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The true meaning of the lyrics of “The Young Ones”

September 25, 2015

I’ve taught myself to play “The Young Ones” on the piano recently. It’s not difficult (well, it was quite difficult for me, as I can barely play, but it is not a difficult song). Singing along to it I’ve become much more aware of the words. I used to think it was just a jolly song about the joys of being young, but it has a much more precise purpose than that. It’s a seduction song, addressed to a young woman by a young man. Here are the words with my gloss:

“The young ones, darling we’re the young ones,

and young ones shouldn’t be afraid

To live life (to have sex)

While the flame is still strong (while sexual desire is still strong)

‘Cause we may not be the young ones very long (we’ll be too old to be interested in sex).

Tomorrow, why wait until tomorrow (please don’t let’s wait any longer to have sex, I can’t stand it)

‘Cause tomorrow sometimes never comes (if we don’t have sex now we may never have it)

So love me (so have sex with me)

There’s a song to be sung (there’s sex to be had)

And the best time is to sing it while we’re young (the best time to have sex is when we’re young).

Once in every lifetime comes a love like this (if I can convince you I’m in love with you, you might have sex with me)

Oh, I need you (I need to have sex with you)

You need me (you need to have sex with me) (I hope)

Oh my darling can’t you see (please, for Christ’s sake)

That young dreams should be dreamed together (young people should have sex together)

And young hearts shouldn’t be afraid (to have sex)

And some day when the years have flown

Darling then we’ll teach the young ones of our own (Look, I’m serious about you, we’ll have kids one day, just as long as you have sex with me right now).

Hats off to Roy Bennett and Sid Tepper for those lyrics. Odd to think of the asexual Cliff Richard singing them. It’s like an updated version of Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress”.

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One Comment
  1. Duncan permalink

    That’s not how I remember it…

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