The toppermost of the poppermost of cherry poppin’ pop.
1, Alex Harvey – Next!
Harvey’s acutely chilling account of how the army will ‘make a man’ of you.
I followed a naked body / A naked body followed me, Next! Next! / I was just a child when my innocence was lost / In a mobile army whorehouse
2. The Boys – First Time
Authentically based on author John Plain losing his virginity aged 15. Round the back of the youth club, as you do. However, his belief that this was a mutual deflowering – the lyric draws on his paramour’s words – were thrown into sharp relief when he had to visit the clap clinic a few weeks later.
Oh, oh oh oh, it’s my first time / Oh, oh oh oh, please be kind / Oh, oh oh oh, don’t hurt me
3. Vanessa Carlton – White Houses
From the Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter’s 2004 album – ‘white houses’ serving as an evocation of that ol’ colour-coded scale – the purity pantone.
And you, maybe you’ll remember me / What I gave is yours to keep / In white houses
4. Deanna Carter – Strawberry Wine
A nostalgic reflection about frolicking in the fields, with a wistful nod to arable plentitude and fertility.
The fields have grown over now/ Years since they’ve seen the plough / There’s nothing time hasn’t touched / Is it really him or the loss of my innocence I’ve been missing so much?
5. Radiohead – True Love Waits
Was Uncle Thom’s typically opaque lyric inspired by the Christian abstinence movement formed in 1993 beyond the titular reference?
And true love waits / In haunted attics / And true love lives / On lollipops and crisps
6. The Pretenders – Tattooed Love Boys
Not entirely sure about this, but it could be read as a metaphor for divestment of one’s inhibitions. And if that’s the case, I would love someone to explain to me the ‘changing tyres’ sexual analogy. With diagrams, please.
Was a good time, yeah / I got pretty good / At changing tyres upstairs bro / I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for
7. Rod Stewart – Tonight’s The Night
Trust the Rodster to rescue us from such quandaries of non-literalism.
Don’t say a word my virgin child / Just let your inhibitions run wild / The secret is about to unfold / Upstairs before the night’s too old
8. Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?
Jarvis reminds us that sexual confusion is a cradle to grave gig. And if something’s worth doing, it’s worth regretting afterwards.
Do you remember the first time? / I can’t remember a worse time
9. Lyfe Jennings – ‘S.E.X.’
First single from the soulster’s second album expressing concern about teenagers being pressured into having sex. Or s.e.x. if you prefer pseudo acronyms.
Girl it’s just your s.e.x. / Momma’s secret / And Daddy gon go crazy when he finds out that his baby’s found her s.e.x. /Take a deep breath and think before you let it go
10. Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time
From a band that did rather specialise in the subject; see also ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ and, arguably, ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’.
And it feels like the first time / Like it never did before / Feels like the first time, like we’ve opened up the door
11. Madonna – Like A Virgin
An obvious choice, although Madge is kidding no-one on the authenticity stakes.
You make me feel shiny and new / Like a virgin
12. Poe – I’m Not A Virgin Anymore
Fellow songstress Poe, however, is telling it like it is; to all-comers (so to speak). It precedes the artist recounting having been ‘taken’ and ‘hung up’, which is probably analogy but might just be literal. You can never tell.
I just thought you should know my darling / Before we begin / I’m not a virgin anymore
13. Lifehouse – First Time
Adopting the familiar device of cloaking the act in metaphor.
We’re crashing into the unknown / We’re lost in this but it feels like home
14. Tommy James & The Shondells – I Think We’re Alone Now
Both Tiffany and Girls Aloud have enjoyed success with this hugely suggestive paean to the twanging of the hormonal harpsichord.
I think we’re alone now / There doesn’t seem to be anyone around
15. Betty Wright – Tonight Is The Night
After ‘First Time’, the second most popular titular appellation for recounting one’s debut efforts at doing the dirty deed in popular song.
