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The Meaning Behind The Song: Centerfold by J. Geils Band

The Meaning Behind The Song: Centerfold by J. Geils Band

“Centerfold” is a classic rock song that has remained popular even after its release in the early 1980s. The song is known for its catchy tune and upbeat rhythm, but what many people don’t know is that there is a deeper meaning behind the song.

The Inspiration Behind the Song

Peter Wolf, the lead singer of J. Geils Band, revealed that the inspiration behind “Centerfold” came from a personal experience. He had found a high school yearbook in a trash can, and when he looked through it, he found that one of the girls he had a crush on was now a centerfold in a men’s magazine. This experience inspired him to write the song, which is about a man who discovers that his high school crush is a centerfold.

The Message of the Song

At first glance, “Centerfold” may seem like a simple, fun song about a guy who is surprised to see his crush in a magazine. However, the lyrics actually convey a deeper message about the impact of objectification and the superficiality of society. The lyrics say:

“Does she walk? Does she talk? Does she come complete? My homeroom homeroom angel always pulled me from my seat She was pure like snowflakes, no one could ever stain The memory of my angel could never cause me pain Years go by I’m looking through a girly magazine And there’s my homeroom angel on the pages in-between My blood runs cold My memory has just been sold My angel is the centerfold”

The lyrics are a commentary on how society objectifies women and how even a pure, innocent girl can be turned into a sexual object. The fact that the protagonist is surprised to see his crush in a magazine shows that he didn’t see her as a sexual object before, and the shock he feels is a reflection of the shock many people feel when they see someone they know in a sexual context.

Reception and Controversy

“Centerfold” was a massive hit when it was released in 1981, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, the song also received criticism for its objectification of women and the message it conveyed. Some people felt that the song was promoting the idea that women were only valuable for their appearance, and that being a centerfold was the ultimate achievement for a woman.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2010, Peter Wolf addressed the controversy surrounding the song. He said, “There were some people who were offended by it, and I can understand why. But at the same time, we weren’t promoting pornography or anything like that. It was just a fun, catchy song that people enjoyed.”

The Legacy of “Centerfold”

Despite the controversy, “Centerfold” has remained a classic rock song that is still played on radios and in clubs today. Its catchy tune and relatable lyrics have made it a timeless anthem that people of all ages can enjoy. The song has also been featured in multiple films and TV shows, including “The Wedding Singer” and “Stranger Things.”

In addition to its popularity, “Centerfold” has also had a lasting impact on the music industry. The song helped J. Geils Band gain mainstream success, and it paved the way for other bands to incorporate elements of pop and new wave into their rock music. The use of synthesizers and electronic drums in “Centerfold” was groundbreaking at the time, and it influenced many other musicians to experiment with new sounds and styles.

The Takeaway

“Centerfold” may be a fun and catchy song, but it also has a deeper message about the impact of objectification and the superficiality of society. The song reminds us that people are more than just their appearance, and that we should strive to see each other as individuals with unique personalities and experiences. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock or not, the message behind “Centerfold” is one that is still relevant today.

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