Thursday, June 28, 2012

The 10 Sexiest "Let's Get it On" Songs According to Go Retro

Image via Retrospace Tumblr
"Best of" lists are subjective--we all know that. But when I learned about Billboard's 50 Sexiest Songs Of All Time list and saw some of the choices, I was dumbfounded. For example, they (or, perhaps, the people they polled--I couldn't quite determine how the list was compiled) actually gave the top honor to Olivia Newton-John's "Physical." Physical! Don't get me wrong; it's a great song, and it's definitely sexy. But the sexiest? I have to disagree with that. After looking through all fifty songs, I was flabbergasted that my personal top choice wasn't even included, and I think without a doubt that it's the sexiest song of all time to ever be laid on vinyl (no pun intended.) So it only made sense to address it and pull together my own personal list of all-time sexy songs that, without fail, cause me to start thinking about sweet love makin'. Like I said, this is purely opinion based, but I think at least some of you may agree that there were some glaring omissions from Billboard's list. 

Before we get to my list, here's the top ten according to Billboard:

10. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - Rod Stewart
9. "Kiss You All Over" - Exile
8. "Like a Virgin" - Madonna
7. "Do That To Me One More Time" - Captain and Tennille
6. "Hot Stuff" - Donna Summer
5. "Let's Get It On" - Marvin Gaye
4. "Too Close" - Next
3. "I'll Make Love To You" - Boyz II Men
2. "Tonight's the Night" - Rod Stewart
1. "Physical" - Olivia Newton-John

I think my choices are going to make it obvious that I'm not into rap or hip-hop. None of them were written after the 80s. Also, I had to limit it to 10 tunes or I'd be writing a thesis, but it might be worth expanding it to my top 25 or 50 songs sometime. Enough yammering; here's my list:

10. "Sugar Walls" - Sheena Easton
There's a reason why this Prince composition was on Tipper Gore's "Filthy Fifteen" list, even though the true meaning was lost on a lot of kiddies and tweens (including myself) when it was first released. Despite the blatant lyrics ("blood races to your private spots...lets me know that there's a fire") we just thought it was about a woman who lived in a candy house.

9. "I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Beatles
The Beatles weren't known for turning out crotch squirming melodies, but there's something hypnotic and obsessive about Paul McCartney's relentless bass line and the spartan lyrics that makes this one sexy in my eyes. Written by John Lennon, it makes a nice companion to Paul's "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?" 

8. "Let's Spend the Night Together" - The Rolling Stones
No hidden message here. When the Stones sang this on The Ed Sullivan Show, they were forced to change the lyrics to "let's spend some time together"--with Mick Jagger visibly showing his disagreement by rolling his eyes. When Ed Sullivan's producers want you to tone it down, pat yourself on the back, because you know you've turned out a fine, racy song.

7. "Light My Fire" - Jose Feliciano
A strange omission from Billboard's list, and when the original by The Doors was performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, Jim Morrison famously refused to alter the lyrics. But I think I favor the acoustic guitar cover by Jose Feliciano. His version transcended The Doors' version into the sultriness stratosphere.

6. "Afternoon Delight" - Starlight Vocal Band
C'mon, you know you love this song. If you don't, Ron Burgandy will fight you. 

5. "So Into You" - Atlanta Rhythm Section
I know, this one comes out of left field. "Imaginary Lover" was this band's greatest hit in the U.S., but I think "So Into You" trumps it any day. It may be about first sight infatuation, but the...well, rhythm and lyrics are so 70s seductive: "Gonna love you all over...over and over. Me into you, you into me, me into you."

4. "Let's Get It On" - Marvin Gaye
Oddly enough, it isn't a favorite of mine but I think it would be a travesty to leave it off a list of this kind. Ironically, the original concept of the song didn't have any sexual overtone to it whatsoever; Gaye wrote it with a political overtone. His songwriting partner Ed Townsend encouraged him to rewrite it, cementing its place in sexy song history. I wonder how many children have been conceived to it.

3. "Urgent" - Foreigner
One of the instruments I miss hearing in mainstream music is the saxophone. For this Foreigner single, the band recruited Junior Walker for the sax solo (Thomas Dolby helped out on synthesizers.) This song is a symphony of sirens and screeching tires that just screams, "I need you, and I need you now."

