November 14, 2009

"She’s A Lady." Macho Rat-Pack Death Knell, Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — improviz @ 2:55 PM

In 1971, after “My Way,” Paul Anka wrote and Tom Jones had a big hit with “She’s A Lady.” This tune hovers in a bombastic, syntactically-mangled territory somewhere between the sexless yearning of Anka’s “Diana” and the juiceless onanism of “My Way,” Surely, “She’s A Lady” is destined to become a feminist anthem:

“Well she’s all you’d ever want
She’s the kind they’d like to flaunt and take to dinner
Well she always knows her place…

Well she’s never in the way
Something always nice to say, Oh what a blessing…

Well she never asks for very much and I don’t refuse her
Always treat her with respect, I never would abuse her…

Well she knows what I’m about,
She can take what I dish out, and that’s not easy…”


So, there are different ways to use the word “lady.” There’s the obsequious ‘lady’ of servants and syncophants addressing the peerage. There’s the baggy-pants shlemiel ‘lady’ of Jerry Lewis. There’s the vaguely exasperated, condescending ‘lady’ of the traffic cop who thinks all women drivers suck.

Then, there’s Anka’s deeply smarmy ‘lady.’ This ‘lady’ is about control. It’s an invitation to a satanic pact: you want minks and diamonds, ok, but…The surface of this ‘lady’ is courtly, but underneath lay a warning: It’s Our Way, Our Code or the highway. What we Big Men on Campus Earth give, we can taketh away.

Tom Jones (damned clever stage name )was the perfect delivery system for the message. For you whipper-snappers who don’t know him, Jones was a tight-pants-ed, frilly-shirt-ed, post-Elvis-hip-swivelling knocker; famous for the piles of hotel room keys that were showered onstage by the ‘ladies.’ He is still gyrating; a kind of priapic elder statesman without portfolio.

I like him. In fact, he’s Having My Baby. (See part 3 of the Paul Anka Macho Rat-Pack Death Knell Trilogy coming soon). However, it’s not enough to keep him and this tune out of the crypt.



  1. Much as I enjoy your equal opportunity to bashing songs from all musical genres, I'd glad you've gotten around to Tom Jones and this tune, both of which have always made my flesh crawl. This selection truly opens up the Pandora's box of Vegas schlockmeisters and their signature tunes…Where to go next? I urge you to delve into the Wayne Newton (Danke Schoen?) and Engelbert Humberdinck classics.

    Comment by Marlene — August 16, 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  2. I like to think I have begun turning over the Vegas Rock. The rock is so immense, however, and there is such an abundance of creepy-crawly things that I see it as a lifetime's work.

    Comment by S.G. — August 17, 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  3. Tom Jones laughs at you from atop his collection of women's lingerie !!!

    Comment by Charlie Allen — August 25, 2009 @ 1:55 PM

  4. This song, however, will always stay in my mind as a rightful and needed addition to the movie soundtrack (and movie) of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". Now ever time I hear the song it brings me back to that movie and I have give it props.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 24, 2009 @ 1:51 AM

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