A Brief History
On February 17, 2019, we take a look back to this date in 2015, when we listed “10 of the Sexiest Songs of All Time.” Today we list another 10 of the Sexiest Songs of All Time, and as always, invite you, our valued reader, to nominate those songs you believe should be on this list. The so called “sexiness” can be sort of explicit lyrics (but not out of the range of what you might hear on the radio or in common use), the suggestiveness, use of double entendres, or the general ability of the song to stoke one’s sexual interest. Songs have often evoked such romantic feelings throughout history, and song is a powerful medium of communication. (No special order to the list.) Hopefully, some of these songs will bring back fond memories for you, and for those too young for first hand memories, maybe hearing them the first time will give you new favorites.
Questions for Students (and others): Are you familiar with the songs on this list? What are your nominations for inclusion? Should song lyrics be censored? Should music for sale come with age limitations similar to the way movies are rated?
1. “Love to Love You Baby” by Donna Summer, 1975.
One of the really big disco hits, the song was also one of the first disco songs to be released on extended (12 inch) form. A slinky Donna Summer breathing out “Love to Love You, Baby…” over and over drove home the point. Hard to believe the tune only made it to #2 in the US. It pretty much sounds like someone making love, auditory porn! Summer co-wrote the song.
2. “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry, 2008.
It probably does not hurt that Katy Perry is HOT. Talking about “My experimental game…” and the like make the song seem risqué and exciting. In the past, the song would have been scandalous, but in the 21st Century a girl singing about another girl’s “kissable” lips is pretty well mainstream, but still just provocative enough to evoke some hot, forbidden love feelings in the listener. The tune won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was even nominated for a Kids’ Choice Award. Co-written by Katy Perry, she said the song was, “about the magical beauty of a woman”. Yeah, it was #1 in the US for 7 weeks straight. (Or not straight!)
3. “Summer (the first time)” by Bobby Goldsboro, 1973.
When Bobby Goldsboro was not singing his depressing monster hit, “Honey,” or about “Watching Scotty Grow,” he was singing a much more sultry song about the first sexual experience of a 17 year old boy with a 31 year old woman, not exactly politically correct in the 21st Century! Presumably the song should evoke memories of the listener’s “first time,” as long as the listener had a first time!
4. “Caress Me Down” by Sublime, 1996.
This song is probably the most fun song on this list, sung in a “Spanglish” patois with mentions of Ron Jeremy among others. Blatantly asking for sexual relations and bemoaning getting an STD (“GI Joe kung-fu grip…”) causing the singer’s anatomy to go “Drip, drip, drip…” That might not sound real appealing, but the repeated line “and that girl caress me down, uh, and that’s a loving sound…” while also bragging about “Cause I’m the type of lover with the right sensitivity” among other explicit lines. The tune is a bit coarse, but a lot of fun, and there are some pretty cool covers on YouTube.
5. “Stay Awhile” by The Bells, 1971.
Another one of those soft, tender, romantic songs just oozing with intimacy. Using the breathy, bedroom voice, especially of the female part, the song evokes a sort of quiet sexiness that makes the listener want to be a part of. Maybe the Montreal, Quebec origins of the song’s writer and the group that sang it (The Bells) lends the French mystique to the sound. “Stay Awhile” made it to #1 in Canada, but only to #7 in the US, although it did reach #4 on the Cash Box Top 100. Sexy, suggestive lyrics, such as “How it makes me quiver, how it makes me smile…” lead one to believe the singers are talking about sexual ecstasy.
6. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard, 1987.
With lyrics like “I’m hot, sticky sweet” you know this song means business! While the song only reached #2 on US charts in 1987, it also was ranked #2 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the 80s” in 2006. The tune is a party favorite, sure to generate hot emotions in young lovers, raw and suggestive and demanding. Oddly enough, neither of the Def Leppard videos of the song are particularly sexy, one featuring the demolition of a house and the other just the band playing. In 1988 an extended disco version was released.
7. “Baby it’s Cold Outside” by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews, 1999.
Yes, the song has been done by about a million artists, even in movies, but the TJ and Cerys Matthews version is our personal favorite. The video features seamless costume changes that really make the video. Recently criticized for seeming to harken to the spiked drink date rape phenomena that has been dominating the news lately, some radio stations and other musical venues refuse to play the tune! Critics also claim the badgering of the male part of the duet to keep the girl indoors with him is a form of coercion. Wow, have we gotten touchy, or what? (People, it is a just a song, not a conspiracy.) The original version was released in 1949, with at least 8 different recordings of the tune. The 2 highest ranking versions in 1949 were the ones by Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, and Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer. The song appeared in the 1949 film, Neptune’s Daughter, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Depending on your point of view, those fans of romantic love are surely rooting for the man to talk the woman into staying longer, giving the song a higher level of engagement than usual.
8. “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, 1966.
Originally recorded by an American group, the song was a flop. A year later, English rock band The Troggs made the song one of the iconic rock songs of all time. Oddly enough, “Wild Thing” went to #1 in the US but only #2 in the UK. A major cover by Tone Lōc in 1989 went to #2 in the US (#1 on the Dance and Crossover charts), and numerous other covers have been made, notably by Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Cheap Trick, and the Divinyls among others. Comedy versions (not so sexy) were also made by comedian Sam Kinison featuring a mass cast of music stars and comedians with altered lyrics, and a version done in the imitated voice of Senator Bobby Kennedy (“er, uh”) was made in 1967 by a group calling itself Senator Bobby (Bill Minkin on vocals). Something about the normal version of the song is so earthy, it just communicates raw sexuality in a Neanderthal sort of way. No namby pamby stuff here…
9. “Pillow Talk” by Sylvia, 1973.
Billboard says the song is about sex, so it is! In fact, when Sylvia wrote the song she hoped Al Green would be the one to croon its breathless, suggestive beat, but Al Green refused because the song was too sexy! Obviously, “pillow talk” is between 2 lovers in bed. #1 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart and #3 on Billboard, the breathy tune is sort of a prototype disco song and may have inspired Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” 2 years later.
10. “Boléro” by Maurice Ravel, 1928.
Originally penned with the idea of being part of an opera, this one movement orchestral piece gained great attention as the song Bo Derek put on the stereo when making love to Dudley Moore in the hit movie 10 in 1979. Not particularly an artistic success, snooty music critics pan the composition, but millions of copies were purchased by lovers that found the music inspirational in the bedroom. Rock acts such as The James Gang and Frank Zappa have covered the song, and it inspired a couple of movies by the same name.
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For more information, please see…
Fox, Dan. World’s Greatest Love Songs: 57 of the Most Popular Love Songs Ever Written. Alfred Music, 2007.
Leonard, Hal. VH1’s 100 Greatest Love Songs. Hal Leonard, 2008.
O’Neill, Bill. The Great Book of Rock Trivia: Amazing Trivia, Fun Facts & The History of Rock and Roll. CreateSpace, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Bleiglass of a kiss between two grooms from from de Wikipedia: de:Bild:Kuss.jpg, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.