Wives and Lovers – Jack Jones (1963)
Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore
For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…
Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again
For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here…
Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love
Here we are. The most sexist song of the 1960s. “Wives and Lovers” by Jack Jones. It’s probably the most obscure song on the list, but I think you will agree that it deserves to be at the top. This has everything a person could hope for in a sexist ‘60s song. Ordering women around? Check. Emphasizing that a woman’s place is in the home? Check. Reiterating that it’s only natural for men to sleep around? Check. Offering demeaning advice to do everything you can to please your man and warning that he’ll leave you if you don’t? Check. Veiled threats of violence? Checkmate. It’s like Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis (who wrote the song and should get their fair share of the credit) distilled sexism in its purest form and smeared it all over Jack Jones smiling, white teeth. And speaking of Jack Jones — his condescending, smarmy, yet totally earnest and chipper delivery is half of what makes “Wives and Lovers” stand above all the other sexist songs – like a man standing above a woman after he slapped her for not having dinner on the table when he came home from a hard day at the office. And his dulcet tones – it’s no wonder this song won him a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance…
The curious thing for me is the style of the song. Even for the 1960s, this song sounds pretty dated, and makes me think of Frank Sinatra (who, incidentally, also covered this song — as did Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, among many others). It’s like a throwback to the 1940s, which makes me think there is a treasure trove of sexist songs from that era that I don’t know about. Sexist songs of the ’40s… now that’s a list I’d like to see!
So, there you have it. Just a little reminder, from me to you, that you’ve come a long way, baby!
As a special bonus for putting up with this list, here is Jack Jones’ poorly-conceived disco version of “Wives and Lovers” from 1979. Enjoy!
58 thoughts on “The 6 Sexistiest Songs of the ’60s — #1”
Technically, what might be said to be the “intent” of the advice — to not take your spouse (or partner) for granted — is excellent advice. The thing is — it is a two way street. What woman wants a guy who doesn’t make an effort? A strong marriage requires both spouses to make a 100% effort in lots of areas. So while keeping up in one’s appearance is generally appreciated by one’s spouse, so are being considerate, listening skills, sharing interests, sharing responsibilities, and so on. While the song is sexist and a sign of how things were, even then a good marriage was more than just looking good. But it was a sign of the times — I think you missed the biggest affront — calling a wife a “little girl”.
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Fix Your Makeup | Martha Strawbridge
This song was written to promote a movie of the same name. It’s apropos for the movie. Many women have sung it as well. Perhaps a little research on the song might have been in order. By the way, the song was written by Burt Bacarach and Hal David. It’s their song.
Thanks for writing in, DG. It appears that you didn’t see my comments under the song. I gave Burt Bacarach and Hal David full credit (or blame) for the creation of the song. I also pointed out that it was covered numerous times by different artists (including women) and provided links to their performances. I’d like to think that I did a fair amount of research. As for it being part of a movie, I feel that is irrelevant to the fact that it is extremely sexist.
Glad you included that gawdawful Wives and Lovers to occupy the #1 spot. I would have suggested that if you hadn’t. Also check out some of the jingles from product ads from the sixties. The one from Lux soap: A woman’s born to softness and that’s the way it is. A soft and magic creature a man can call his. This one I find especially repulsive.
This was quite entertaining. I don’t know why — but I woke up singing this song this morning. My dad used to listen to this song when I was a little girl. I couldn’t quite remember the lyrics — but I thought, “that sounds so sexist.” So naturally — when I googled the lyrics — I found this site.
Thank you for the chuckles.
Kudos for you posting. I remember this song as a kid and thought “I don’t want a relationship like that!!”
Geez. I love the song — thank goodness women are embracing their femininity again because at the end of the day : it’s about love.
I loved this song when I was little. I agree it’s sexist but it’s saying just because you married the guy, don’t let yourself go. It’s a message to the woman, but he shouldn’t either is implied. You should keep it alive and he should too. It never condones infidelity. He sees women at work that may be coming on to him and you should not let them be competition. It is sexist but in fun, just like “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain.
