Mötley Crüe, those depraved kings of '80s sleaze, took a major step toward strip-club immortality 25 years ago this week when the band released its fourth album, Girls, Girls, Girls.
Glossy, debauched heavy metal ruled the charts in the summer of 1987 -- Whitesnake, Ozzy, Bon Jovi and Poison all had hit records that year -- but Girls put Mötley at the top of the heap. The album rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, their best showing to date. Two years later, they'd hit No. 1 with Dr. Feelgood.
After the silky, spandex-wrapped glam eruption of 1985's Theatre of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls represented a shift to a grittier, street-level sound and style for the group. Gone were the eyeliner and pink bandannas; in their place were leather pants, motorcycles and obscene drug abuse.
Despite the record's quadruple-platinum success, it's not quite honest to call this period the band's creative peak: They were just too fucked up and distracted by their vices to come up with a top-to-bottom killer.
Bassist Nikki Sixx, who was deep in the throes of a fairly outrageous heroin addiction during its recording, summed up the album's failings pretty succinctly in the band's 2001 autobiography, The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band:
Girls, Girls, Girls could have been a phenomenal record, but we were too caught up in our personal bullshit to put any effort into it. You can actually hear the distance that had grown between us in our performance. If we hadn't managed to force two songs out of ourselves (the title track and "Wild Side"), the album would have been the end of our careers.
To be fair, those two tracks that the band forced out were pretty great. "Wild Side" remains a staple of Mötley's live show to this day, and somewhere in the world (hell, somewhere inside the Loop), "Girls, Girls, Girls" is blaring in a strip club right this very second.
And why not? The song was written about strip clubs for strip clubs by a gang of certified strip-club aficionados. It captures the dirty, intoxicating and slightly sad experience of stuffing singles into G-strings rather perfectly, and you can shake your ass to it, to boot.
In the 25 years since its release, "Girls, Girls, Girls" has survived the DJ-booth transition from vinyl to CDs to MP3s, more than earning its status as perhaps the No. 1 strip-club song of all time. That's not to say it's got no competition for the title, however. Any stripper who's serious about her college fund has a go-to track to help her rake in the private dance requests.
Because we know our readers are a touch too classy to ever darken the door of one of Houston's 18 trillion top-notch strip joints, Rocks Off has taken the liberty of assembling a playlist of the Top 10 skeeziest strip-club anthems released in the past 25 years. You know, for purely educational purposes. Don't forget to tip your waitresses.
10. R. Kelly, "Bump n' Grind": A list of this kind without an appearance by R. Kelly would be missing something crucial -- kind of like a stripper with no breast implants. A few of the eccentric R&B superstar's biggest hits might have made the cut, but we settled on this classic sex jam from 1994's 12 Play.
Few songs have provoked even a fraction of the champagne-room grinding that this naughty little number has over the years, and we don't see nothin' wrong with that.
9. Buckcherry, "Crazy Bitch" (NSFW): Buckcherry probably had "Girls, Girls, Girls" in mind when they recorded this hard-rockin' career-definer in 2006. An out-and-out love poem to the sleaziest, most insane strippers on the circuit, "Crazy Bitch" became the most prominently censored modern-rock hit since NIN's "Closer."
The radio version couldn't touch the grimy appeal of the uncensored original, which came out sounding something like metal-era AC/DC after a few sizable hits of freebase. Don't watch the video at work unless you work at a strip club (in which case you probably never want to hear this song again).
8. Nelly, "Hot in Herre": Forget the titty bar, we've seen this track inspire wicked stripper moves in ladies at perfectly respectable wedding receptions. A million-dollar beat by the Neptunes helped take "Hot in Herre" to No. 1 back in 2002, and women (dudes, too!) have been taking their clothes off to it ever since.
In fact, if there's a woman disrobing onstage in front of you and this song isn't playing, check your surroundings carefully. It's possible you've been dragged to a burlesque show.
7. Def Leppard, "Pour Some Sugar On Me": Featuring a strong contender for the biggest, dumbest beat of the '80s, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was a super-smash upon its release in 1987, peaking at No. 2 four months after "Girls, Girls, Girls." Exotic dancers quickly caught on to the fact that the song's gigantic chorus was the perfect soundtrack to spinning around upside down on a pole, making it a strip-club staple since Day 1.
