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Beth Coulter

November 28, 2001

September 14, 2005













This Bird Has Flown

















Back in 1961, we all looked the same,

   And talked the same,

And thought the same;

Safety in conformity.


And the music that we listened to

On the AM top forty stations,

Helped us learn what to say,

What to think,

For there’s safety in conformity.


Girls were girls,

     Boys were boys,

And never the twain shall meet

(except in the backseat

     listening to the backbeat

On the AM top forty stations.)


The Beehive Hair-do’s were hard as a rock,

The BMOC was always a jock,

The ROTC was a favorite club,

And the military an honorable goal[1].


American Bandstand set the trend

And enforced the gender lines-

Sweet, young, nubile girls

Entranced by singing of American Heroes[2]

     And My Boyfriend’s Back

     He’s the Leader of the Pack[3]


And the girls danced like girls on the TV

And the boys really danced like boys[4]

With their well-groomed cuts

     And button-down shirts

Twisting for America on the Bandstand


Every girl took her cue from the teen idols of the day[5],

And every idol let them know

     What to be in every way.

Not only how to dress and dance,

But even how to think.

To agree to be objectified

Let me explain to you the link.



Girls were merely possessions

Obsessed with high school minutiae,

Busy with being worshiped afar,

Being owned, then driven away.

The girl was an object of desire

Or frittered her life away

With Will he love me tomorrow

And dreaming of One Fine Day.


So boys will be boys and their ears always show

Girls will be girls getting ready to go

(Do you hear the backbeat

while sitting in the backseat

On the AM top forty radio?)




There’s a difference in the backbeat

Sitting up in the backseat

Listening to a new sound on the AM dial


Sunday night there comes a roar

That screams out of every door

Ed Sullivan has a really big shew[6]

Four lads from Liverpool with a funny hairdo.

And the girls shriek and faint

It starts a new wave

On the top forty radio dial.


All of a sudden,

     Moptops were all the rage

For both the boys and the girls

While the parents hoped it was just a stage

     In development

An androgynous angst,

A Bohemian delusion,

A bit of gender confusion.


Hear the changing backbeat

From the front of the backseat

On the top forty AM station




Revolver is on the mind

The chicks are diggin’ softly

With the power that they have now

In the music of the Rubber Soul

With a group that’s known as NOW[7]

With a movement gaining steady,

Can you say “Norwegian Wood” now?


The girls they strut with self-assurance

Maybe you can drive my car

          They say,

These songs are about chicks being strong

     Out to make it their own way.


Don’t have to marry to move out

     From your mom and dad.

And for once a boy is saying

We can work it out

As you kick him out of your pad.


And listen to that backbeat

Get you out of the backseat

To really hear what’s on the station.


The four lads from Liverpool,

With their frou-frou frocks and long hair-dos

Saw the birds as more than things

Saw the chicks for what they’re worth

Singing hurt and praises to the moon.



The mother’s are reading The Feminist Mystique[8]

The father’s are writhing in pain

The girl’s aren’t going to take anymore

The Beatle’s just released Rain[9]

Getting down with the rhythm

Going inside the mind

We’ve gone transcendental

Doing pot instead of wine.


The counter culture blossomed

The girls took off their bra’s

The boys wore beads and flowers

Singing Ob la di Ob la da[10]


The woman-

          No longer an object

The man-

          No longer restrained,

There’s a blending of the sexes

A blurring of the gender lines

We are now retrained.


Being driven by the backbeat,

No longer driving from the backseat,

The girls can rock and roll.




















Rock Eras: Interpretations of Music and Society, 1954-1984

Jim Curtis, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987


The times were a changin’: The Sixties Reader

Irwin Unger and Debi Unger, Three River’s Press, 1998


A Hard Day’s Write

Steve Turner, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999

[1] Rock Eras 115

[2] ibid 85

[3] ibid

[4] ibid 87

[5] ibid

[6] 60’s Reader 160

[7] ibid 195

[8] 60’s Reader 200

[9] Hard Day’s Write 102

[10] ibid 153