2. "Love to Love You Baby" - Donna Summer
Any song that contains (according to Time Magazine) 22 orgasms has to make the list. That leads in nicely to my number one choice...

1. "Je t'Aime... moi non plus" - Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
Seriously, how is this song nowhere to be found on Billboard's list? A duet that Gainsbourg originally recorded with Bridget Bardot, it was banned in several countries for being considered too erotic and even the Pope spoke out against it (which Gainsbourg said was the best PR the song ever received.) 

Are we all hot and bothered now? Which songs would go on your list? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Douche-y Advertisements

Warning: what we're about to discuss today on Go Retro may make some readers uncomfortable, particularly the male ones. We're going "down there." We're talking about douche advertisements. These feminine hygiene products seem to have a prominent place in advertising history. Flip through any women's magazine from the 1970s and you're bound to come across some douche ads. It seems to have been the Decade of the Douche -- if you'll pardon my language. I could never figure it out, because by the 1970s, the birth control pill was readily available to both single and married women, and therefore douching products were no longer thought of as a means of birth control. (The dirty little secret about douches before the pill was introduced is that they were delicately disguised as spermicides.)

Perhaps it was the sexual revolution that led advertisers to think that women were suddenly paranoid about constant cleanliness and odor in the genital know, smelling good for their sexual partners. However, I sense a double standard's not like a man's crotch couldn't use a little help in this department from time to time (see the end of this post for Stephen Colbert's solution!) 

Douching products eventually fell out of favor because the general consensus among most doctors and health experts today is that douching is simply not necessary, thank goodness. In fact, they can do more harm then good by throwing off the natural PH levels in this part of the body, leading to yeast infections and other problems. The va-ja-jay has often been compared to a "self cleaning oven" as long as you shower/bathe regularly. Summer's Eve launched a new advertising campaign last year (using a hand to simulate a talking vagina) to reintroduce women to its products, but I've yet to meet a woman who admits to actually buying any of them. Besides, I think the vintage ads are more amusing.

So without further ado, here's some douche ads from the past century...most of these came from the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health (yes, there really is such a site; check it out sometime) except for where otherwise noted.

"Using the wrong disinfectant may lead to very serious consequences." Like getting knocked up! At least, I think that's the subliminal message this 1928 Lysol ad seems to give. Little Junior waving goodbye to his parents seems to be an only child, so it must be working! 

By the way, the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health reprinted this letter from an 89 year-old woman who had seen the above advertisement on their site. According to her testimonial, douches apparently were effective as a means of birth control: 

"I'm going on 89 years YOUNG . . . LOL . . . and was very amused by the Lysol douche ad. I don't know if I'm "still the girl my husband married" as I have pretty bad osteoarthritis (could it have been the Lysol?), but used Lysol as a douche and contraceptive ever since I married at age 17!! I had two children, both sons who turned out very well, in spite of the Lysol!! LOL

It's rather funny as I used it every day for many, many years because back in the early days, we didn't have the "Pill" and Lysol was used after "the act" to prevent unwanted pregnancies by just about every lady I knew, including my mother and grandmother who had just ONE child each."

I'm rather impressed that an 89 year-old grandmother is hip to what "LOL" means!

"It's foolish to risk your marriage happiness by being careless about feminine hygiene--even once!" The shame tactic was always quite popular when promoting intimate products.

Via FoundinMomsBasement
I love how Zonite was promoted as "safe for delicate tissues"...considering its prime ingredient was sodium hypochlorite...which is more commonly known as bleach or clorox. Not exactly the kind of thing one would want to be squirting into their nether regions. As early as 1914, Zonite was advertised as a multi-purpose household cleaning and personal care solution that did everything from disinfecting baby bottles to functioning as mouthwash (yuck.)

Via FoundInMomsBasement
By the 70s, douche ads were more straightforward--they really were advertised as eliminating odor. But did the contraptions really need to be this complicated?

Via Year of Denim
Not a douche ad; this one is for a feminine spray product, another women's consumer item that hit its stride during the 70s. This Vespre ad ran in Dolly, an Australian women's magazine that helped inspire the launch of Sassy. It's hysterical because I cannot imagine telling another woman that she has "intimate odor." And how would the other woman know unless her face had been right up against the blond's crotch? That must be some stench! 

