1. “You’re Sixteen” as done by Johnny Burnette, 1960
Written by the Sherman Brothers (who did Mary Poppins), this song is especially creepy when you see that Johnny Burnette, the singer who made it famous, looks nowhere near sixteen.
In fact, he was 26 when his ode to a 16-year-old girl peaked at #8 on the US Billboard charts, and #3 in the UK. He croons that this girl is like “peaches and cream” and has “lips like strawberry wine.” When he sings, “you’re sixteen, you’re beautiful, and you’re mine” he sounds practically drunk. It didn’t make it any less creepy when Ringo Starr covered it in 1978 and put Carrie Fisher in the video as his love interest.
2. “Calendar Girl” by Neil Sedaka, 1961
Neil Sedaka fetishes a girl by picturing her as a pinup model for a calendar, “each and every day of the year.” No matter the month, he can think of some way she can pose that will turn him on. “April – you’re the Easter Bunny when you smile.” Wow, what a compliment, Neil! You spoil me. Like Johnny Burnette, he also has that thing going where he pretends to be a teenager – in the song, he sings “Maybe If I ask your dad and mom…they’ll let me take you to the junior prom.” Super creepy, as this man was 22 when “Calendar Girl” was a hit (no. #4), but looks more like 32.
3. “Lollipops And Roses” as done by Jack Jones, 1962
This song suggests you treat all women like they’re children. “Fourteen or forty, they’re kids in their hearts” he sings, and you can practically hear the shrug in his voice. The singer views women as temperamental beings (“One day she`ll smile, next day she`ll cry, minute to minute you`ll never know why”) who can be easily placated with flowers and candy (“Coax her, pet her, better yet, get her roses and lollipops and lollipops and roses”). It’s a little weird.
4. “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)” as done by The Crystals, 1962
You knew SOMETHING produced by Phil Spector would wind up in here, and it’s this unnerving song written by Carole King about domestic abuse. It was inspired by singer Little Eva and her relationship with her boyfriend, who claimed he only hit her because he loved her so much. It’s hard to tell if the song is meant to be satire (as an all girl group sings it like they’re singing about anything other than abuse) or if it’s meant to be a serious anthem. Either way, it’s creepy as hell, and was mostly banned from the radio. Here’s a sample lyric:
He hit me (da-da-da-ah) and it felt like a kiss (felt like a kiss)
He hit me (da-da-da-ah) and I knew he loved me.
Doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful song, though. Amy Winehouse cited it as one of her major influences.
5. “Run For Your Life” by The Beatles, 1965
In this little ditty, John Lennon is super pissed off about a woman (when isn’t he, am I right? Beatles humor!). “You know that I’m a wicked guy, and I was born with a jealous mind,” he sings. “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. Little girl.” I don’t know what’s creepier, the implied murder, or that he refers to a woman as “little girl.” Actually, “implied” is putting it mildly: “Baby, I’m determined, and I’d rather see you dead,” he sings, so really, this song is a two minute and sixteen second catchy death threat.
6. “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, 1968
This one is the ultimate creeper song. A guy blames a “young girl” for making him want her simply because she looks old enough. “With all the charms of a woman, you’ve kept the secret of your youth” he sings, basically saying, “Damn, you don’t LOOK sixteen.” (And sixteen is being optimistic, here.) Some more choice lyrics:
Young girl, get out of my mind
My love for you is way out of line
Better run, girl
You’re much too young, girl.
Beneath your perfume and make-up
You’re just a baby in disguise
And though you know
That it is wrong to be alone with me
That come on look is in your eyes
In the last verse, he just says it all out on the table, moaning, “Get out of here before I have the time to change my mind. ‘Cause I’m afraid we’ll go too faaaaaar.” This song makes “Blurred Lines” look like a feminist anthem. And like “Blurred Lines”, it was a huge hit. “Young Girl” made #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was #1 in the UK. They even performed for Prince Charles at the White House, and did a show at Disneyland. All for a song about a guy barely able to control himself over raping a chick below the age of consent.
Please note, just because these are the creepiest songs of the 1960s doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Just think of me as your own personal “The more you know” shooting star. Make your own decision. Choose your own adventure. Drink Coca Cola. Whatever.