blatantly bad 70s music: hot child in the city (nick gilder)

this one’s for you, on the curb.

i remember hot child in the city for so very many reasons. for starters, i could not figure out whether nick gilder was a man or a woman. to me, that voice sounds awfully feminine. could nick be short for nicole, or nicolette? if i had only stayed up long enough to see gilder on a show like don kirshner’s rock concert, i might have had a chance at seeing a video and might have discerned his gender. but this was the 1970s, when MTV was merely a twinkle in mike nesmith‘s eye. chances of seeing a rock video in 1978 were pretty slim. (in hindsight, gilder looks a little bit like a tranny tom petty to me in the video; my 13 year old self would probably still have been confused had i seen him on film.)

i later found out that this song is about fashion runways and the young models who love them. (today, on jerry springer!) however, at 13, i thought this was a disturbing song. i couldn’t understand why a grownup person (who i suspected was male, but, as i mentioned, i wasn’t entirely certain) would want to sing about a hot child in the city, running wild and looking pretty. i didn’t know the word pedophile yet, but by gum, i knew creepy when i heard it. and this song, to my young, wild, and pretty ears, was c r e e p y with a capital C. i was perpetually mystified that it became a hit. didn’t other people know this was just so wrong on so many levels, i wondered.

the last wrong in my book? the song is musically uninspiring. gilder has gone on to write songs for a lot of other artists (hey, anyone remember this one? it’s his! and its definitely on my list should i ever go after songs that drive me batty from the 1980s!), and i suspect that some of them must be good. but this one? it’s difficult for me to get jazzed about a song that pretty much has two chords. it’s not impossible, of course, but it sure is tough.

and it would have to be a song with lyrics that don’t make me shudder in a dark alley.


12 Responses to “blatantly bad 70s music: hot child in the city (nick gilder)”

  1. I can totally understand the uncertainty about the singer’s gender. The voice sounds pretty feminine to me, too.

    I have no memory of that song, though. Having now heard it, I’m hoping that I’ll manage to regain that previous lack of memory…

  2. The “hot” and “summer” theme has already been mined by the Lovin Spoonful and Sly Stone. Why do people insist on recycling this? Oh, well. Back to “Beach Baby.”

  3. beach baby? GAAAAAH. i had forgotten about that one until one day, my parents gave BC a doll with oceanic accoutrements. what will you call her? someone asked.

    BEACH BABY! girlfriend screamed.

    so. hate. that. song.

    increasingly, i think a month is too short a time to go through songs. there are so very many more than 30.

  4. Dude, this is now totally stuck in my head. YUCK!!!

  5. It’s like you’re picking songs out of my mind from my youth. Every one so far I could almost sing word for word. Scared yet? (The Warrior is on Sue’s playlist, by the way…)

  6. Okay, this goes along with our Faceb00k movie compatibility – must go our separate ways. I don’t know what it is, but yes, I love this song in all its ‘want some candy, little girl?’ creepy ways (i never knew that about the song, actually…i told you on my blog; it was summer, i was a child, i was hot, and i just wanted a popsicle and an icy cold soda and, i’ll be damned, somebody wrote a song about me! a hot child in the city) and its ‘am I a dude or a gal? can you see the bulge in my tight polyester pants? no? me neither! i’m a gal! or a dude who really knows his way around duct tape!’ splendor (this is also my first time seeing this tranny tom petty, hehe, love that…i don’t need meaning or visual assaults, obviously, to enjoy a tune).

    And, and just so’s you know, Bang, Bang, I am the warrior! (i also liked that song; what is wrong with me? this is exactly why your parents gave me up for adoption.)

    Nonetheless, thank you, dear, for the dedication. My own Kasey Kasem America’s Top 40 dedication.

  7. who loves ya, baby? your twin does 🙂

  8. Arrgghh. Having a hard time imaging this one on Don Kirschner’s show — the few times I saw it it was pretty hard rock, but I dunno.

    Beach Baby! I wrote a post about how Beach Baby had completely co-opted the chord progression from Pachebel’s Canon — yes I did, I am THAT nerdy — and you wouldn’t believe the number of hits I have gotten from people looking for Beach Baby.

    Watch your stats for sweaty guys looking for hot children in urban areas. Dateline may be calling you. : )

  9. Oh no…I actually kinda like this song. Never really thought of the creepy connotation. I have a soft spot for cheesy 70’s music. The other day I had The Night Chicago Died playing on the iPod while I was driving and I was singin’ away like a complete idiot. See–cheesy, cheesy, cheesy.

  10. One of the worst singers EVER!!!!!

    Bad lyrics, drivel really….and that annoying, whiney voice!

  11. Friggin amazing voice…lovely. Always thought Roxy Roller was a chick too – but ta da – same guy. Reflections of goofy youth – better than listening to Hedley’s lead singer – uuuuugh!

  12. Does anyone else remember his performing this song on an awards show and having a very young girl, (not 15 or 16, but like 8 or 9) prancing around, through the audience and on stage, dressed provocatively?

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