The Crystals, Carole King, and the Golden Age of Abuse Pop

This post originally appeared at School for Scandal blog.

1960s Girl Group music was basically dominated by songs about falling for emotionally unavailable, criminal, and possibly abusive men, and people dying. (I blame creepy Phil Spector’s involvement, at least partially.) Which is of course, part of why I enjoy this music, even though it makes me feel creeped out sometimes.

After the whole OH HEY SO WHAT IF CHRIS BROWN ABUSES WOMEN, HE GETS A GRAMMY! kerfuffle, I couldn’t help but this of this super fucking creepy song by The Crystals:

It’s beautiful song with a horrible message:

“He hit me (da-da-da-ah) and it felt like a kiss (felt like a kiss)

He hit me (da-da-da-ah) and I knew he loved me

If he didn’t care for me,

I could have never made him mad

But he hit me (da-da-da-ah) and I was glad”

Let’s get one thing straight: abusers gonna abuse. This is not a sign of love. AAAAAHHHHH. Rihanna, please do not cover this song.

So I assumed this song was just a one-off a weird product of a gloriously misogynist era in history (there are a lot of songs about loving bad boys, but they’re usually about misunderstood bad boys with hearts of gold who die, but apparently the Crystals ALSO recorded this lesser-known but equally charming song, entitled “PLEASE HURT ME.” I do not think this is a song about consensual BD/SM:

She knows the guy is an asshole, but she flat-out encourages him to treat her like crap:

“If you gotta hurt somebody, please hurt me

& if you gotta break a heart, then please break mine

I won’t cry if you deceive me

I’ll take it with a smile

I know someday you will leave me

But at least I’ll have you for a while

So darlin’, if you gotta hurt somebody, please hurt me

& if I have to be a plaything, that’s what I’ll be

Please hurt me, oh please hurt me

Come on & please hurt me

Why don’t you please hurt me”

Ok, so here’s where things get weird. Both of these songs were co-written by Gerry Goffin and MUTHAFUCKING CAROLE KING. You know, the same Carole King that did a bunch of funky hippy folk jams like “I feel the earth move”:


OK, apparently Little Eva (best known for “The Loco-Motion,” also written by Goffin/King) recorded “Please Hurt Me” before the Crystals did. She apparently worked as a babysitter and maid for Carole King before becoming a pop star, and both of these songs were based on tales of Little Eva’s love for her abusive boyfriend.

Unsurprisingly, legendary abuser Phil Spector produced “He hit me,” which is probably why this song is so chillingly beautiful but makes you want to scream “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO FUCKING WRONG MAKE IT STOP!!! AAAAHHHHH.”




  1. shannonhumphreys says:


  2. It never pays to listen to song lyrics too closely, just hum along and make up your own words…

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