Song Lyric Sunday — The Shame “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl” and Janis Ian “(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl”

Song Lyric Sunday is upon us, and the prompts this week are clear/dark/light, courtesy of Jim Adams. Now, some weeks I start my research looking for song titles or lyrics that fit the prompt. More often than not, I decide I want to write about (and listen to) a particular artist and look for the prompt words among that artist’s songs.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer lately, so I focused my search this week on their bassist/vocalist, Greg Lake. You may know that, before he became the “L” in ELP, he was a founding member of the seminal prog rock band King Crimson in 1969. Before those successes, he honed his craft in a few bands you’ve never heard of.

Lake was the lead singer in a little-known U.K. band, The Shame, when they recorded a cover of Janis Ian‘s “(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl,” originally released in January 1967 on her eponymous debut album. The Shame’s version, released as a single in the U.K. later the same year, is entitled “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl.” (Note, however, that Lake’s website pictures the single released in the U.S. on the Poppy label with Ian’s title.) While The Shame made a few minor changes in the lyrics, one really stands out.

Where Ian’s lyric is “Now, there is no escaping, and you’d enjoy a raping just to find out the facts of life,” Lake sings “Now, there’s no denyin’ you’re gonna end up cryin’ to find out the facts of life.” I haven’t been able to find any information to explain the reason for the radically different lyric.

Interestingly, neither Ian nor Lake sings the written lyric “Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales”. Lake sounds like he sings “Your mother’s wails and the daily news tales”.  Ian sings it differently every time it occurs. The first time it’s “Your mother’s aware of the Enquirer’s tales;” the second, it’s the “Daily News tales”. The final occurrence it’s “When your mother’s gone you continue to run”.

In any case, the changes must have been acceptable to Ian; after Lake’s death she posted on Facebook that they had “intended to do a bunch of writing together.”

Here are videos (audio only) of both The Shame’s and Ian’s versions. Enjoy!

 

 

(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl

Janis Ian

Don’t go out in the street, little girl
and don’t go out into town
You don’t know who you’ll meet, little girl
There are bad men around
Your mother, she’s in love with you
She tells you, you shouldn’t go with guys
So go to bed at ten, let your mama tuck you in
and turn on your Mickey Mouse night-light
Then you make it with your mind

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

Don’t go into the park, little girl
You know those men are all the same
Stay inside alone after dark, little girl
Boys want just one thing
Don’t talk about sex, you might get hexed
God’ll punish you for your dirty mind
Now, there is no escaping, and you’d enjoy a raping
just to find out the facts of life
Mama says – Maintain your pride

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

Don’t go into your mind, little girl
The windows, they’re only made of glass
Don’t let me catch you trying to pry, little girl
Mirrors of illusion tumble fast
You’re too far gone for anyone
I’d like to help, but I can only sigh
You’d best maintain your mama’s pride
’cause you lost yours the time
you obeyed when she said “Don’t fraternize”
No place to hide

Don’t go out into town, little girl
Stay safe in the house, little girl
Your mother’s stares, and the Enquirer’s tales
keep you hiding, denying

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

 

7 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — The Shame “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl” and Janis Ian “(Too Old To) Go ‘Way Little Girl”

  1. Really nice music. I like both versions of this song and I think the change may have been mage because although escaping and raping rhyme, they don’t sound as well as denyin’ and cryin’, or maybe they disliked the whole idea of forced intercourse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is new to me! A little morbid, but I’m sure plenty of kids live a life they want to escape. Reminds me of Mommie Dearest. Either way, mama has a real paranoia & is controlling. Pretty negative song but I like the melody. Perfect for the prompt! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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