TRICK TURNING ANTHEM.
The following article goes out to anyone who’s ever had to turn a trick to make a living. You’re not alone.
Face the facts. At some point in your life, you’ve had to encounter the treacherous underworld of pimps, hookers and johns while doing your best to maintain hope and dignity.
It all started when Uncle T came across a movie while channel surfing the other night from called “Daughter of the Streets” from 1990. The film stars John Stamos, playing a sadistic pimp who seduces an activist single mom’s neglected daughter into becoming a hooker. As you could imagine based on that plot outline, it was FANTASTIC. Since this discovery, I’ve been fascinated by films about prostitutes. Specifically the grainy, older material that captures a style that is long gone from today’s culture.
Beyond the serious issues of broken families, neglect, drug use and sex slavery, these movies share a stylistic approach that is just plain fun to watch. The portrayal of gritty night life and the depraved atmosphere in which these girls occupy is a feast for the eyes. The best films are the ones that start with a teenage runaway who flees to the big city. From there it’s a nonstop assault of neon-soaked sidewalks, XXX theater marquees, silk stalkings, fishnet, teased hair, off-the-shoulder tube tops, shadowy men, steamy alleys, muffler exhaust, cigarettes, trench coats, vice squads, broken street lights, switchblades, lace gloves, empty parks, random burning barrels and lonely wanderers. I can’t get enough!
On the music side of things, plenty of songs have been written about streetwalkin’ and turning tricks. Sharon O’Neil’s “Maxine” immediately comes to mind. Or even in more recent years, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats with “Melody Lane” from their 2015 night stalker-vibed album The Night Creeper. As far as older rock songs go, the theme did surface from time to time but very seldom was it thrust into the spotlight. There isn’t exactly a history of rock n’ roll songs about hookers tearing up the charts.
Ah, but in 1992 however, just before a bunch of shitty whiners in flannel shirts would migrate from Seattle and wipe off so many of our beloved bands, a killer group called WILDSIDE released the incredible debut album, Under the Influence. Unfortunately for them, the album was hardly noticed due to the downfall of party rock and the emerging, melodramatic grunge scene. The ironic part was that the band’s first single and music video was for a song about the rough life of a girl on the streets called “Hang On Lucy”!
Standin on the corner, looking like some Hollywood queen
Sellin’ her soul to the world, since she was just sixteen
Ohh, friday night and the stakes are high
She’s got a lot of money to earn
Workin’ the streets ’til the crack of dawn
For such serious subject matter, the song is insanely catchy and it’s hard not to enter party-mode when hearing it. That’s why we undoubtedly declare “Hang On Lucy” our #1 TRICK TURNING ANTHEM. Turn it up!
These aren’t prostitutes. It’s Wildside in ’92.
Wildside’s lead singer Drew Hannah commented in an interview from 2015 that the song was written about a real hooker in Hollywood who hung out by a liquor store where the band would go for booze runs during the recording of the album.
I love knowing when stuff like that happens.
So the next time you pass by a working girl on the corner who’s fighting to survive, think twice before you ignore her or make a disgusted face. You just might be inspired to write a song, help her out or take her to a concert. ♥
First time commenting, but long-time reader. Great article, as usual. If you’re into this sub-genre at the moment, you should check out the Tv series ‘The Deuce’. It starts slow but you stick with it and you’ll enjoy it. Another film I liked and never made your list (probably because it isn’t trashy enough) is ‘Hardcore’, starring legendary actors’ actor George C. Scott.
Wow, Uncle T. You’ve really opened my eyes on this gritty genre. I think I’m going to have a prostitute movie marathon this weekend now and hunt down all these tricks and flicks. Pick up some Old Milwaukee, some coke and delve into this nightlife. The Wolf is always on the prowl.