Mary Kay Applegate
LMAO — what kind of *controlling* love is that?! The dude full-on says he wants to sleep with women at the office… how sad for you.
One of the most ridiculous and annoying ideas that misogynistic men have tried to force into being accepted as fact is the blatant lie that men were “never meant for monogamy.” It’s that utter and complete garbage they’ve been using for ages as an excuse to justify bad behavior and to take the blame off of themselves. “It’s not my fault I screw anything that walks upright, I’m just a guy! It’s in my genes to sew my wild oats near and far! That’s how the cavemen did it! I am in no way responsible for my own actions and you’re just a needy, nagging, b!tch if you insist I choose between you or every other bipedal creature. Maybe you need a reminder of where your place is.《SLAP!》Now go get supper started.
*Oh, and we mustn’t forget the double standard. He should be allowed to be with how ever many women he wants without consequence or objection, but if she so much as looks at another man (and even if she didn’t but he is convinced she did) she should expect nothing short of a beat down. And she mustn’t get upset because she knows she deserved it.
It’s the whole Madonna-Whore complex.
It’s amazing how triggering this song is to some people.
Communism Is BAD
It’s amazing how triggering this song is to some people.
Communism Is BAD
More like *CALLING A SPADE A SPADE*… fail.
This old song went very well with crippling stiletto heels, lots of cleavage and woman dressing almost naked, often in faux bondage. And of course-thanks to the 70’s- women are free from all of these restrictions today, so we don’t need trouble our little heads any more about this garbage. Oh dear… no, hang on… wait a minute…!
As I was reading your post I got where you were going and started to chuckle. I agree, if anything, we are promoting an even worse scenario now! I refer to music videos, little girls clothing and the fact that people born in the 30s to 50s are still walking around keeping that mentality alive and well along with passing that Neanderthal attitude down to the next generation!
Yeah, but it really swings. Like music from the 60’s, not the 40’s. Great song.
Does it ever!
Listen to the hep stars song “sunny girl”, written by ABBAs very own Björn Ulvaeus. “She’s domestic, she’s property, she’s sweet like reed”.
Sorry, I meant Benny Andersson, not Björn.
what about Under my thumb…
“Under My Thumb” was on my mind when I made this list, but as I wrote in my intro, “In terms of the music, it helped if the songs were guileless, earnest, cheerful and not at all sexy (which is why the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” is not on the list).”
In the first “For Better or Worse” strip, we see the strip’s heroine, Elly Patterson, vacuuming in a bathrobe and slippers. The song Wives and Lovers comes on and Elly smashes the radio and keeps on vacuuming.
Jane M Byrne
You should protest.
I don’t care who wrote the song.ok Whenever I think of Burt Bacharach, from now on I’ll think of pigs. Chauvinist pigs. And I’ll be hungry for bacon, but not from him.
Yes the lyrics are representative of a time. So were many lyrics of the ’50s ‑60’s. In the 60’s women felt liberated to be open to sexuality. “Men will always be men”, Don ‘t be neive, Hal David tossed that in as an inside line. The secret to the hit; a pumping brass line w/ a 3/4 to 6/8 jazz beat. You can dance to this tune. Ladies, lighten up.
Murph — I love what you said. I’m a woman and I play jazz piano and I can not get enough of playing that tune. It’s embedded into my repertoire I don’t care WHAT the lyrics are. It’s that good.
Agree…great chord progression, melody and dynamics. Classy tune!
Your labeling of Wives and Lovers as “obscure” is very telling.
Your labeling of Wives and Lovers as “obscure” and “dated” is very telling.
Its a fantastic song — you women should get back to being women and be a little bit more appreciative of your men
Tru daht, Wazzap, such a snazzy tune. And I’ll get right to making that ham sammich for ya — while you pay all my bills, take me out to dinner and buy me nice clothes & jewelry. :snicker:
Fantastic song. Great era for real music !
