Each time I hear “Already Gone,” the hypnotic hit that has been vibrating out of dashboards since 1974 when the Eagles recorded that anthem to breaking up, I am amazed not so much by the strong guitar work as I am by the closing words: “All right, nighty night.” How, in this ultimate kiss-off to an adult affair, did an expression identified with wishing a child peaceful slumber creep in on rocking tiptoes?
That mystery has led me to listen carefully to records made in the 1950-1989 period to determine if I could discover other signs of juvenility. Just as some bluenoses slowed down “Louie, Louie” to see if they could find offensive lyrics, I have scrutinized bootlegs, alternate takes, and clandestine lyrics, and am now ready to report my findings.
Neil Diamond’s call to join “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” really included the line “Pack up the babies and grab all their rattles.”
In 1962 the musical question “What’s Your Name?” asked by Don and Juan was originally answered by the query “Goo Goo or Gaa Gaa?”
The antidote to the lament “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” wailed by the Electric Prunes was revealed in the understated line “But tonight I’ll keep the nightlight on.”
Billy “Crash” Craddock’s request to “Rub It In” once carried the added admonition “Don’t get any on my blanky.”
Elvis Presley knew the cure when declaring that “I Got Stung”: “Kiss it and make it betty-wetty.”
Chrissie Hynde was not pretending when she followed her demand to “Stop Your Sobbing” with “Or back in the cribbie you go.”
As Wilson Pickett was counting off the attractions in the “Land of 1000 Dances,” he slipped in “Do the ring around the rosie.”
While rolling with the changes REO Speedwagon slyly inserted “Roll back now with a nice fresh diapy.”
One version of Linda Ronstadt’s repeated scolding of “You’re No Good” carried the additional words “No num num for you.”
Lest anyone take “Morning Has Broken” too literally, Cat Stevens added the comforting line “Don’t cry. I’ll put it back together again.”
Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” was a little less somber with the hopeful lyric “But it ain’t the boogie man either.”
Amid the yelps of the strutting during the long fadeout of Warren Zevon’s “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money” listen closely for “Don’t forget my best pacifier.”
In the midst of imploring everyone to “Get Down Tonight,” KC and his sunny companions also told them to “Get on your jammies.”
As Frankie Laine was declaring that his heart knows what the wild goose knows, he was whispering to good boys and girls “I’ll read you some Mother Goose prose.”
While Pat Benatar was running with the shadows of the night, she advised caution to those following her lead: “Don’t fall down and get a bad owie.”
Jimmy Soul had a tuneful recipe for toddler bliss when he sang the rarely-heard verse “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, take a long nappy like a good little tyke.”
Nilsson cut the recipe when he cut the version of his drinking song with the repetitive line “You put the wawa in the coconut.”
Only a privileged few know that while Manfred Mann was staggering around blinded by the light he was playing pattycake with the silicone sister.
During “Flip, Flop, and Fly” Big Joe Turner worked in this incessant request: “Why don’t you go beddy-bye?”
In one take of “Kiss Me Deadly” Lita Ford started her seductive count with “Kiss me oncie, kiss me twosie.”
Cheap Trick knew everything was copacetic in the family when they surrendered the lyric “Mama’s all right, dada’s all right, they just seem a little coo coo.”
The ride on this “Magic Bus” comes to the end as the Who thank the driver for the “Ridey Widey.”
I am now considering the flip side of this matter: recordings with childish gibberish that may contain deeper meanings. So far I have determined that the babbling on Buzz Clifford’s “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” and the melodic monosyllables emerging from Jan and Dean’s “Baby Talk” are declarations of dissatisfaction over international maritime regulations, rampant deforestation in third world countries, or stale oatmeal that smells like caca.
My current struggle is with “Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu.” Dicky tells me “Do continue with your research,” but I think I will listen to the Don’ts.