The Burt Bacharach song, “Always something there to remind me” was written about Herpes. Or that’s according to a new documentary to be screened on digital music channel, Scotch Egg 1 over Christmas.
During the show, music journalist Dick Power interviews Bacharach’ s close friend and fellow songwriter, Dick Titball. Titball tells him, “Burt was walking on the street going for coffee. In those days he used to go to Morning Joe’s which was across from a clap clinic in Greenwich Village. He used to stop by most days and talk to the people waiting to go in.”
“One day he gets talking to this guy whose girlfriend had left him. He was feeling lonely because he missed her. Burt found out that he was being treated for Herpes. The guy told Burt that he’d always have something there to remind him of his girlfriend because she’d given him Herpes.”
The song was a hit in 1967 for Dionne Warwick. Whilst the inspiration for the song may seem unlikely it wasn’t the only song from the era about sexually transmitted infections. English rock band, Cream had a hit the year before with song, NSU named after a non specific urinary infection.
Whilst unusual subjects like this aren’t uncommon. Professor Liberace Campopiano told us, “In 1931 Harry Roy had a hit with “Pussy”. It definitely wasn’t about cats. The first dance at my wedding was, “Hold tight, I want seafood mama” by Sidney Bechet. Songs like “My Handy Man” by Ethel Waters show that this stuff has been around for years.”