More than a few dancers probably found their way under the stage during Def Lep's Hysteria tour, where it was rumored that the rest of the band indulged their every carnal whim with dozens of ladies each show while singer Joe Elliot and drummer Rick Allen vamped on an extended intro to "Sugar." That potent fantasy is still being tapped into today every time this song is played at Treasures.
6. Britney Spears, "I'm a Slave 4 U": One gets the feeling that the Neptunes have visited a strip club or two in their time. This cheeky tune produced by the pair was hailed by some as Britney's most "mature" work to date when it dropped in 2001 and panned by others as a sleazy step too far (yawn).
Whichever opinion you happen to hold, "Slave" started making strippers money almost immediately. The slithering beat is perfect for pole dancing, and Britney's hushed, breathless vocals nicely portray the sort of illicit intimacy that strippers seek to establish with their clientele.
In fact, the moves that Brit-Brit shows off in the song's steamy video have led some (but not us, natch) to speculate that she might've enjoyed a rich career herself as an exotic dancer in some Shreveport shithole had the whole international-pop-superstar thing not worked out.
5. T-Pain, feat. Mike Jones, "I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper)": Let's face it, this song was pretty much written to become a strip-club anthem. Powered by its highly suggestive lyrics, the track served as an introduction for many to T-Pain's signature Auto-Tuned singing style back in 2005.
Houston's Mike Jones owes a lot to strippers. He got his start as a rapper by writing personalized tunes for dancers, ensuring that his music got a little airplay. Thanks to his relentless self-promotion, the ploy was successful in getting his name out there. Somewhat disturbingly, Jones credited his grandmother for suggesting the idea.
4. Pussycat Dolls, feat. Buster Rhymes "Don't Cha": Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me? Before this song came out in 2005, strippers could only convey those sentiments onstage by staring directly into patrons' eyes as they humped a pole.
Perhaps it wasn't surprising that a singing group with origins as a burlesque troupe would debut with such a stripper-ready single, but the song became an instant hit, both in topless clubs and on radio. Somewhere out there, somebody's shelling out big bucks to see just how hot and freaky the girl making it clap to this tune on Stage 2 is legally allowed to get.
3. Lords of Acid, "Pussy" (NSFW): Built around the flimsiest of double entendres, Lords of Acid's 1997 single "Pussy" is a bit on the nose (ahem) for some tastes. Still, its naughty lyrical content and high-energy dance beat have made it a strip-club staple over the years, ensuring that it's the Lords of Acid song your boss is most likely to have heard at least once.
Despite its enduring popularity, though, "Pussy" has to rank high on the list of most grating songs in history among those industry vets who have stuck around long enough to hear it thousands of times. Its cleverness may wear thin pretty quickly, but there's always a new generation of dancers coming up who don't completely hate it yet.
2. 2 Live Crew, "Pop That Coochie" (NSFW): Like more than a few strip-club owners, Luke Skyywalker and 2 Live Crew have run afoul of moral crusaders looking to stamp out obscenity over the years. It probably wasn't a sense of solidarity with the Crew's First Amendment battles that put this ever-so-coy track into heavy rotation in strip joints nationwide, of course -- chalk those spins up to the group's inimitable Miami Bass sound instead.
2 Live Crew has turned more wives and mothers into wannabe strippers on the dance floor than any musical act in history; it almost seems like cheating for honest-to-god sex workers to deploy the ass-shaking beat for commercial purposes.
Can't say we're complaining too loudly, though. What "Pop That Coochie" lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in sheer, explicit nastiness. It's the perfect pick-me-up song for your local strip club's stretch-marked C-team on a Wednesday night.
1. Ginuwine, "Pony:" Is there a more perfect strip-club song than "Pony?" Name one. Not only is this track scientifically engineered to inspire furious lap-grinding, it's infectious enough to get even the prudes singing along. "Pony" was Ginuwine's debut single, helping to introduce the world to the production stylings of Timbaland.
It also helped to introduce a million or so zippers to stripper butt cheeks from coast to coast, earning a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of strip-club anthems. Keep ridin' it, ladies.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.