Over the years, rock and rollers seem to have exhibited some curious ideas about sisters, but in particular little sisters. The thought occurred to me recently when hearing Elton John’s much-forgotten rave-up ‘Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock and Roll)’ from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – not explicitly about a “little” sister, but with the lyric “She’s only sixteen but it’s plain to see / She can pull the wool over little old me,” I think we can safely draw that conclusion. Ew. Numerous others exist, from the obvious Presley classic, ‘Little Sister’ (“Little sister, don’t you kiss me once or twice / Then say it’s very nice, and then you run / Little sister, don’t you do what your big sister done” — Elvis, what is going on in that household?!); to the bluesy stomp of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Look At Little Sister’ (“What about the neighbors, what they gonna say / Stop little sister gettin’ carried away” — a little decorum, SRV, if only for the neighbors’ sake). There’s Billy Idol, who starts every verse line of ‘White Wedding’ with “Hey little sister…” amid fairly obvious vile intent. And let’s not even get into the rather ungentlemanly line that Jimi Hendrix employed after “Cause if my baby don’t love me no more…”¹ to close out his classic ‘Red House’ (then again, it’s alright, he’s still got his guitar). Why don’t we try to keep things a bit more decorous, with a band that rarely did: the Rolling Stones’ seriously butt-shaking 1974 tune, ‘Dance Little Sister.’ It’s a non-stop rhythm and groove, featuring an impressive pair of Micks: Mick Taylor’s ferocious lead guitar passages (playing on his last Stones album before that often underappreciated six-string stud departed the band), and Mick Jagger continuously imploring some unidentified youthful sibling as he shouts a variation of “Dance little sister,” “Dance, dance little sister,” and “Dance, dance little sister, dance” a total of 32 beseeching iterations (plus one additional “Dance, dance with fire, dance” for good measure). That’s a lot of dancing for a sister of any age.
¹It is, of course, “I know her sister will!”
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