The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 November 2005

Your basic Dead Teenager songs

What with Monty introducing the Bride of the Leader of the Pack, I've got my mind on teenage death ditties today, and I'm declaring this thread open to discussion of same.

One observation: The songs recorded by the boys tended to be sweet and sentimental, while the girls went for the throat. (Even "Leader of the Pack" made no bones about eternal verities or anything like that; it was All Dad's Fault, and that was that.) The apotheosis of the latter phenomenon is "Nightmare," recorded by Lori Burton as the "Whyte Boots," the tale of a catfight turned literally lethal. Issued on Philips 40422 in 1967, it did not chart, perhaps because it was, like, too intense.

A few random favorites from the genre:

  • Dickey Lee, "Patches" (Smash 1758, 1962)
    She lives on the wrong side of town, and when her boyfriend is barred from seeing her, she throws herself into the dirty old river that runs by the coal mine in Old Shantytown. Boyfriend vows to follow.

  • Dickey Lee, "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" (TCF Hall 102, 1965)
    Yeah, him again. Boy meets girl at dance, she borrows his sweater because it's cold, he eventually discovers that she's been dead for a year.

  • The Shangri-Las, "Give Us Your Blessings" (Red Bird 10-030, 1965)
    Young couple want to get married, parental units say they're too young, couple runs crying from the room and drives off into the sunset, never seeing the sign that says DETOUR.

  • Ray Peterson, "Tell Laura I Love Her" (RCA Victor 47-7745, 1960)
    Tommy can't afford a ring for his girl, so he enters a stock-car race to raise funds. He was, of course, the youngest driver there. Jeff Barry originally wrote this about a rodeo, but was persuaded to change the venue. Peterson also cut a version of "Give Us Your Blessings".

  • The Everly Brothers, "Ebony Eyes" (Warner Bros. 5199, 1961)
    Young soldier gets just enough leave time to get married; to save time, she takes a plane to his duty station, but Flight 1203 never arrives.

And I didn't even mention "I Want My Baby Back", surely a sign of restraint.

Posted at 10:48 AM to Tongue and Groove


You didn't mention "Teen Angel," either.

"Teen Angel, can you hear me?
Teen Angel, can you see me?
Are you somewhere up above,
And am I still your own true love?"

Performed by God-knows-who.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 11:21 AM on 6 November 2005

Mark Dinning. He had a maudlin follow-up with "The Pickup," about which the less said, the better.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:28 AM on 6 November 2005

What?!?!?

Not even a mention of the greatest of Teenage Death Songs?

Billy, Don't be a Hero - listen and weep.

Posted by: Matt at 3:39 PM on 6 November 2005

Mystery Science Theater 3000 did a funny send-up of these inspired by a werewolf movie, called "Where, Oh Werewolf?"

Tom: Hey, Susie, what's the matter? Crow: Yeah, Susie. What's wrong? Mike: Oh, nothing [deep breath] ...I guess. Tom: Come on, Susie! You can tell us! Crow: Yeah! Mike: Gee, I don't know, girls. Well okay, it's like this Bots: Uh-huh Mike: You know Steve? Bots: UH-HUHHH!

Steve's a werewolf, but he's my guy
He's different from the rest, I don't know why.
But my mother and pop, they disapprove
But no one can stop us, for it's true loove.

Bots: Huh?
Mike: Well, I had to rhyme the two words
Tom: Ah, okay.
Crow: Sure. Sing.
Tom: Got it. Got it. Go ahead.

Where, o, werewolf
I've looked everywhere, wolf.
Where, o, where
Where is my werewolf?

Mike (spoken): Listen up, girls.
Tom: Okay.

Late one night, we drove in his car
To Makeout Point it wasn't that far...

Tom: Take the Hiawatha exit, left at the first stop sign.
Crow: Shhhh!
Mike: Well, whose story is this, Carol?
Tom: Sorry! Heh heh heh heh!

The moon was full he pulled me close
I held his paw and I touched his cold nose

Crow: That means he's healthy! Hee hee!

But just then his hairy paws caused the wheel to slide!
I screamed! Too late! We hit a tree! He died!

Bots: Gee, that's too bad, Susie!

Where, o, werewolf
I've looked everywhere, wolf.
Where, o, where
O where, o where, o where
Is my werewooooolf?

Crow: Weeere woooolf.

Posted by: Ian Hamet at 4:15 PM on 6 November 2005

My personal favorite is Last Kiss.... Well, where oh where can my baby be/ The Lord took her away from me/ She's gone to heaven/ So I got to be good/ So I can see my baby/ When I leave this world

Posted by: Donna at 3:16 PM on 7 November 2005

Is this Blog using Wordpress or Moveable Type?

Posted by: too young at 4:30 AM on 12 November 2005

MT. And the URL you gave me didn't go anywhere, so I removed it. (Call it a pre-emptive strike at splogdom.)

Posted by: CGHill at 4:43 AM on 12 November 2005