I don’t have time. I got no shoes and 32 children
All Used Up
I don’t think anyone realizes that Wives & Lovers isn’t actually being sincere. This wasn’t proper even back in the 60s. It’s sexism was purposeful and supposed to be taken tongue in cheek back as it was written for inclusion in a comedy about cheating. Today’s generation is taking it a bit too seriously (from Mad Men) not actually understanding what it was actually like back in the 60s. This may seem incredible to millenials, but back in the 60s, we had big feminist and racial equality movements back then too. We weren’t culturally walking around unaware dragging our knuckles.
Very good point, julie651. Sometimes context gets lost as time goes by, especially when one part of a pop-culture piece (in this case, the song) has outlasted another (the movie). And your point about the ’60s equality movements should be remembered as well. Thanks for writing!
I heard the song a week or so ago on Pandora and couldn’t believe how sexist it was. Since then Wives and Lovers has been part of a discussion group on Social Conflicts in America, and conversations with my wife and others who remember it from the 60s. The Harvey Weinstein thing makes the song push even more buttons since so many women or girls at any time have remained silent about sexist offenses.
I frankly don’t know where to put the lyrics…as a satire of the time…as an offensive joke ofvthe time…a statement of relationships at a point in time.…or a real feeling that men will always have about women and their wives. I think the song may be something for men and women to think about. Is that what men really want even today?
At the risk of being male, I think that there is some truth in the song that men can’t cover up or admit to.…and women need to realize (awful as that sounds).
I am a stone cold feminist. But I like to look good for me. And the man I am married to. The song is dated, but like so many cultural and social habits of the 50’s and 60’s, it has some merit. In those days it was not unusual for people to think, “Now I am married. I don’t have try [to look good] anymore.” We all know that is untrue, especially now when people do not have to even get married to live together and can get divorced with no social stigma. If you are living with someone, make yourself presentable.
Gosh, I wasn’t supposed to take it seriously? I was a cute young mom I the 60’s madly in love with my handsome husband. I loved that song and would take the time before he walked in the door to look good, for him and for me, and to be ready for love. I would do it again. Don’t tell my frumpy liberated sisters.
I was 10 when “Time To Get Ready For Love” was released,and though it was about a middle-to-upper-middle-management type who might be tempted by his (in those days,inevitably) blonde secretary if his wife became slovenly,in this era of sexual harassment charges leading to the firing of all manner of executives,the
boys’ club atmosphere of that era wouldn’t fly with women (and men) on Jan.3,2018.
Excuse me,“Wives And Lovers” is the correct title,but everything else I typed is accurate!!! By the way,where is Jack Jones today?
I wonder how many men actually come home from a hard day at the office “ready for love?” Probably more like a bourbon than wine and a list a chores needing to be done. Sounds like “little girl” is setting herself up for disappointment.
I remember this song well. I also remember the 60s. During those “dark age” years, people had the mindset exactly like the lyrics state. We lived in a man’s world and women were treated as second class citizens. Many of you may be too young to remember those times. Prior to 1975, women could NOT get credit in their own name, could not buy a car or get a checking account without their husband’s “permission.” Let that sink in, as you listen to those demoralizing lyrics.
What’s the problem ? If you married the right guy, you wouldn’t have to worry about it ! hahahahaha
In the same year one of my favorite songs came out, ‘You Don’t Own Me” sung by Leslie Gore . This said it all and countered the above mentioned song. This song was sung by a younger person and addressed to teenagers. The other was geared towards the “housewife” . It shows how the younger generation back then would think about relationships and marriage .
I like the Sinatra version and I was born a feminist. His delivery doesn’t seem to imply ‑to my ear — anything being read into it.
“Don’t think of yourself as a sexless frump, you’re still somebody’s baby”. Imagine saying the reverse?
“That’s it married people- LET yourselves go. No one cares what you look like anyway. Your partner will never look at anyone at work either because he’s sexless now too.”