About a year ago, Stephen Colbert poked fun at the modern Summer's Eve advertising and responded with a product of his own...hysterical! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One Ad Too Good Not to Share: The Portrait Pillow

Via MewDeep on Flickr
Sweet dreams are made of this...the Portrait Pillow was apparently the young woman's answer to blow-up dolls for men. The concept of having your crush's image printed onto a piece of fabric you sleep with every night ("to have and hold forevermore") seems creepy to me. Although, there does seem to be a double standard when it comes to these fantasy-inducing products...I could see where people thought this idea was cute, when blow-up dolls were just weird. I wonder how many orders the company actually received--perhaps it's best that the number remains a mystery.

Does anyone recognize the 'stached dude who's on the pillow? He looks like someone who was actually in a 70s' band but I cannot place him.

Special thanks to MewDeep on Flickr for giving me permission to post the ad!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When Foreign Movie Posters of American Films Fail

So picture this: you're a graphic artist working in a foreign country, and you've been tasked with designing a poster of a popular American film for your nation's audience. Pretty simple, right? Except that you've probably never seen the film in question or know much about it, especially if you're in a communist nation. At least I'm hoping that scenario explains what the hell happened to these posters I'm about to show you...

Deliverance, Yugoslavia

Looks like someone in Yugoslavia confused Deliverance with The Fantastic Voyage. At least they didn't try to visually interpret the "squeal like a pig" scene.

Alien, Poland

I don't even know what the heck we're supposed to be looking at here. This artist's interpretation of Alien is that it's a movie about a creature who melts the flesh off of your head, leaving your eyeballs, ribcage, and veins behind. Or maybe that's supposed to be the facehugger in the shape of the egg it came from. 

Easy Rider, Czech Republic

Hey, how come I don't remember the half horse/half man creature and naked lady playing a piano in Easy Rider? There's no explanation for this except that it's a scene from the acid drop sequence that ended up on the cutting room floor, or the artist dropped acid before drawing the poster. 
King Kong, Belgium

King Kong is depicted as such a badass ape in Belgium that not only did he defeat the dinosaur (or in this case, a giant snake) and climb the Empire State building, but he took on the shark from Jaws AND the Titanic. Upon second look, since the poster says the film is shown in color, it may have been for one of the remakes of King Kong, but...still.  

The Blob, France

You're probably wondering what possible complaint I could have about a movie poster that shows a shirtless, totally ripped Steve McQueen. This actually is a freaking awesome movie poster in my eyes, except that Danger Planetaire is a French movie poster for The Blob. Really! It looks like a movie poster for a Steve McQueen film from the 70s and not the late 50s; there were no helicopters or skyscrapers in The Blob, and the female lead certainly didn't look (or dress) like the hot chick in the artwork. And Steve looks like The Towering Inferno version of himself, not the fresh faced young man who starred in the 1958 movie. That being said, of all of the posters here this one rocks, and it's heads and tails above this disgusting spectacle: 

Bullitt, East Germany

No words, really...well, except for one: WTF. I want to punch the East German artist who did this to Steve McQueen's face. This looks like Max Headroom on quaaludes.

Tootsie, Poland 

Why can't these countries just use an actual screenshot from the film, or promotional photos? There must be some international copyright laws that prevents the usage. Dustin Hoffman didn't have a beard in the movie and he did a way better makeup job to transform himself into Tootsie than this dude. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poland

Two more gems from the homeland of my ancestors that defy explanation. The first one, at least, makes some sense as the illustrator crammed in every scene from the movie but not Harrison Ford himself or the ark. The second one, I imagine, was the result of a conversation something like this:

First artist: "You know, there's a lot you can do with Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can show Harrison Ford in the snake pit, or fighting the Nazis, or rescuing his lady, or-"

Second artist: "Nah. I think I'm just going to cover his head with red and call it a day." 

Needless to say, these examples really help me appreciate the designers behind the American versions all the more. 

