Steve Albini and Big Black titled their final album Songs About Fucking. It was, in part, a tongue-in-cheek move, but a case could be made that every song — especially since the advent of rock 'n' roll (the term originated as a euphemism for fucking) is basically about sex. Rickie Lee Jones recently argued on my Facebook page with a lesser-known friend who insisted Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" is about a one-night stand.
No songs that can possibly be misconstrued as love songs are included here, though. Nope. Only songs about wild, animalistic sex. During research, however, it became clear that such a list would have to transcend just fucking, since there are almost as many songs about (or suggesting) masturbation in rock music as there are ones about coupling. It was once upon a time a music as much about (and for nerds) as it was for "cool people," after all, and created by androgynous guys simulating jacking off with noisemaking phallic symbols onstage while making "O!-faces," as Mike Judge described it in Office Space.
Songs less than serious (Tenacious D's "Fuck Her Gently," for instance) were ineligible. And there is a long list of modern R&B titles that are explicitly about "doing the dirty," such as R. Kelly's "Sex Me" ... but they too often sound too smooth to be about actual fucking, unlike such "smooth fucking" antecedents as "Let's Get It On" and "Sexual Healing" by our own Marvin Gaye. Rap has always been a much better fornication fit. Of course, Marvin Gaye probably shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as R. Kelly ... so on to the list. —Bill Holdship
"Little Red Rooster" and "Back Door Man," Howlin' Wolf: Willie Dixon sure knew the power of the penile metaphor.
"Sixty Minute Man," the Dominoes: And this was years before Viagra. ...
"Shake, Rattle & Roll," Big Joe Turner: "Like a one-eyed cat peepin' in a seafood store. ..." Joe liked them metaphors as well!
"Reeling and Rockin'," Chuck Berry (1972 "live in London" version): The father of rock, who'd gotten the line "trying to get her belt unloose" onto early '60s radio, made very clear what he'd been suggesting for years by transforming an old tune about dancing into one about fucking around the clock, concluding "We boogied in the kitchen [and] in the hall/I got some on my finger so I wiped it on the wall."
"Big Hunk O' Love," Elvis Presley: Not to be confused with the much later and much tamer "Burning Love." Everything "they" feared he was, he was here.
ORAL SEX HALL OF FAME:
"Meat Man," Jerry Lee Lewis: The Killer emphasized that it was more than just meat that he "sure likes to eat" when he added these lyrics to live versions: "Got a Maytag tongue with a sensitive taster/Come from Louisiana, the land of beaver. ..."
"Shoop," Salt 'N' Pepa: Don't forget to "get your lips wet," y'all, especially if you're desiring reciprocation.
"Yummy, Yummy, Yummy," Ohio Express: "I got love in my tummy. ..." What the fuck else could it be about?
"Breakfast in Bed," Dusty Springfield: In which one of pop's best-known lesbians pleads with her lover to not "eat and run."
"Flower," Liz Phair: "Fuck and run" is what the Phair one had more in mind, at least in another song title. But Liz can be our "blow job queen" anytime, especially if, ... well, see Salt 'N' Pepa above. (Bonus points for following up years later with "H.W.C." ... as in "Give me your Hot White Come" ... gotta love that Liz!)
"Sweet Head," David Bowie: An outtake from Ziggy Stardust that references a sweet young thing "bobbin' her head" performed by a girlie-man who liked to simulate fellatio on his lead guitarist back in the day.
"Just Like Honey" and "Taste of Cindy," Jesus and Mary Chain: The Reid brothers were all about going down, ... in a creepy sort of way. (If you added together all the various numbers on the back of their Psychocandy album, the sum is 69! It's true!)
"Lollipop," the Chordettes: Yup! (Recently revived in a dance mix for Drew Barrymore's Whip It flick.)
ONE NIGHT STANDS & HOT GROUPIE SEX:
"Honky Tonk Women," the Rolling Stones: "She blew my nose and then she blew my mind. ..." (Perhaps the first song to get the word "laid" — as in "I laid a divorcee" — on AM radio ...)
"Star Star," the Rolling Stones: Original title? "Starfucker." 'Nuff said.
"Stay With Me," the Faces and "Super Freak," Rick James: The definitive statements on after-show fun. ...
BEST UNINTENTIONAL STATEMENT OF GAY PRIDE:
"Paralyzed," Elvis Presley: "I'm gay every morning, at night I'm still the same, oh, honey child!" the King crows on this early Otis Blackwell classic.
