Songs That Freaked Me Out When I Was a Kid

So, it’s been a while, my friends.  You’ll be happy to know that I recently took one of those quizzes that everyone posts about on Facebook- you know the ones- the “What color are you?” and “What were you in your past life?” and “Why are you taking this meaningless quiz?” ones.  The recent one I took was a quiz to determine what my perfect career (or something like that) would be, and, since I already found out that my evil twin is Voldemort, I figured I’d give it a go.

Well, what do you know, the quiz determined that I should be a Writer, so, this is Destiny, folks.  Thus, I thought it very important that I try to write a little more in my spare time, rather than sitting in a t.v. land coma for hours on end.  Plus, the EPL final matches aren’t until Sunday, so, I’ve got some time.

Anyway.  Yesterday morning my lights were flickering a bit, and for some reason, the song, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” popped into my head.  And it got me to thinking about how that song freaked me out a little when I was a kid.  Now, I had to do a little searching on this particular song, because frankly, I had no idea of what the song was about.  I just know that a song about lights randomly going off in an entire state sounded very spooky and unnatural to my kid mind.  Plus, there was something about a hanging in there.  But, the lights going out…. that was really bad.

(On a side note, I thought I was mistaken in my search because many of the song references indicated “Vicki Lawrence” somewhere in the blurb.  I thought they meant a different Vicki Lawrence, that they couldn’t mean the Carol Burnett lady, or that the Carol Burnett lady had made a funny parody of the song.  Boy, was I surprised.)

So, yeah.  Songs about blackouts freaked me out.  Never mind the hanging part.

Now let’s move on to another song that popped into my head soon thereafter.  Linda Papa, you might appreciate this one.  It’s “Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves” by our beloved Cher.  (and I know, it’s “gypsies” not “gypsys”)  I actually really liked that song, but it was very confusing and a bit scary to my kid mind.  For one thing, someone in the narrator’s song “preached a little gospel,” and I have to say, preachers freaked me out a little (no offense to any of you preacher folk out there).  I didn’t know exactly what they were, but I knew they weren’t priests, and there was usually some kind of yelling and seizure activity happening in their presence, and that scared me.  Not to mention, this particular preacher was selling “Dr. Good,” and that didn’t seem like an honest thing for someone to do.

Plus, there were all sorts of other nefarious goings on in that song.  I didn’t know what the men in the night were laying their money down for, but it surely was something bad, because it’s a very dramatic line in the song.  Even my kid mind knew that something serious and weird was going on there.  Not good.

As I’m writing this, and before I get to my last two freaky songs, I thought of “Love Rollercoaster,” and I suppose I should throw this one in for good measure.  I think it was one of my New York cousins who planted the seed about the scream and the murder/someone falling to their death accompaniment in the background.  And once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it, and they didn’t have Wikipedia back then, so, for a pretty long time (until about ten minutes ago), I believed the legend.  That’s some scary crap for a kid to hear.  Worse than Justin Bieber.

A quick high-five goes to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” for bumming me out at a young age.  It’s just awful.  There was nothing confusing about what happened in that little ditty, and sometimes that’s even worse.  When you know that everyone died and they rang the church bells 29 times and some lake referred to as “Gitche Gumme” was surely some attempt at dark humor, because it sounded like something fun was going to happen there.  It didn’t.

And last on the list.  Probably my first heartbreak song that I can recall from my youth.  Another awful one.  It’s “Wildfire.”  You know, “she ran calling Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild-fire…. she ran calling Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild-fire….”  Ugh.  I want to cry just hearing that in my head.  No clue as to what that song was about (until about ten minutes ago), but I know there was a horse in there, and a storm, and the horse was lost, because the lady was running around looking for him.  A song about a horse lost in a storm was pretty much the ultimate awful thing that could ever be sung or written in my kid mind.  Heck, maybe even my adult mind.  I didn’t even care about the lady, I felt bad about the horse.

So, in thinking about all these wonderful songs from my youth, it brings to mind the question of whether the younger generation could write a blog post similar to this.  Since most of the songs I mention here freaked me out because I was confused about exactly what was going on, I’m guessing that the younger folk around here would have a bit of fodder for their posts.  Though, sadly, not overly prolific fodder.  “I was really freaked out by that song…. they kept beeping out words and my mother would never tell me what they meant!”

And, while their “confusing” songs may have been about wanton scenarios, and maybe some murders, and things that occurred during (actual) blackouts, it just isn’t the same.  Sure, I’m an old cranky lady now, but these folks have missed out, in my opinion.   They can just google the lyrics and avoid 38 years of confusion and angst.  That doesn’t seem right.

Someone should write a song about that.

2 Comments


    1. Sorry you had to read this all over again!! And apologies to anyone else who was wondering. See “You Are Here” for more info. Thanks, Libby!!

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