to tunes with more subtly creepy messages, there’s plenty to be shocked about in the hits of the ‘70s.

Here are nine songs from the ‘70s (well, one of them is from 1980) that seem completely inappropriate today. You’ll never think of the decade the same way again after this list.

9. “Walk on the Wild Side” (Lou Reed, 1972)

Lou Reed made his way through Andy Warhol’s orbit and played with the Velvet Underground, and he recorded his signature tune in London early in the ‘70s. Reed populated his song with some of the more unique people he encountered in New York City – transgender starlets, drug dealers, young hustlers. People like Holly:

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.

Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her legs and then he was a she

She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

The idea wasn’t to normalize them, like artists today would try to do; rather, Reed just sought to tell some interesting stories.

These days, some would consider the real-life characters in this song heroes, so instead of Reed’s straightforward, rather deadpan delivery, a 2018 version of “Walk on the Wild Side” would be a lecture about how these people are just like everybody else.

What would make Reed a pariah today? One phrase – “colored girls.” Those two words would keep an otherwise fascinating song off the air today if it weren’t already a classic.