When Newman performed this song during a live radio session with the California based station KCRW, in October 2003, he said he wrote it when he was about 26 years old, and thought it was a joke at the time, but as he grew older he began to take it seriously.
Joe Cocker recorded a swaggering version for his 1986 album Cocker which was used in a striptease scene in 9½ Weeks, a movie that was equally explicit as this song. In 1997, a version by Tom Jones appeared in the movie The Full Monty - also in a strip scene. With the exception of the '60s instrumental "The Stripper," this is the most famous song about stripping.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
Tom Jones recalled his recording of this song for The Full Monty soundtrack: "We recorded it in an afternoon on a day off when I was on the road on a UK tour. Composer Anne Dudley was doing the music. They had Joe Cocker's version of You Can Leave Your Hat On, but the director thought his performance was a bit too serious.
Who knew that this film would do what it did? It was supposed to be a low-budget, small British film, but it became a worldwide smash, so I was thrilled be a part of it."
On first appearances this appears to be a risqué song in which the singer invites his lover to slowly remove almost all her clothing. However, Newman told NPR in a May 8, 2013 interview that he didn't set out to pen a racy tune. "The guy is just - I always thought of him as a fairly weak fellow," he said. "It sounded like - and to me, I would've thought the girl could break him in half. He's not asking much. You know, Joe Cocker and Tom Jones had hits with it, and they did it, you know, about higher than I did and louder, as if it were a real sexual kind of thing. I could have done it. I just didn't think of it. But I thought of it as, you know, as not very."