Lil red

Cover artwork from the album Li'l Red Riding Hood

 The 1966 song “Lil’ Red Ridin’ Hood” performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharaoh reached Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966 and was the bands second top 10 hit.[1]  The song is based off Charles Perrault’s 1698 fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. The song replaces the figure of the wolf with that of a man. The song takes the fairy tale façade out and replaces it with a sexual undertone. With lyrics such as “you sure are looking good”, “what full lips you have, they’re sure to lure someone”, it’s hard to not see a sexual, even pedophile undertone to the song. The original story has been analyzed and interpreted as being about sexual awakening, female puberty and her sexual maturity.[2] The authors own moral warning states: “…attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers…”[3]

The song does seem to have a twist. It goes from opening with a howl and having sexual undertones, to the singer sounding like a sweet, protective gentleman just looking for love; “what a big heart I have, the better to love you with, Little Red Riding Hood, even bad wolves can be good, I'll try to be satisfied just to walk close by your side…” suggest something more innocent than previous lyrics. Of course, as the song continues you can tell the sweet, nice guy persona, is in fact a lie like the wolf in the Perrault’s short story. The lines: “I'm gonna keep my sheep suit on until I'm sure that you've been shown that I can be trusted walking with you alone…” and “You sure are looking good, you're everything that a big bad wolf could want. [howls] I mean baaaaaa” clearly indicate a devious motive and not one of sweet intent. The fact that the singer has to remind himself to say “baaa” like a sweet, harmless sheep instead of howling like the mischievous wolf he truly is. He is indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing.[4]

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