Tonight is the night / That you make me a woman / You said you’ll be gentle with me / And I hope you will
16. Little Stevie McCabe – The Virgin
Oklahoma rocker offers confessional on having not yet received his invitation to the party.
I talked to my doctor he said you got to lose weight / I said Doc, that ain’t my problem / I wanna get laid
17. Elvis Costello – Mystery Dance
Thinly veiled, Romeo and Juliet-themed deliberation on the awkwardness of making the parts fit. Anatomically very suggestive, though possibly not by design.
Well, I was underneath the covers in the middle of the night / Trying to discover my left foot from my right
18. The Piranhas – Virginity
Brighton’s foremost (OK, only) ska-funk post-punkers don’t spare the blushes on this ode to virginity as unshakeable affliction.
At my age I should be an expert / I don’t even know if it hurts . . . I’m terrified, that I will be a virgin for the rest of my life
19. Prince – Head
The squiggly messiah’s Lewinsky-esque moment, in which he encounters a virginal bride en route to her nuptials who nevertheless offers him romantic consolation. Jolly sociable of her, all things considered. Worryingly graphic.
But you’re such a hunk / So full of spunk / I’ll give you head
20. City-X – First Fuck
While this Danish hardcore band, unequipped with poetic adornments, are simply grateful.
First fuck … It was, it was, it was … lovely
21. AC/DC – Squealer
Ah, the libidinous gods of Oz Rock were never knowingly undersold on conquest anecdotage.
She said she’s never been, never been balled before / ‘n’ I don’t think she’ll ever ball no more (fixed ‘er good)
22. Janet Jackson – Let’s Wait A While
When we get to know each other / And we’re both feeling much stronger / Then let’s try to talk it over / Let’s wait a while longer
23. Christine Aguilera – Genie In A Bottle
You just haven’t earned it yet, baby.
You’re licking your lips and blowing kisses my way / But that don’t mean I’m gonna give it away . . . Hormone’s racing at the speed of light / But that doesn’t mean it’s gotta be tonight
24. The Standells – Try It
AC/DC-esque in its fulsome promises. Banned from airplay, we hear, due to Mr Action’s lascivious delivery.
By the way you look I can tell that you want some action / Action is my middle name / Come over here, pretty girl, I’ll give you satisfaction
25. Smiths – How Soon Is Now
Pop’s most celebrated virgo intacto, you could read half of Morrissey’s songbook as canonical. This one definitely seems to fit, though so too does ‘Girl Afraid’, ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ and half a dozen others.
When you say it’s gonna happen now / Well, when exactly do you mean? / See I’ve already waited too long / And all my hope is gone
26. Typhus – Anal Rape Of The Virgin Mary
The only bon mots from the above song we could even possibly contemplate posting here…
Behold thee unclean spirit / Conjured with only one purpose / I rape your symbol of purity
27. Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off To Have A Good time
No, but it helps. Wasn’t entirely convinced that this is an allusion to the subject at hand, but the ‘cherry wine’ bit at the end kinda clinches it.
We could dance and party all night / And drink some cherry wine
28. Big Joe Turner – Cherry Red
Later covered by the Groundhogs, the song that birthed a record label.
The warmth of my body will heat you / Make your blood run cherry red
29. Traditional – Ball Of Kerrymuir
One for our rugger buggers.
Four-and-twenty virgins come down from Inverness / And when the ball was over, there were four-and-twenty less.
And the winner is….
30. Meatloaf – Paradise By The Dashboard Lights
You’ve got to hand it to the big fella for coming up with the melodramatic chops to match the occasion. Wonderfully, the song incorporates a long radio interlude from a baseball game, in which our hero finally reaches fourth base, thereby completing the teen-slang summit of escalating achievement in sexual congress.
And I gotta let ya know / No you’re never gonna regret it / So open up your eyes I got a big surprise / It’ll feel all right / Well I wanna make your motor run