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Classic Song Review: Eddie Money's Tribute to Cannibal Serial Killers

This is satire, please no that this is not intended as an actual review of the otherwise banal 1986 hit 'Take Me Home Tonight'

By Sean PatrickPublished 2 months ago 7 min read

Take Me Home Tonight (1986)

Singer Eddie Money

Songwriter Mick Leeson, Peter Vale, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector

Release Date August 1986

You know something? Sometimes, thinking too much about a song is a terrible idea. When you ponder some songs, even ones you ostensibly enjoy, you can start to hate that song. That's what has happened to me with a song that was massive in my childhood. I was 10 years old when I first heard Eddie Money sing Take Me Home Tonight. It was on the radio constantly and the video, filmed in black and white in an empty arena, was in massive rotation on MTV, MTV being the true obsession of my young mind.

MTV took up days and hours of my time as a child. I was obsessed with music videos. I was obsessed with music video countdowns, be it the weekly Top 25 Countdown or Dial MTV, the daily Top 8 or 10 countdown to which I committed my parents hard earned money by calling in to make requests and to try to push Def Leppard or Poison or Stryper's latest song to the top of the rankings. I never called to vote for Take Me Home Tonight. It wasn't that I didn't like it, rather, it was just never that kind of song.

Take Me Home Tonight is one of those songs from the 80s that seemed to become a hit out of a particular kind of boomer nostalgia. By 1986, Eddie Money had not released a record in 3 years. He'd been a relatively brief arena rock obsession. In 1977 he released his first record and scored two big hits, Baby Hold On and Two Tickets to Paradise. Money found fame quickly but was just as quickly was reduced to a novelty. His subsequent three records struggled and he was in the wilderness for three years before Take Me Home Tonight became a song he was forced to sing.

Take Me Home Tonight was the price Eddie Money had to pay to keep his record deal. He didn't actually like the song. His producer and the record company loved the demo and forced it on Money who then recruited Ronnie Spector to sing on the record. Why was Ronnie Spector sought for the song? Because, as lead singer of The Ronettes, her song Be My Baby was at the heart of Take Me Home Tonight. It's the song that the protagonist of Take Me Home Tonight is listening to while begs and cajoles a woman to Take him home Tonight.

So, with the ringing endorsement that Eddie Money didn't like the song and Ronnie Spector had to be begged to sing on it, let's dig into this utterly bizarre, lazy, and creepy song. Take Me Home Tonight could be remixed to be a song about a man who was stalking someone and has crept into their bedroom at night, through a window, uninvited to beg her for sex. It really doesn't take much more than thinking about it to move Take Me Home Tonight into the same uncanny valley where The Police classic Every Breath You Take has lingered for about 40 years.

Take Home Tonight sure starts on a creepy note with Money breathing heavily as he croons "I feel a hunger, it's a hunger." Well? Is it a hunger you feel? Are you unsure Mr. Money? The line is delivered as if he's uncertain what this feeling is before he reassures himself that, indeed, he's feeling a 'hunger.' Sadly, this is not the kind of hunger that could be satisfied with a Snickers. As Mr. Money continues, it becomes quite uncomfortably clear that this is a very horny kind of hunger.

Next we learn that Money's hunger is its own external being, one that is pushing him around, out of his control. This hunger keeps him awake at night. He wonders if the woman he can see from wherever he is, perhaps her backyard, peering through a window, is the answer to his hunger. He wonders because, he claims, he can feel her with his 'appetite.' So, yeah, this is a romance from the perspective of a cannibal serial killer. PROVE ME WRONG!

"With all the power you're releasing

It isn't safe to walk the city streets alone

Anticipation is running through me

Let's find the key and turn this engine on

I can feel you breathe

I can feel your heart beat faster"

He can feel her breathing and feel her heart beat faster because she's terrified that he's going to murder her and eat her corpse all while the 1960s classic Be My Baby plays as a soundtrack. That's the story of Take Me Home Tonight. My evidence is solid, if not completely airtight. But, what if I tell you that a known killer is a credited songwriter on Take Me Home Tonight? Phil Spector died in prison in 2020 after being convicted of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

Admittedly, Spector had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of Take Me Home Tonight. He's a credited writer and producer for Be My Baby which is named checked in the chorus, song by the singer of that song, Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes. Ronnie is also Phil's ex-husband but she had escaped from him by 1986, when Take Me Home Tonight became a song that paid tribute to another song. When I say escape, Ronnie Spector claims to have literally escaped as in having been trapped in her home by her husband before managing to free herself. So, yeah, the killer on the record is just a character, the specter of Phil Specter is but a coincidence. But still!

"I get frightened in all this darkness

I get nightmares I hate to sleep alone

I need some company, a guardian angel

To keep me warm when the cold winds blow"

The psychology of the protagonist of this song never fails to creep me out. He's a dangerous cannibal serial killer and a guy who desperately needs a mommy. Excuse me, a 'Guardian Angel,' to keep him warm at night. Strong beta energy for a serial cannibal murderer but I am certain that is merely part of a ruse, a play of vulnerability used to lull his intended target into a sense of false security. Act like a small child who needs someone take care of them, then wham! Turn on The Ronettes and start feeding on the victim's flesh. I've seen it a million times.

But Sean, you may ask, in defiance of my narrative, what about the title? Isn't Take Me Home Tonight a request and not a demand? Did you not here the insistence in Eddie Money's voice dear reader? He's demanding that his victim take him home. He even says he won't let her go until she sees the light, clearly a reference to the light at the end of the tunnel that one sees just before death. It's the light she's going to see as Eddie Money, or the protagonist of the song as portrayed by Eddie Money, strangles the life out of them while he plays a Ronettes record.

The 80s were a weird time. Sting and The Police were watching you through your window and then yelling at you if you were to stand close to them(Every Breath You Take, Don't Stand So Close to Me). Peter Gabriel threatened people with a Sledgehammer, and women were constantly accusing Michael Jackson of being the father of their son (Billie Jean). But few songs were as disturbing as Eddie Money's tribute to cannibal serial killers, Take Me Home Tonight. What makes it so insidious is that the song is otherwise so remarkably banal that you'd never know, without my diligent detective work, just how disturbing it truly was.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at Find my modern review and article archive on my Vocal Profile linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my work on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip. Thanks!

80s music

About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. I am a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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Comments (2)

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)2 months ago

    Great Insights ✨❤️😉

  • Mohamed Jakkath2 months ago

    This article provides a unique perspective on a popular song from the 80s and highlights the uncomfortable themes and implications within the lyrics. It's interesting to learn about the history and context surrounding the song's creation and the lack of enthusiasm from the artist himself. I hope that readers are inspired to critically analyze the media they consume and to question the messages being conveyed, even in seemingly innocent songs. It's important to be aware of the potential impact that media can have on our beliefs and behaviors.

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