Monday, December 3, 2018

Musical Monday - Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 27, 1980 through October 18, 1980.

The Police make their first appearance at the top of the charts in the 1980s with a skeevy song about an affair between a teacher and his teenage student. Even that description kind of sells the skeeviness of the song short, because the lyrics lay the blame for the affair upon the teenager's infatuation with the teacher, essentially shifting the responsibility away from the adult and onto the child. This was not the last time that the Police topped the charts with a song that had creepy lyrics, which I didn't really think about at the time, but kind of makes the band seem kind of skeevy in retrospect.

I want to be clear, this song was kind of skeevy at the time it was released, and has only become more so as time has gone by and incidents of inappropriate relationships between teachers and underage students have peppered the news. The only real difference was that in the 1980s you could get away with doing a kind of "wink, wink, nudge nudge" excuse for this sort of material, whereas now this sort of sexual predation is taken more seriously - probably not a seriously as it really should be, but more seriously. This cultural shift is also what has made some classic movies kind of creepy now - the statutory rape storyline in Animal House was once just silly fun, but now seems gross, the rape by deception storyline in Revenge of the Nerds and the rape of an unconscious woman in Sixteen Candles were once seen as almost "romantic", but now seem pretty vile. The world changes, and in this case, I think it has changed for the better.

Previous Musical Monday: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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