Sources: all of these came from except for Danger Planetaire which came from The Films of Steve McQueen Facebook page

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One Ad Too Good Not to Share: The Daddy Saddle

The first time I ever saw this advertisement, I thought it had to be a Photoshopped joke. My second thought was that the tagline should say, "Great for play with Mommy, too!" But the product is genuine--there are images of the packaging floating around online. The Daddy Saddle should easily make any "worst toys ever" list. I'm all for interacting with your kids, but I can imagine after just a few minutes toting your heavy kid PLUS a plastic saddle around your back, you'd be ready to chuck this thing into a bonfire (despite the ad copy that you'll have "hours of fun"--yeah, right!) No surprise that Kenner didn't make this item for too long. And don't even think about sticking it on a box--it's not the same, and you know it: just look at the little girl in the corner with the sad sack face! 

Happy Father's Day, and may your kid(s) never get you a Daddy Saddle!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Blob(fest) is Coming!

When I posted about The Blob a few weeks ago, Mod Betty of the ultra-cool retro themed travel site reminded me about Blobfest, the annual festival that pays homage to the 1958 camp horror classic. Betty lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where the festival takes place--and where much of the movie was filmed. Blobfest 2012 is being held from July 13th-15th, and does it sound like a gas! Next year, I'm SO there! 

How did the movie end up being made in Phoenixville, a Philadelphia suburb? According to The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the movie was financed by its producer, Jack H. Harris, who ponied up money from his family's life insurance policies to make the film. With a limited budget, Phoenixville was chosen as the setting since it was close to Philadelphia (where Harris lived) and many locals participated in the filming. It may be a small claim to fame, but it's one the townspeople celebrate to this day with pride.

Party central is pretty much The Colonial Theater, which was the theater featured in the film where hundreds of terrified moviegoers ran from the Blob, which poured out the front doors. No surprise, the weekend kicks off Friday night (Friday the 13th!) with a reenactment of that pinnacle clip from the movie, called the Blobfest Run Out. Tickets are required to participate in the running; they're sold out according to the site and I suspect they have been for some time. Here's what the 2009 running looked like; keep your eyes open for the Don Draper type around the 0:27 mark who casually strolled out and checked his watch while everyone else around him screamed. 

And just for fun, here's the clip of that scene from the movie:

Sadly, you won't see the diner as it's miles away (not across the street like in the film) but there are all sorts of shenanigans abound for vintage fans all weekend long at this fest. There's a street fair showcasing classic car displays, vintage and sci-fi-inspired arts and crafts vendors selling goods, live music, food, costume contests and more. In addition to this, The Colonial Theater will be airing The Blob several times over the course of the weekend as well as other classic sci-fi/B horror movies. 

Check out all of the details and events here. Thank you, Mod Betty, for the tip. Watch for me next year dressed 50s style running out of the theater!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Personal Rant

I normally do not push personal agendas on this blog, but now that Go Retro has attracted an ample audience I simply cannot keep my mouth shut any longer about something that has been seriously bothering me. And here it is.

For the love of (Charles Nelson) Reilly, DO NOT ABANDON AN ANIMAL TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES. ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS. They do! I wish that anyone who does this would be forced to live out on the streets in the winter for at least a week to see how it feels.

Speaking from personal experience, I can count on both hands the number of stray cats who have found their way into my mother's yard, that we either took in or brought down to the shelter where they were adopted by loving homes. Many of these cats (like our current boy, Moose) were already altered--which means at one time they had a home, but were apparently kicked out or left behind because some cruel and lazy SOB didn't want to take the time to bring them to a shelter, or locate a good home for them.

And you know what really gets my panties into a wad over this issue, is that it's FREE to surrender an animal to an ASPCA shelter. They only ask for a $50 donation, but it's completely VOLUNTARY. You have nothing to lose by doing the responsible (and kind) option here!

The latest kitty, who has been coming into our porch for food for over a year now (you should have seen how nervous she was when my mother first started feeding her, but now she's calm and sweet as can be) is a mother herself. I suspected she had kittens because she has three nipples that are protruding. Sure enough, a kind neighbor who lives one street over told my mother that she was in her yard recently with three babies and said she would call my mother immediately if she sees them again. When my suspicions were confirmed, it made me sick to my stomach. We've had coyotes going through our area at night in the past. She crosses at least one street to reach our home for food. It breaks my heart to think that anyone could be so rotten to not care enough about this cat's welfare. We cannot keep her in the room attached to the porch overnight since she needs to be with her kittens, which we suspect are in a barn a few streets over.

