Under a modern-day microscope, there’s certainly a little cringe to the lyrics of Winger‘s ’80s breakout hit “Seventeen,” but as it turns out one of the primary offending lyrics to the song didn’t come from the group.
While speaking about their breakthrough ode to a teenaged beauty, guitarist Reb Beach recalled to Guitar Player, “It’s really just the one line: ‘Daddy says she’s too young, but she’s old enough for me.’ We didn’t even write that – it was something Beau Hill, our producer, came up with.”
That said, Beach reveals the band had something a little more mainstream in mind when writing the song. “Think of the Beatles with ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’” said Beach, noting that hit’s lyrical muse. “We’re not pedophiles,” he adds with a laugh. “It’s just an ’80s rock song, for God’s sake.”
Elsewhere in the chat, he says he feels that the song is “definitely of its era,” noting, “It has a huge production, a big chorus, a couple of shred solos.” He adds, “I’ll take the hair-metal tag, but I think a lot of our riffs were a little more progressive, you know?”
Though the song is well-known these days, and the band’s career continued to grow afterward, Beach recalls their early struggles and how one thing reversed their fortunes. The album was released in August 1988, but as the guitarist recalls, it didn’t do much initially. “It just kind of got put on the shelf with the other hundreds of albums that Atlantic was releasing,” Beach recalls. “If a record didn’t stick within a few weeks, it was over as far as they were concerned.”
But MTV gave the video a look, deciding to throw it on in the late night hours. “We got one play on MTV at 1:55AM on a Sunday morning, no less. And then, from there, everything just lit up.”
The Winger reflection comes at a perfect time as a new box set is en route revisiting their early career. Winger’s Chapter One: Atlantic Years 1988-1993 will be released by Atlantic / BMG on Nov. 17.
This includes the band’s 1988 self-titled debut, the 1990 In the Heart of the Young follow-up and their third studio album, 1993’s Pull. In addition, the set comes with a fourth disc titled the Demo Anthology, which includes the early versions of some of their biggest hits. Pre-orders are currently being taken here.
10 Rock Lyrics That Didn’t Age Well
Whether they’re offensive or just outdated, these lyrics wouldn’t work in modern times!