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Sex And The Beatles' Singles
 









Sex And The Beatles' Singles
 

I suspect that Dr Freud would have been secretly amused.

Over the past few days, I've been thinking about some of the early Beatles' singles, songs such as "Please Please Me" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and it has struck me as odd that, in my innocence as a teenager listening to these songs, I never really "got" what the songs were all about.

At the time, these were simply songs by a group of lads whose music I had come to love — upbeat tunes quickly becoming the anthems of my mid-western youth.

I'm a bit older now, and I've come to wonder just how innocent these early songs were.

"Please Please Me" is a classic example. It seems that, in the relationship documented by the lyrics of the song, one person is eagerly intent on "putting out" and the other is equally intent on "holding out."

Please Please Me
Last night I said these words to my girl
I know you never even try, girl
C'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon)
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you
You don't need me to show the way, love
Why do I always have to say "love"
C'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon)
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you
I don't wanna sound complaining
But you know there's always rain in my heart (In my heart)
I do all the pleasing with you, it's so hard to reason
With you, whoah yeah, why do you make me blue
Last night I said these words to my girl
I know you never even try, girl
C'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon), c'mon (C'mon)
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you
(Me) Whoa yeah, like I please you
(Me) Whoa yeah, like I please you

I certainly remember the angst of my teenage years when I dated girls just like the one characterized in the song. What every robust teenage boy wanted was what every timid teenage girl was unprepared to give up — sex!

Sex was on the minds of most of my friends from about the age of 12. It's what we talked about on the street and dreamed about in our beds.

In the early 60s, however, sex was not so readily forthcoming. While boys entertained fantasies from the pages of that new magazine, Playboy, the girls in the neighbourhood must have been thinking of something quite different.

To be honest, I have no idea what they were thinking, but I suspect that any carnal desires they may have experienced were quickly submerged into the nether regions of the subconscious. If those desires ever did bubble up from below, then they must have surfaced as a kind of "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" hoopla and teen worship of the ever-present Bobbies whose likeness were splashed across the covers of teen idol weeklies — Bobby Vee, Bobby Darin, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Curtolla, Bobby Sherman, and Bobby Vinton.

I had little to no interest in "Bobbies." I did, however, find myself developing a growing fascination with "boobies."

"Please Please Me" seems pretty obvious to me now, but "I Want To Hold Your Hand" has me intrigued as well:

I Want To Hold Your Hand
Oh yeah I'll tell you something
I think you'll understand
When I say that something
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
Oh please say to me
You'll let me be your man
And please say to me
You'll let me hold your hand
Now let me hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
And when I touch you I feel happy inside
It's such a feeling that my love
I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide
Yeah, you got that something
I think you'll understand
When I say that something
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
And when I touch you I feel happy inside
It's such a feeling that my love
I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide
Yeah you, got that something
I think you'll understand
When I feel that something
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand ...

What I find curious in this song is that first verse. The lines, "I think you'll understand/When I say that something/I want to hold your hand."

It seems to me that this is not a song about "holding hands." It's more about "that something." Could "holding hands" be a euphemism for a different kind of touching?

Well, The Beatles were lads who honed their talents in the red-light district of Hamburg after all, so it makes sense that they surely had a few experiences that involved an extremely close proximity to the opposite sex.

Then, with their meteoric success came all those screaming and crying girls, women, even grandmothers wherever The Beatles went. What was all that about? Had The Beatles somehow awakened "that something" in a generation of young and old alike? Had the hidden messages and meanings of those "simple" songs awakened some primeval lustful longing? Who can say? Yes, who can say for sure?

As time passed and the 60s became the age of "free love," the taboo that repressed the sexual longings of adolescents around the world slowly disappeared. Girls became more daring, and boys became more eager than ever. Songs like "Ticket To Ride" suddenly had a recognizable double entendre. Other songs like "Lovely Rita" and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" were even more to the point. In fact, as many Beatles' obsessives discovered, every Beatles' song seemed to have some hidden message, especially when played backwards or sideways.

Sex became acceptable, if not downright fashionable, in the music industry. After all, the rallying cry of the day was "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll," not "Virginity, Abstinence, and The Blue Danube."

Looking back, I can't say that I find anything offensive in the possible innuendo of those early Beatles' singles. I just wish that, when Louise Fenton and I danced to "Please Please Me" or "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at the Friday night community centre hop back in 1964, she knew a little bit more about the subliminal and a little bit less about self-denial.

© The Beatles On Abbey Road — Posted on April 2, 2014.



There's a cool little book written by Jeff Walker and entitled Sex and the Beatles: 400 Entries available from Amazon for those of you who want to learn more about the sexual escapades of The Beatles.







 

Watch The Beatles Perform "Please Please Me"
Washington Coliseum, 1964




  












       






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