This weekend I caught another relative rarity on the radio-our guy Ringo Starr's version of Johnny Burnette's "You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful, and You're Mine)". I have to confess that I enjoy singing along with Sir Richard, because he makes all of us in-the-car virtuosos sound really good. And he got the fun songs to perform when with the Fab Four-who doesn't like to sing 'Yellow Submarine', complete with doing your own sound effects?
But as I pulled up the video and noted a middle-aged Starkey belting this tune out, I kind of thought 'Ringo, dude, you have the appearance of a man standing outside of the high school waiting for girls' volleyball practice to finish! Not good, my man!'
There are a lot of rock tunes featuring the theme of 16 and 17-year-old girls. I suppose this is because the primary rock audience has been 16 and 17-year-old males with lots of hormones and little sense (at least that's how I remember being at that age).
Some of the songs I can pull of the top of my head are The Crests' Sixteen Candles (a bit of classy 1950s doo-wop), Sexy+17 by The Stray Cats-before Brian Setzer decided to become heir apparent to Glenn Miller, Winger's (She's Only) Seventeen (in case you needed a dose of 1980's hair band), and KISS's Christine (Sixteen).
One wonders what it's like for a Gene Simmons, who's knocked on the door of 60, and gone through it, to still be singing a song about a 16-year-old girl. Doesn't there come a point where maybe you take that song off the set list because that anonymous minor just might be your daughter (or in Gene's case, granddaughter)? The little girl who'll be on a date and you're sitting there, cleaning the shotgun, and talking to the pimply-faced, cracking-voiced fellow who's taking her out?
'And have her home by 10! (click of a shotgun barrel being seated on the stock)'
Do you suppose there does come a point where a rock star or group maybe sets those particular songs aside and lets the next generation of stars do their thing (in oh so many respects) with the younger crowd? Evidently not-because the Kiss video I referenced was done in 2006. But I do in some ways discount Kiss, because those guys will sing whatever needs be sung to bring in a buck or two. The gentlemen can market themselves!
I dunno. Just a thought.