NO QUESTION ABOUT IT:
"[Push] In the Bush," Musique: Disco rarely got more intelligent than this.
"Love to Love You, Baby," Donna Summer and "Jungle Fever," Chakachas: The best aural orgasms not featured in a porn film.
"Fuck the Pain Away," Peaches: And why the fuck not? (She's got a ton of 'em, by the way. ...)
"Get Off," Prince: He also has a ton ("Cream" and "Scarlet Pussy," among them), but if you have to pick just one, ... Not to be confused with ...
"Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine)," James Brown: Baby, baby, bay-bee! (In James' world, dancing is fucking. ...)
"Keep on Truckin'," Hot Tuna: "What's that smell like fish, pretty baby, I really wanna know." The ultimate kiss-off track for a straying lover.
"Vaseline," Elastica: An ode to the joys of lubrication — "When you stuck like glue and you need some goo, ..."
"Rocket Queen," Guns 'N Roses: The midsection sound effects on this perfect Sunset Strip anthem come courtesy of actual in-studio fucking by Axl Rose and a stripper friend.
Damn near every other song from the big hair metal days and from the glam days and the early blues and that terrible Frankie Goes to Hollywood song about relaxing ...
... which leads back to the conclusion that maybe every song is about some form of fucking, after all.
MASTURBATION HALL OF FAME (self-explanatory unless otherwise noted)
"I Touch Myself," the Divinyls
"Dancing With Myself," Billy Idol
"Orgasm Addict," the Buzzcocks
"Turning Japanese," the Vapors: It's all in the eyes, after all.
"The Beat," Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Leave it to Costello to bring a little guilt and shame to the subject ("Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?")
"Astral Plane," the Modern Lovers: If Jonathan Richman can't "sleep with you," he's gonna be with you anyway, if only in his dreams.
"She Bop," Cyndi Lauper
"My Ding-a-Ling," Chuck Berry
"No Pussy Blues," Grinderman (with Nick Cave)
"Rosie," Jackson Browne: Nothing like your right hand for a lonely night on the road.
"The Stroke," Billy Squier
"In Every Dream Home a Heartache," Roxy Music: With a love doll, no less!
Almost every song on the Violent Femmes' debut album
"Pictures of Lilly," the Who
"Give It to the Soft Boys," the Soft Boys: In which Robyn Hitchcock sums it up in typically psychotic fashion — "I feel like making love to a photograph [because] photographs don't smell. ..."
TRAVIS R. WRIGHT'S EXPLORES URBAN SEX OF THE '90S:
"Me So Horny," 2 Live Crew: Always as nasty as they wanted to be, the Crew's sampling of a Vietnamese whore from Full Metal Jacket made this track the anthem it was, showing us they were also as creative as they wanted to be too.
"Face Down Ass Up," 2 Live Crew: Alternate title: "Assume the Position, Bitch."
"Ain't No Fun," Snoop Dogg: The message of this romantic tale is that if you're going to bone Snoop, be prepared to take on the whole dog pound. "It ain't no fun if the homeys can't have none."
"I Wanna Sex You Up," Color Me Badd: They don't want to feel you up, they want to sex you up. From the same decade that brought you Rico, Rico Suave.
"Bump N Grind," R. Kelly: Before he was peeing on minors, R. Kelly was the king of slow jams. His '94 release 12 Play is laced with fornication pheromones.
"I Ain't too Proud to Beg," TLC: What asshole would've made any of these three babes beg to bone? Oh, yeah ... Andre Reisen.
"Work It," Missy Elliott: Missy lost, like, 100 pounds and got so horny she was speaking in tongues on this track.
"Put It In Your Mouth," Akinyele: If a girl tells you she wants you to hear a song she really likes, then plays this — shit, man, you're like halfway inside her and don't even know it yet.
"Gimme Head," E-40: Making mom proud since St. Ide's and Cross Colors.
"Pony," Ginuwine: No, it's a metaphor, perv.
"My Neck, My Back." Khia: We first heard this track at a bar mitzvah. No joke. Gives a whole new meaning to doing the hora.
"How Do You Want It?" Tupac: Pac was a gear-head at heart: "I'm hittin' switches on bitches like I be fixed with hydraulics."
"Fuckin' You Tonight," Notorious B.I.G.: You gotta understand, he was dating Lil' Kim, so this is smooth talk.