We're hoping she eventually brings the kittens to us...then we could bring them to the local MSPCA (which we learned does NOT put cats to sleep unless they are extremely feral and cannot be handled) so they can receive their shots, be fixed, and put up for adoption. My mother wants to keep the mama cat and have her fixed as well. At least she's getting plenty of nourishment at our house so she can feed her babies.

So again...PLEASE...a pet is a responsibility and a family member, not a piece of trash! There is NO excuse for ever abandoning a pet. Man up or woman up and do the responsible thing. Contact your local ASPCA (link here) to find a shelter near you. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (America's largest no-kill shelter) is another great resource; they network with shelters and animal foster parents throughout the country to spread the word about animals who need a loving home, no matter where you live.

If you don't care about animals, I'm sending this guy to seriously kick some sense into your a$$:

Thanks for letting me rant, and now back to the retro programming.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Two Forgotten Friday Favorites: Herb Reed and the Platters

Photo from Photo credit Gilles Petard/Redferns)
We've been losing musical heavyweights at an alarming rate this year. The latest notable singer to pass away is Herb Reed, the founder and one of the original members of the group The Platters. He was 83. 

Reed named his group after the slang word DJs called records back in the day, which was platters. My mother and I saw a younger group perform a couple of years ago who called themselves The Platters; not sure if they were in any way affiliated with Reed, but they performed all of their hits including Twilight Time, Only You, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, The Great Pretender and more. What I remember most from the show was how the audience literally swooned when they began Only You -- a song that was later covered by Ringo Starr and Diana Ross, among others. It seems good old fashioned love songs are becoming harder to come by, especially on today's modern radio stations. 

So with that, today's Two Forgotten Friday Favorites is dedicated to The Platters. RIP Herb Reed. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Updates to Go Retro

Photo via Force-G on Flickr
Just a quick note that in the coming weeks, I'm going to be making some updates to the labels section of Go Retro. I'm a fan of using little icons/graphics for labels like I've seen on other retro blogs; I think it makes finding posts for a particular topic a lot easier for readers, and I'm also going to be cleaning up the label list. As a result, I have no idea if previously published posts that receive updates show up in the Blogger reader or the subscription feed, so just a heads up in case that gets annoying for anyone.

I'm also thinking of sprucing up the banner--maybe a refresh of the design and famous folks appearing in it. Rest assured, this minor design work won't deter from the blog delivering the same dose of vintage fun as it's always had. More to follow!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Ross Sisters

Via The Health Blog
There's a chain email making its way across the web that incorrectly attributes a video of three singing contortionists from the 1940s to The Andrews Sisters. When I watched the video, I sadly shook my head. As the author of a retro blog, few things sadden me more than people who are ignorant about their retro pop culture history, so I thought I would take a moment to enlighten the masses. 

The video is actually of The Ross Sisters, a trio of ladies whose stage names were Aggie Ross, Elmira Ross, and Maggie Ross (their real names were Veda Victoria, Dixie Jewel, and Betsy Ann Ross.) Their vocals were very much like that of The Andrews Sisters, but these ladies had additional talents in acrobats and contortionism. According to the Internet Movie Database, they had a very short lived career in the movies, only appearing in one film called Broadway Rhythm in 1944. After that, they appeared on stage in a London play called Piccadilly Hayride

All three married and faded from the spotlight, except for Betsy Ann (Aggie), who married a dancer, Robert "Bunny" Hightower, and appeared with him on The Ed Sullivan Show several times. Bunny, unfortunately, suffered from alcoholism and schizophrenia and beat her within an inch of her life. Dixie Jewel (Elmira) passed away at the young age of 33 in 1963; the cause of death I could not track down.

It's baffling that the ladies didn't enjoy more popular commercial success -- the remarkable clip below of them performing Solid Potato Salad from their Broadway Rhythm appearance blew my mind. Holy smokes, you have to not only be flexible to do this kind of stuff, but incredibly strong, too. And by the way, this is not to detract from The Andrews Sisters, who were phenomenal singers and performers. The Ross Sisters just had a different kind of talent:

I wasn't so much bothered by the fact that people may not know who The Ross Sisters were; after all, they never became a household name. It was the fact that some folks cannot recognize The Andrews Sisters. Hopefully this clears things up any confusion. If anyone sends you the chain email, you know where to send them to!

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