Friday, January 06, 2017

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

No subject has ever made such a popular subject for song as love. As long as humans have been making music, love’s far and away the top choice of lyricists to write about. Writing and discussing Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch, however, got me to thinking. Amid all that blissful romance, the darker flipside beckoned, and prostitution served as the inspiration for more than a few memorable songs. The Greeks and Romans sang about prostitutes, and minstrels in the middle-ages were more than a little bawdy. Cowboys of the American West favored songs so scandalous they could strip the needles from a cactus. It’s no wonder, then, that popular music of the modern era has produced countless songs about prostitution as well.

What follows in the coming weeks is a countdown of the top 10 songs (as compiled by yours truly) about prostitution of the modern era that were not inspired by the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel of La Grange, Texas. Between The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack and ZZ Top’s “La Grange” (not to mention works by Willis Alan Ramsey, Billy Joe Shaver, the Austin Lounge Lizards and numerous others), the Chicken Ranch would simply have an unfair advantage.

4. “Love for Sale” – Cole Porter
“Love for Sale” is the only song on this list attributed to the songwriter rather than the performer, because Cole Porter was in a class all by himself. Originally penned for the Broadway play “The New Yorkers,” the song’s blunt lyrics earned it a blanket ban from radio airplay and generated such scandal that the play was reworked to assign it from a white actress to a black one—such were the racial attitudes of the time. The song—as with all of Porter’s work—has been covered by many, many artists, but perhaps the most affecting is Billie Holiday’s rendition. Considered in relation to her own troubled history with prostitution and addiction, it takes on a powerful poignancy.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Flight of the Conchords.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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