The other night, I was surfing through some late night channels and came across the old 70′s show, All In The Family. You know the one, with Archie Bunker, Edith, Gloria and Michael? It was a rather popular show for it’s time. As I was watching, I saw Archie rattling on about Jews, Italians and even homosexuals, and I remember thinking to myself, “This would never fly today.” Now, whether it’s right or wrong that people get upset over these type of things is not what I’m trying to get at. It’s true that we as a society are rather politically correct, and in some instances, it’s for all the right reasons. I guess my point of today’s post is how people crossed the line back in the day just as much as they do now.
This is true in music. Back then there was Blow Fly, today it’s 2 Live Crew. Talking about drugs was a big thing back in the 60′s, we all know what the Beatles “Lucy In The Sky” was about, correct? Today’s drug of choice to sing about is usually weed, ala Dre’s “The Chronic”, or other mind altering substances as found on Tame and Cage’s “Water World” album from earlier in the decade. The other night I was kicking back, drinking a brew, surfing around on the net while listening to a record that I pulled out of my records. It was by Bobby Hebb, an album called “Love Games.” Now, I’m no expert on Bobby Hebb, or soul music for that matter. A lot of you soul lovers will know Bobby Hebb from his rather popular “Sunny” track, which is a great track.
So most of you should know the man Bobby Hebb after hearing that song. As I said, I was playing the album after coming across it in my records. I couldn’t remember where I got it or how, so I threw it on the turntable and started vibing to it. The album starts off pretty good, hits a snag toward the end of the first side then I flipped it over. The second side of the platter starts off pretty good. When I came to the fourth song on the b-side, I pick up the cover and check for the title which was “She Broke My Heart.” Sounds like a nice sad song, with a bluesy tang on the guitar, some nice horn riffs, actually kind of uptempo. Bobby starts off by singing, “She broke my heart, sheeeee broke my heart, oh yeah, I said she she broke my heart…” I’m sitting there thinking this is going to be a good song, then Hebb comes in with, “She broke my heart and I broke her jaw….” I sat up quickly, “Nah, I couldn’t have heard that right,” as I go back to place the needle back toward the start of the song. I did hear it right, Bobby was singing about breaking the lady’s jaw.
Bobby Hebb – She Broke My Heart
Keep in mind, “Love Games” came out in 1970. For those of you short on math skills, that’s 39 years ago (I think). Yet, here he is, an artist of a rather will known song at the time (“Sunny” was in Rolling Stones top 100 songs of the century), singing about cracking his cheating love in the jaw. I’m sure this album didn’t register on most of mainstream America’s radar in those days, but the simple fact is the song was recorded on Epic Records, which is no small label.
While violence against women is something I don’t condone, someone not overly uptight about the subject matter might see this song as simply “artistic expression.” It’s those that will be able to find a little humor in the song itself. Bobby seems proud of himself for catching homegirl with a right hook to the chin and that just adds to the grin one will have on their face. While the majority of us would never dream of hitting a woman, I’m sure that a lot dudes that have walked in on a cheating women had it cross their minds.
Fast forward those 30 years plus to sometime in the mid 90′s (4,5,6 days?), and you have the epitome of the politically incorrectness. For some reason, Epic (how ironic) didn’t want anything to do with Kool G Rap’s “Hey Mister”, and for good reason. I’ve always found the beat ill as fuck and flow wise, G Rap is on top of his game, but the song can be somewhat disturbing, especially in my older age. For those that haven’t heard it, G Rap catches wind that his “bitch” has been cheating, so he beats her down like a dog right on the street. This is all done over a haunting piano track done by T-Ray.
Kool G Rap – Hey Mister
Again, I do not condone any kind of violence against women. You are no man if you raise a hand against a female, I’ve always believed that. The purpose of all this was to show while somethings change, somethings stay the same….. I’m not saying “She Broke My Heart” is anywhere on the same level as G Rap’s “Hey Mister”, which was probably better being left as an unreleased white label cut. It’s simply that while things evolve, people will always walk that fine line of good taste.