When I think of popular music from the 1960s, bouncy, happy tunes come to mind: “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Twist and Shout,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Most of us think of the Sixties as a simpler, more innocent time in the world of music.
The other day, though, I heard the old Monkees TV series theme song and was a little creeped out with the following lyrics:
Just look over your shoulder
We’ll be standing there”
Can you imagine Mickey Dolenz peering in your window at you? I shudder at the thought.
Hearing those lyrics reminded me of a Beatles song from the Sixties called “Run for Your Life.” It’s a bouncy little ditty, so I never really reflected on the lyrics. Here are some of them:
“I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man.
You’d better keep your head, little girl, cause you don’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 (uh), little girl.”
And I thought Eminem’s spouse abuse raps were bad!
For some reason, there were lots of songs about death back in the Sixties (apart from Vietnam War protest tunes, that is). The song “Leader of the Pack” is about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who dies tragically in a car crash. And “Ode to Billie Joe” features both suicide and infanticide.
But the ultimate creepy song that haunted the Sixties for me was the ghostly “Laurie” by Dickey Lee. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen.
So next time you go romanticizing the feel good songs of the 60s, remember: “Strange things happen in this world.”