Where did the idea of a prostitute come from in Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”?
Summer hit #1 with the disco single “Bad Girls” in 1979–but she says she almost never recorded it. Neil Bogart, head of her record label, Casablanca, originally wanted to give it to Cher. As for the inspiration? “I was in my office in the old Casablanca building,” Summer told me. “I was the only artist allowed to have an office there–Neil didn’t want me too far away. I sent out my secretary to do something, and the police stopped her on Sunset Boulevard. She was dressed in business attire, but they were trying to pick her up. That ticked me off. All day, I pondered why that would happen to innocent people–and then I developed compassion for the girls working on the street.” And the “toot-toot, beep-beep” that concluded the track? “I figured, what do guys do when they pick up girls? I had to emulate them tooting their horns.”
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)