Wednesday, April 27, 2022

"Seventeen" by Winger

Song#:  3817
Date:  02/25/1989
Debut:  78
Peak:  26
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:   In 1970, an eight-year-old from Denver, Colorado, Kip Winger, began a band with his two brothers and a friend that would eventually be called Blackwood Creek. The band gained experience and over the next ten years would perform around the Denver area. By 1980, the various members had other ambitions and so they called it a day before trying to make a record. Kip Winger chose to leave Denver and spent the bulk of the 80s writing songs, working as a session musician, and was even a member of Alice Cooper's backing band for a couple of years (and played on the albums Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell). In '87, Winger decided to shift his focus to creating his own band. With three other musicians he formed Sahara. They were able to get signed by Atlantic Records and work began on a debut album with producer Beau Hill. By the time it was ready, the band changed its name to Winger and a first single, "Madalaine," was released. It picked up some airplay and got to #27 Rock. Next up for release was this track. It would help break the band in a bigger way with the tune getting to #19 Rock and cracking the Pop Top 30. A highly requested video for the song helped it along. The album would peak at #21, but thanks to another hit, it would be a long-tail seller for the next year and eventually go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I bought the Winger album back in the day, but I think only partially for the music. I believe the CD came with a poster of Kip Winger, which I immediately hung on my wall. He was definite eye candy. However, I will say that I did like the album. The band was solid and Winger's voice was quite good. They were able to mix some commercial-leaning tunes like this one along with some that bordered on prog rock. I got the feeling the listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin. This single seems to have a few references in it. Despite the jailbait-ish lyrics, I thought this was a good arena/glam rock tune that had terrific production for Beau Hill.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Although Blackwood Creek never got the chance to make a record during their 70s heydays, they finally did decades later. Kip Winger, his brother Nate, and original guitarist Peter Fletcher, got back together as a trio and in 2009 recorded a self-titled debut album. Although they wrote new songs for the album instead of using their old originals, the band 70s rock roots were still apparent.  2) For some, this song's lyrics didn't necessarily sit well with them.  Lines like "she's only seventeen - daddy say's she's too young, but she's old enough for me" seemed a little creepy especially when coming from a 27-year-old Kip Winger. It seems Winger got inspiration from the the Beatles' 1964 #14 "I Saw Her Standing There," which had the opening line of "well, she was just seventeen and you know what I mean." While Winger's song doesn't explicitly state that the guy is having sex with a seventeen-year-old, some folks read between the lines and figured that was the gist. At the time he wrote it, the age of consent varied from state to state and in Colorado it was seventeen (still appears to be). Apparently, Winger didn't realize most states had their set at eighteen and so he wrote the song based on his limited knowledge along with what the Beatles had sang. Kip Winger and the band got a fair amount of flack for the song, including a reference on MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head that said the song was Joey Buttafuoco's theme (if you don't know what that means, look it up), but it wasn't so controversial that it got banned.


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