May-December romance songs of the 1960s

For some reason, there were a bunch of songs in the 1960s about adult men who were trying to keep themselves from getting involved with underage women. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, a novel in which the hero protagonist falls in love with a girl. Or maybe there was too much lead in the gasoline. Whatever. In any case, I’m pretty sure that none of these songs would get airplay today.

First off, there’s Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”, which earned a rating from me of 0:08 – which was the length of time I could listen to it on YouTube before I had to hit Pause. Decide for yourself, dear reader, if you could last longer:

A later generation discovered this song thanks to Pulp Fiction, which includes Urge Overkill’s version as part of its soundtrack. I found this version a bit more palatable, perhaps because it contains just a touch of ironic distance – it’s intentionally a little over the top, whereas Mr. Diamond is all too sincere.

Next up, we have Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, with “Young Girl”. Here’s a video of the band performing on the Ed Sullivan show – note the Civil War-ish stage costumes.

I could watch old black and white 1960s music videos all day. Someday, I just might. A fun fact: Gary Puckett was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, which is where Bob Dylan grew up. Puckett grew up in the state of Washington, though, so the two probably didn’t know each other when they were kids.

Next up is a slightly older song – Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away Little Girl”. I gave this a rating of 0:12, as I couldn’t really take much of it.

“Go Away Little Girl” was eventually covered by Donny Osmond. who went to #1 with it in 1971. I couldn’t get through much of this version either, but that’s mostly because I was forced to listen to the Osmonds a lot when growing up, as my AM radio station played a whole lot of Osmonds. I still bear the scars. (By the way, the singing Osmonds had two older brothers, both of whom were born deaf. There’s an obvious joke here, but I refuse to go there.)

Last, but not least, we have “Carrie-Anne” by The Hollies. This one might be a little less creepy: according to Graham Nash, they actually wrote the song about Marianne Faithfull (“Hey, Marianne!”), an actual grownup, but were too shy to admit it.

This video is so late 1960s. The brightly coloured stage costumes! The psychedelic lettering! The heart instead of an O in the band name on the drum kit! As somebody or other said: the past is a foreign country, and they did things differently there.


About davetill

I'm a writer and occasional web designer. I live in Toronto.
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