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The Madonna Timeline: Song #37 – ‘Hanky Panky’ – Summer 1990

{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

Come over here…
Some girls they like candy,
Others they like to grind,
I’ll settle for the back of your hand
Somewhere on my behind
Treat me like I’m a bad girl
Even when I’m being good to you,
I don’t want you to thank me,
You can just… spank me! Ooh…

And oww! Here we are, back in the summer of 1990 – arguably the peak of Madonna’s power and fame, and many fans’ favorite era – for the next song in the Madonna Timeline. ‘Hanky Panky’, off I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy, couples racy lyrics with the quasi-period music from the movie. As such, some of the edge gets lost from the words, which are actually a bit saucier than the delivery – a rarity for many of Madonna’s songs.

Some guys like to sweet talk
Others they like to tease
Tie my hands behind my back
And, ooh, I’m in ecstasy.
Don’t stuff me with kisses,
I can get that from my sisters
Before I get too cranky,
You better like hanky panky…
Nothing like a good spanky,
Don’t take out your handkerchief,
I don’t want a cry, I just want a hanky panky guy.

Without a video, or much airplay, the song doesn’t bring a specific moment in time to life for me. The hazy, hot, and humid spells of summer, when the hollyhocks were high, come vaguely to mind, as do a few night-time drives when this was on the stereo, but that’s about it. My days of getting spanked were far in the future, so lyrically it was all a silly bunch of untried peccadilloes. Even today, it feels less dirty than flirty – a harmless bit of fun, and a nostalgic nod to a lost era of by-gone innocence.

Please don’t call the doctor,
Cause there’s nothing wrong with me
I just like things a little rough
And you better not disagree.
I don’t like a big softie, no!
I like someone mean and bossy,
Let me speak to you frankly,
You better like hanky panky…
Nothing like a good spanky,
Don’t take out your handkerchief,
I don’t want a cry, I just want a hanky panky
Like hanky panky,
Nothing like a good spanky,
Don’t take out your handkerchief,
I don’t want a cry, I just want a hanky panky guy…
Oooh, yeah!

(For the record, Madonna performed this song on two tours (Blonde Ambition and Reinvention) – which was one too many in my opinion. If anything, it would have fit in much better on The Girlie Show, but I have yet to be consulted on a set-list, so we’re left with what we’ve had.)

Dick, that’s an interesting name…
My bottom hurts just thinking about it…
Song #37: ‘Hanky Panky’ – Summer 1990
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