"How Many Licks?" Lil' Kim: What do Lil' Kim and Rod Stewart have in common? It's rumored both have had to have loads of semen pumped from their stomachs.
"Freaky Tales," Too Short: We lost count of how many women Short names, but we're certain, statistically speaking, he has the clap.
"Talk Like Sex," Kool G. Rap: Kool sucks at similes, but he's a sex rap originator and this track is set the mold like a sex doll.
"Doin' It," LL Cool J: Don't wear sweat pants to the club, bro.
"Humpin' Around," Bobby Brown: Irony: When Bobby was singing "Humpin Around," Whitney was screamin' "I'm every woman."
"Just Don't Bite It" and "She Swallowed It," NWA: Whatever "it" is, NWA seem to be all about it.
"Good Pussy"/"Put It on Top" — Trina: If you don't know what to do with the subject of song one, please see song two for further instruction.
"Wait (the Whisper Song)," Yin Yang Twins: Another not-so-subliminal bar mitzvah banger.
"Laffy Taffy," DFL: Seriously the only song dedicated solely to labia we could think of.
"Get Loose," Spank Rock: Google "gape" and see what happens.
"Kryptonite Pussy," Yo! Majesty: A song for women, by women, about women's deadliest weapon.
"Don't Crush It"/"Lick My Ass," Kool Keith: Rap songs about sex read like Dr. Seuss instruction manuals for sluts.
"Ass N Titties," DJ Assault: The world can't seem to get enough of Detroit's dirtiest DJ's two-track mind.
"Might Like You Better," Amanda Blank: Amanda's a very freaky girl, the kind you don't take home to mother.
"Dick in A Box"/"Jizz in My Pants," the Lonely Island: Is SNL funny again?
"Freak Like Me," Adina Howard: Insatiable big booty babe makes teenage boys everywhere feel awkward.
"Freak Me," Silk: Remember when boy bands weren't raised on Nickelodeon?
"Knockin Da Boots," H-Town: See above.
"Givin' Up the Nappy Dug Out," Ice Cube: This song is not about a teething dog on a baseball team up for adoption.
"Milkshake," Kelis: Did you ever play chicken or brave in the schoolyard? Did one girl always win? Kelis was that girl.
"Skeet," Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz: Southern slang for jizz lands on the lips of a million teens.
"O.P.P.," Naughty by Nature: O is for Other/P is for People's/scratch your temple/the last P?/well that's not that simple.
MICHAEL JACKMAN'S SEX LIST:
"Louie, Louie," the Kingsmen: FBI investigated it and found much to their surprise that it was not about sex. (See the declassified FBI files for a laugh)
"Good Golly, Miss Molly," Little Richard: There must be some sort of generational double-standard here. How come the radio won't let you hear Akinyele do "Put it in Your Mouth" but it did let you hear, "Good golly, Miss Molly! She sure likes to ball!"
"In the Bush," Musique: Hilarious to listen to today, this disco-rific track is about as sexy as the chant "We must, we must, we must increase our bust." Bonus hilarity: Dates back to the days when sexy people had bushes.
"I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," Daryl Hall & John Oates: Love the over-sampled opening bars, but there's something about this song that leaves us guessing. Hall spells it out to his lover, "I'll do almost anything that you want me to, but I can't go for that. No can do." Um, what can't he go for? Anal play? Food kinks? Or is it something tamer? Mr. Blue-Eyed Soul went so vanilla with this 1981 hit, just in time for the less-than-sexy Reagan administration.
"I See You, Baby," Groove Armada: Whiplash! It's normal, sweaty and natural when Gram'ma Funk is all like, "I see you, baby. Shakin' that ass! Shakin' that ass!" So what's up with the boner-killer line: "Alright, don't touch me!" WTF?
"Baby, Let's Wait," the Royal Guardsmen: Huh? Just as the world was slipping into the Summer of Love, this weird single, which could have been an anthem for the abstinence movement, passed almost unnoticed. Dreamy, swoony song about not doing it? With lyrics that chant "NO!" and say "I'd be nobody, nothing, if I do what you wanted me to!" here's one that really runs against the grain.
"Turn Your Love Around," George Benson: This smooth-jazzy, 1981 soul-chart topper sounds right at home in a sleepy supper club. But listen to those lyrics and it could be all about butt-sex. "Turn your love around ... I can show you how ... We're gonna take it back where we belong ... It's time the girl became a woman." All of a sudden, Benson's smile looks a little kinky, don't it?Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org