Song Of The Day 2/8/2015: Little Milton - "Behind Closed Doors"

Quarterly Covers Report: Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors” from 1973 is one of the greatest country-pop crossover songs of that decade, up there with Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” and Little Sammy Turlock’s “Don’t Leave Your Heart in Petty Cash (When the CPA’s Out to Lunch).”

“Behind Closed Doors” was scandalous at the time because of its titillating lyrics – or should I say, its allegedly titillating lyrics, because there’s no indication what the singer and his intended are planning to do once they get behind the titular closed doors. We can assume, of course. We’d probably be right, unless some of us are holding out for an all-night Parcheesi tournament. But it was nowhere close to explicit. And it wasn’t as if nobody ever did what we assumed they did behind closed doors. If we’re one hot breath away from actually doing it, I don’t see the problem with a song that indicates they’ve taken all the necessary privacy and sound-baffling steps necessary to conceal what they’re planning on doing behind closed doors. What in the world could they possibly be complaining about? Are they upset they weren’t invited? Well, too bad, partner, this was 1973. Pay-per-view wouldn’t even happen for another seven years, and even then it was only for boxing. Perverts.

At points like this I wonder what the more conservative country music fans of the 1970’s thought about the cycle of life. I think a few of them just got their kids from the Piggly Wiggly. Anyway, bluesman Little Milton, one of the jewels of the Stax stable, recorded a cover of this song in 1974 in which he didn’t sound the least bit reserved or ashamed of what he was about to do behind closed doors. He practically advertises it. That’s Memphis for you. I like Memphis.

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