Showing posts with label Jerry Lee Lewis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jerry Lee Lewis. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

High School Confidential

Legend has it that Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock ‘n’ roll generation’s first “wild man,” was troubled by the sinful nature of his songs, particularly those that contained scarcely disguised sexual content. Nonetheless, in May 1958, while on a British tour, it was revealed that Lewis’s third wife, Myra Gale Brown, was a mere thirteen years old; he was twenty-two, and had been married previously. Apparently, Myra Gale Brown also happened to be Lewis’s third cousin twice removed (thus raising the issue of incest), but the basis of the scandal that followed the revelation was clearly because of her age. Legend also has it that at the time of their marriage, the young girl still believed in Santa Claus. Predictably, the ensuing scandal ruined Lewis’s promising career as a rock musician. Comparisons to fellow Southerner Edgar Allan Poe are inevitable, I suppose, as it has been well-documented that Poe married his first cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm (1822–1847), when she was thirteen years old (he was twenty-seven). Some of Poe’s biographers have argued the couple’s relationship was more like a brother and sister than husband and wife, meaning the marriage may never have been consummated. Whether one can claim pedophilia in Poe’s case is therefore contestable.

The term paedophilia erotica was coined by nineteenth-century psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, in his study Psychopathia Sexualis (1886). Jerry Lee Lewis does not fit Krafft-Ebing’s profile for a pedophile, and indeed, he is not, despite his marriage to his quite young female cousin. But other known rockers do fit the profile of the pedophile, such as British rocker Gary Glitter, a convicted sex offender. In November 1997, Gary Glitter was arrested after files containing images of child pornography were discovered on his laptop. He was later charged with having sex with an underage girl, an event that the victim claimed occurred two decades earlier. In any case, some years later, in 2005, Gary Glitter was again arrested and charged with molesting two girls, ages 10 and 11, at his home in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam. The specter of pedophilia has lurked on the fringes of popular music for many years, as the following list of songs suggests. Pete Townshend and Carlos Santana have both acknowledged being child sexual abuse victims, so the issue is hardly incidental one. Please note that I am not suggesting that the artists who recorded these songs are pedophiles. The point is the that issue has lurked in the shadows of pop music for many years, and perhaps it is time to listen to these songs anew.

Neil Diamond – Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
Nick Gilder – Hot Child in the City
Major Lance – Hey Little Girl
The Lovin’ Spoonful – Younger Girl
Oingo Boingo – Little Girls
Gilbert O’Sullivan – Claire
Plan B - Charmaine
The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap – Young Girl
Tommy Roe – Sheila
Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs – Li’l Red Riding Hood
Syndicate of Sound – Little Girl
Bobby Vee – Come Back When You Grow Up