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Or was this acceptable in the 60's?

(203 Posts)
luckylucky24 Sat 15-Jul-17 18:57:34

Today I came across this song by Neil Sedaka called "Happy birthday Sweet 16". It appears that he released a song at age 22 singing about a girl he has known for a while and has been watching and waiting for her to come of age. I find it quite uncomfortable. You couldn't release such a song nowadays so was this okay in the 60's? AIBU to be so uncomfortable with a song that probably hasn't had airtime for 50 years?
Here are the Lyrics
Tra la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Happy birthday, sweet sixteen
Tra la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Happy birthday, sweet sixteen
Tonight's the night I've waited for
Because you're not a baby anymore
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen
Happy birthday, sweet sixteen
What happened to that funny face
My little tomboy now wears satins and lace
I can't believe my eyes you're just a teenage dream
When you were only six, I was your big brother
Then when you were ten, we didn't like each other
When you were thirteen, you were my funny valentine
But since you've grown up, your future is sewn up
From now on you're gonna be mine, so
If I should smile with sweet surprise
It's just that you've grown up before my very eyes
You've turned into the prettiest girl I've ever seen
Happy birthday, sweet sixteen

TheAntiBoop Sat 15-Jul-17 19:13:34

I don't read it the same way

I hear it as a fellow 16yo who has been friends with this girl all his life and now they are 16 he has noticed that she's beautiful and he sees her more than just a friend

Although tbf I haven't heard it for a long time!!

iklboo Sat 15-Jul-17 19:20:08

I don't read it that way either.

Materdolores Sat 15-Jul-17 19:20:12

Frankie Valli had a brilliant Northern Soul hit called ' You're Ready Now'
We just took it that a girl had grown into a woman. Today's songs are more heavily sexualised. Back then the lyrics 'making love' was about kissing and cuddling.
A famous politician in Ireland insisted that there was no sex in Ireland before television. It was a more innocent age.

FrancisCrawford Sat 15-Jul-17 19:20:18

I'm with AntiBoop.

And I've definitely heard it loads of times in the past 50 years!

FeckinCrutches Sat 15-Jul-17 19:26:02

Mater I love that song!
I don't read it like that either, sorry!

DecoRules Sat 15-Jul-17 19:27:16

YABU. It was written in a much more innocent time.

Justhadmyhaircut Sat 15-Jul-17 19:27:16

So Neil Sedaka was grooming a young girl??

TheAntiBoop Sat 15-Jul-17 19:29:23

I don't even see how these days it could be interpreted as grooming - there's no mention of sex and the singer is clearly supposed to be a similar age

Agree songs these days are much more sexualised

Whichwayyisup Sat 15-Jul-17 19:30:16

What? How could it not be understood that he wants her sexually?!

Since you've grown up, your future is sewn up
From now you're gonna be mine


eddiemairswife Sat 15-Jul-17 19:30:32

I can remember a song by Dickie Valentine in the late 50s. It began. "Venus if you will
Please send to me
A little girl to thrill..."
It sounded wrong even then.

MitzyLeFrouf Sat 15-Jul-17 19:30:33

The song that sounded so dodgy to me even as a kid was Young Girl by Gary Puckett.

Beneath your perfume and make-up
You're just a baby in disguise
And though you know
That it's wrong to be
Alone with me
That come on look is in your eyes

Nanny0gg Sat 15-Jul-17 19:31:42

It's played regularly on Oldies stations!

It's about two teenagers for goodness sake!

JaneJeffer Sat 15-Jul-17 19:32:10

Mater there obviously was except the bishop and his pals would lock up any woman who had unmarried sex in a Magdelene laundry angry

Whichwayyisup Sat 15-Jul-17 19:33:02

Yeah, causal reference to sex is much worse today than the 60s confused

TheAntiBoop Sat 15-Jul-17 19:34:24

You may interpret that as sexual but that's your interpretation. To me it's about wanting to be together forever etc etc

Songs then were written for the new market - which was predominantly teenage girls who wanted to hear about romantic love.

Floralnomad Sat 15-Jul-17 19:35:18

Where does it say he's 22 ?

TheAntiBoop Sat 15-Jul-17 19:35:59

It would be better to compare to a 1d song (that first one of theirs for eg) than say, nicki minaj or Rihanna

JaneJeffer Sat 15-Jul-17 19:36:08

Little Sister is another dodgy one

Well, I used to pull your pigtails
And pinch your turned-up nose
But you been a growin'
And, baby, it's been showin'
From your head down to your toes

FineSally Sat 15-Jul-17 19:37:41

same as TheAntiBoob

One that did raise my eyebrows at the time (and does even more now) is Gary Puckett & the Union Gap's Young Girl. It resonated with me because it was in the charts when I had my first real boyfriend. I thought another major hit, Lady Willpower, was also pretty suggestive. tbh I think many of the hits of that era could be taken either way. As a 15/16 year old, all I could think of was sex, even if the lyrics were pretty innocuous.

DPotter Sat 15-Jul-17 19:37:55

I've always thought the Gary Puckett song was about him resisting the advances of a young girl not chasing after her. Further lyrics go on to say

Young girl get out of my mind
my love for you is way out of line
you're young girl
You're much too young girl

Think the Neil Sedaka song was in the same vein as the mexican celebration of a girl turning 15 and therefore now a woman.

MitzyLeFrouf Sat 15-Jul-17 19:39:06

I agree with Anti. Neil Sedaka's songs were about wholesome teenage American love. He wasn't saying 'baby you're legal and tonight I'm going to nail you' it was more 'now we can be an official couple and spend our wholesome lives together'.

Whichwayyisup Sat 15-Jul-17 19:40:01

Again, are you really saying that teenage boys (or 22 year old men) in the 60s didn't have thoughts of having sex?

BoysofMelody Sat 15-Jul-17 19:40:26

Two things here.

Firstly, I don't read it as a predatory older man waiting for a girl to turn 16 so he can shag her. Other songs of the 60s and 70s are more morally dubious ABBA's does your mother know' and Gary 'US' Bond's young girl, but I really don't think this song is.

Secondly, Neil Sedaka'sage is irrelevant, he was a professional songwriter who came up through the brill building system where songs were written to order in an office 9-5 and weren't a reflection of his inner turmoil or emotional state. You're applying a later sensibility to the song, that it tells some inner or profound truth about the person who wrote it.

Madeyemoodysmum Sat 15-Jul-17 19:41:18

The Abba song "does your mother know". Sounds really wrong now but it mainly about the man not acting on his desire when he knows the girl is too young.
I love the song tho and I like the sweet sixteen one too but I see that as the boy being only a tiny bit older than the girl and he has always fancied her. Totally normal imo.

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