It’s a landmark, worthy of a place in the pantheon alongside “Give My Regards to Broadway” (1904) and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911)—and, for that matter, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Rapper’s Delight.” Like “The Twist” and “Call Me Maybe,” it was a viral hit, inspiring hundreds of spinoffs and rippling through American culture for decades before dropping out of earshot.
If we listen closely to “I Love, I Love, I Love My Wife—But Oh! ” we may hear a surprising lesson: that the culture-quaking shocks, the salaciousness and transgression we associate with blues and jazz and rock and hip-hop, first arrived in American pop many years earlier. ” was standard fare, a typical comic-courtship song: a catchy trifle, carrying a whiff of sex, but moderate in temperature and tempo.
The public loved her man-eating stage act, she said, but only her daughter had ever truly loved the woman beneath it. Her glamorous act affected ennui for the jewels, champagne and art dropped at her feet by the world’s richest white men, at a time when most black Americans were struggling for basic human rights, and it was still illegal for a black person to have sex with a white one in 28 out of 50 American states.
Williams goes back to the swampland of Kitt’s home town, where childhood friends confirm her account that she “came up tight”.
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