Society can sometimes be a little hard on the prostitutes that walk our streets. Reviled for having fantastically hideous fashion, bad language, non-existent breeding and inverted morals, like lambs to the slaughter we push them to the fringes of society. I mean look at Julia Roberts – how badly did she get treated by the Beverly Hills biatch on Rodeo Drive because she looked like a hot tamale? And what with prostitutes being the desired target of many a serial killer, it’s kind of hard out there. Once I was approached to work for the Salvation Army – an organisation that famously wanted to save fallen women; those ladies who had fallen from their feminine graces. I chose not to go, maybe it was because I felt those fallen women needed – no need a hand up, not a (violent) shove down.
This playlist is dedicated to the fallen women. Your work can be dirty, dangerous & sometimes deadly. Here are 15 songs for you, with select reviews on these masterpieces
Roberta (Joel) – Roberta, how I’ve adored you/I’d ask you over but I can’t afford you/ oh, I wish you’d take the time/ oh, I wish you’d take the time
Joel offers Roberta the chance of escape. Will she quit the biz for the penniless musician or continue with her career. A storyteller of the Shakespearean variety and a perfect starting point.
The Heat is on in Saigon (Miss Saigon cast) – If I’m your pin-up, I’ll melt all your brass/ Stuck on your wall, with a pin in my ass/ If you get me, you will travel first class/ I’ll show you, we will make magic, chéri
Private Dancer (Turner) – Deutschmark or dollar/ American Express will do nicely for you…
Starting with a jaded synthesizer, an extended sigh and the solitary bars of the piano, this really is Tina’s best track and represents the dreams of the future against the gritty desperation of the present. A fantastic number.
Roxanne (The Police) – Roxanne, you don’t have to put on a dress tonight/ wear that dress/ walk the streets for money/ you don’t care if it’s wrong or it’s right
Call Me (Blondie) – Cover me with kisses, baby/ cover me with love/ roll me in designer sheets/ I’ll never get enough
The Pretty Woman type of fallen women. A call girl speaking multiple languages and offering her services 24-7. A classic of soft rock.
Charlotte the Harlot (Iron Maiden) – Don’t you care who you let in?/ and don’t you know you’re breaking/ the law with the service you’re giving?
Lovely Ladies (Les Miserables cast) – Lovely ladies/ waiting for a bite/ waiting for the customers/ who only come at night/ Lovely ladies/ ready for the call/ standing up or lying down/ or any way at all/ bargain prices up against the wall
Bad Girls (Summer) – You ask yourself, who they are?/ Like everybody else, they come from near and far
With the incredible toot toot/ hey/ beep beep opening, Donna takes us on a journey with the prostitutes on the street corner. Not wildly serious in thematics, this church loving lady poses for the album cover in underwear whilst leaning on a streetlamp with a police officer assessing her particulars. How’s that to sell yourself well, Donna?
Candy’s Room (Springsteen) – When I come knocking/ she smiles pretty/ she knows I wanna be Candy’s boy/ theres a sadness hidden in that pretty face/ a sadness all her own/ from which no man can keep Candy safe
Like Joel, Springsteen takes us on a journey with Candy, the battle-worn prostitute that Springsteen wants to save. Happier endings never felt more distant.
Annabell of Mobile (Sinatra) – He caught onto mama right away and he couldn’t believe it/ ‘cos I didn’t know she took him inside and she said/ if you really love her don’t tell her what I am till I’m dead.
The most underrated of all the songs on this playlist, Annabell of Mobile turns tricks for the businessmen of Mobile for her unnamed daughter. In an arguably poignant moment of the song, we even have closure towards the end when the daughter categorically states that she isn’t and was never ashamed of her mama, (the now legendary) Annabell of Mobile.
Fancy (McEntire)- Well, Mama washed and combed and curled my hair/ and she painted my eyes and lips (lips) then I stepped into a satin/ dancin’ dress that had a split on the side clean up to my hip/ It was red velvet trim and it fit me good/ and standin’ back from the lookin’ glass/ there stood a woman where a half grown kid had stood
A Woman’s Story (Almond) – My reputation was all over town/ as a woman who was passed around/ I knew every wrong way to go/ seen every room with a bed inside it/ and every habit I’ve tried, I tried it…
The incredible song is all about a prostitute finding love and managing what Candy, Charlotte and the others have all failed to manage. Originally by Cher but covered (incredibly by) Marc Almond. Magnificent.
Dark Lady (Cher) – So I sneaked back and caught her with my man/ laughing and kissing till they saw the gun in my hand/ the next thing I knew they were dead on the floor
Dark, gothic and a ricocheting chorus to boot, Cher’s dark lady is indeed a devilish witch of a woman, whoring on the side. Will she get away with it. Pay close attention to the lyrics.
X Offender (Blondie) – Walking the line, you were a marksman/ told me that law, like wine, is ageless/ public defender/ you had to admit/ you wanted the love of a sex offender
The only act to make two juggernauts about the calibre of the women in the sex industry, this song shows how tempting temptation is. That police officer didn’t stand a chance against this incredibly scintillating sex offender…
There She Goes Again (The Velvet Underground) – There she goes again/ she’s knocked out on her feet again/ she’s down on her knees, my friend/ but you know she’ll never ask you please
Warhol’s dandys chart of the journey of the independent prostitute no longer pleading for anyone’s help. Feisty but fallible, and also fantastic – you go girl.