Sex songs — where would rock and roll be without them? Next to the music itself, there’s no more important component or motivational force behind every kid who ever dreamt of achieving super stardom. There’s no use in denying it; we all know it’s the truth deep down, or should we say “Waaaaaayyy down insiiiiiide?” So join us as we celebrate classic rock’s Top 10 Sex Songs.
Let’s not be coy, now, but rather jump right into the deep end of sexual double entendres with Def Leppard’s none-too-subtle ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me.’ Though it was a late addition to the multi-platinum, years-in-the-making ‘Hysteria’ album, and fourth in line for release as a single, it was this song that catapulted LP sales from huge (three million) to humongous (10 million-plus) and eventually became their most famous tune.
Released precisely two weeks after ‘Hysteria’ and cut from much the same hair metal cloth (spandex, to be precise), ‘Permanent Vacation’ became Aerosmith’s long-awaited career comeback from the very depths of dysfunction and drug abuse. But it was their next LP, ‘Pump,’ that solidified the veteran group’s unlikely second coming and delivered ‘Love in an Elevator’ — a song that revealed entirely new ways of “getting up” and “going down,” and did so years before the introduction of Viagra, no less!
Let’s roll back the years (and the sheets) now — back to the ’70s — as we dip into Bob Seger’s great catalog for the next entry in our list of Top 10 Sex Songs, with ‘Night Moves.’ On first glance, this song too appears to hurt for a little lyrical nuance (see “And points all her own sitting way up high”), but keep in mind the youthful protagonists and their earnest attempts to “lose those awkward teenage blues,” and you’ll realize they actually fit the message just about right.
Rod Stewart’s list of female conquests — if he’d had the time to keep tabs on it over his 40-year career — would leave even Gene Simmons absolutely green with envy, and the sultry dance of seduction performed by ‘Tonight’s the Night,’ as it shot to No. 1 on the American charts, proved literally nobody’s panties were safe from Mr. Stewart’s charms. Especially with that notorious, MTV-predating music video, which helpfully left very little to the imagination.
Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers is another rock star who never had to work too hard to to make new lady friends; but he too made a point of masking his sexual advances with words of romance on this Top 10 hit from Bad Company’s sophomore album. And, like so many songs released by Rodgers, Ralphs, Kirke and Burrell, ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ exemplified the very model for simple, straightforward seduction through classic rock.
We just had to include the Beatles somewhere on our list of Top 10 Sex Songs, and while so many of the Fab Four’s tunes engaged in unrequited love or, at most, very discreet erotic wordplay, they sure let it ALL hang out on ‘I Want You (She’s so Heavy).’ Indeed, over the course of these eight, tension-filled minutes, John Lennon’s exasperated vocal leaves no doubt about the depths of his attraction to Yoko Ono, so can you really blame Paul, George and Ringo for often wishing they’d just get a room, already?
Here’s another lengthy dissertation about turning up the heat courtesy of the Doors, who set countless hearts (and other, assorted body parts) aflame with their first and biggest hit, ‘Light My Fire.’ Furthermore, as much as this was largely accomplished thanks to the Lizard King’s daringly direct, come-hither lyrics, credit is also due to his bandmates (and organist Ray Manzarek, in particular) for the song’s extended instrumental midsection, which served as musical foreplay for many listeners.
Talk about direct! Few bands wasted as little time with pre-tryst formalities as the boys in AC/DC. For all the songs they wrote (and played) in double time so as to cut right to the chase, none laid things out as clearly or, errr, eloquently, as ‘Back in Black’’s super single, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ In fact, it’s almost difficult to believe Bon Scott wasn’t around to sing it, but we feel he was there in spirit, at least, when Brian Johnson gave it his best shot, instead.
Of course Angus Young and company would be the first ones to admit they learned almost everything they know about sex and rock and roll from the Rolling Stones. Hey, we all did, and that’s why ‘Brown Sugar’ is as great a sex song as any to represent the band’s numerous contributions to the form, with its copious references — both thinly veiled and overt — to all kinds of sexual thrills and carnal taboos. Why, Mick Jagger himself would later admit that he just tried to jam every naughty thing he could think of into the song’s lyrics, and worry about the consequences later. You go, Mick!
We wrap things up with perhaps the only band that could go toe-to-toe with the Stones in terms of the volume and sheer outrageousness of their sexual escapades, on tour all over the world (and elsewhere): Led Zeppelin. Frankly, one can simply never overstate Zep’s impact on the state of rock and roll the debauchery throughout the ‘70s. Of all their songs, their breakout hit ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is probably most responsible for getting that ball rolling. Heck, Robert Plant’s visceral moans and cries alone surely make this one of the most sexually charged songs in history, and therefore the perfect climax for our list.
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