Darn right it’s sexist.I was married in 1965 at 16 to a commensurate momma’s boy.She told him he could and SHOULD make my life HELL.She’s been dead for years, and he’s still clinging to her mutilated rules.But hey.… Now I fight back, and he is the one getting HELL.
Born in the 50’s, couldn’t stand the song back then, no change today. Here’s some info about Jack Jones (granted, he didn’t write the song, but he was enamored with it, as it suited his style).
“Jones has been married six times. In the second half of the 1960s, Jones had a well-publicized relationship with actress Jill St. John and the two were briefly married. In the early 1970s, Jones married Gretchen Roberts. Subsequently, he was linked romantically to British actress Susan George. From 1976 to 1982, he was married to Kathy Simmons. From 1982 to 2005, he was married to British-born Kim Ely and they had a daughter, Nicole (born in 1991). The singer has another daughter, Crystal Thomas, from a former marriage to Lee Fuller. Jones lives with wife Eleonora in Indian Wells, in Riverside County, California.”
Guess he couldn’t find his perfect “little girl.” Bleh.
Vive la Difference, men, but don’t extend that notion to demeaning women. Of course, men are generally stronger, more aggressive and subject to overplaying their hand. Men would benefit from treating women as humans instead of as property… which we still don’t do as a society . They would more deeply enjoy the differences. As a male of the 1970’s and a clear recollection of the 60’s this song was all over the airwaves circa ’63. Since then, we have, as a society, grown, but many men still treat women as property or personal possessions. We may not be the only mammals to behave that way, but humans have the potential and, I would hope, the desire to change customs and mores by SELF-motivation. As much as we may deny it, we are still victims of socialization and hormones. Too bad, it may take another generation or two to approach the lofty goal of true equality. Some men…and women will always be neo-Neanderthals… Vive la difference !!!!!
This is amazing. 🙂
I looked up this song because it’s currently on rotation on my radio station (I blog from 55 years ago at galacticjourney.org; KGJ is one of our auxiliary projects) and boy is it awful. You hit the nail right on the head.
I totally agree with you about Wives and Lovers! That song was on the radio when I was a 5 or 6, and I thought it was awful then! My mom would spend all day taking care of three babies, and then this song would come on and remind her that she might not be perfect enough for Dad when he got home?
Offensive and loathsome beyond belief…
It’s vomit inducing
“ladies — lighten up?!”
See,that’s just it. Everyone is banning Seuss’ books rt now for being racist– yet any time a HIGHLY Offensive something-or-other against women comes out — we all need to get over it…
This dude here is EVERY stereotype displayed in the song. Bravo!
Funny how so many females–there are few “women” these days, such being an honorific title bestowed traditional beings who choose to retain their virtue and submit then marry strong men (of whom there are just as few, if not fewer) in their youth, thereby putting others before themselves–are so quick to label reasonable expectations and accountability as “sexist” because they’re unwilling to see the transactional nature of love, marriage, and family rearing.
If a man is willing to work his ass off so you don’t have to, the least you can do is have a warm meal waiting for him, keep the house clean and dishes washed, greet him when he returns, make yourself presentable so he’s not embarrassed to be seen with you in social situations, keep an uplifting and supportive mood so the weight of hierarchy and hardship isn’t worsened, stay physically fit so that he’ll remain sexually attracted to you for both your sakes, and “put out”. That last one is CRITICAL to maintaining long-term relationships and it’s found that couples who have sex daily, if not every other day, report higher levels of overall relational happiness and stay together longer.
Obviously, men should do THEIR part by working hard to be sole providers, staying fit to be an object of status and jealousy their wives can tote among friends and family and even more pleasurable to screw, stay emotionally strong and stalwart through tough times so that he can maintain the myth of unconquerable manliness that’s a comfort to beneficiaries, and competently lead the relationship but, there’s little point in doing all that if you cannot get a traditional woman.
After seeing Raquel Welch’s “performance” in the 1970 flick “Myra Breckinridge,” I thought the lyrics “Day after day, there are girls at the office“should have been updated to: “Day after day, there are girls in his orifice.”