Too Much Too Young

Album: The Specials (1980)
Charted: 1
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song tells the story of a teenage mother from a scathing, judgmental perspective:

    Ain't he cute?
    No he ain't
    He's just another burden on the welfare state


    It's based on a 1969 song by Lloyd Charmer called "Birth Control." The Specials' keyboardist Jerry Dammers sped up the tempo and updated the words.
  • The Specials landed their first UK #1 in February 1980 when "Too Much Too Young," their third single, claimed the top spot. They were hot stuff in Britain, but at the time were touring America, where they were slogging it out to sparse crowds. They went home in March but returned to perform on the April 19, 1980 episode of Saturday Night Live, bringing ska to the show for the first time.

    "Our performance was incendiary," Horace Panter of The Specials said in the book Skaboom! An American Ska And Reggae Oral History. "We were all in bad moods and the tension was palpable. I felt kinda embarrassed by it, to be honest."
  • Dammers told the story of the song in an interview with BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Annie Othen: "I can remember, obviously, what the song was about... I nearly had a thing with a married woman and it didn't happen in the end - obviously because she was married - so there was all that sort of rage and frustration of a young man.

    The song kind of got a happy ending because, obviously, the kid came first. So behind all that rage, it's actually quite nice because we both walked away from it for the sake of the kid."
  • Running just 2:04, this is the shortest UK #1 of the 1980s.
  • This is the title track to the group's live EP The Special A.K.A. Live. The album is all ska covers and became only the second EP to top the UK albums chart (The first was Demis Roussos' The Roussos Phenomenon in 1976).

Comments: 4

  • Melinda from AustraliaFunniest and best song ever about kids with kids. Most bands today would be totally avoid writing a song this blunt. Well perhaps The Dandy Warhol’s would give it a go.
    And I love the line,
    ‘Ain’t he cute, no he aint’
    Everyone can relate to that.
    That moment when you were a teen and your saw one of your friend’s baby for the 1st time.
    And you thought Faaa....rr...kkk. Why has she had a kid’.
    When being young is about havin fun.
    Also love the line ‘no more pickni’ .
    hilarious.
  • Ade from Coventry UkThis was recorded at the same venue as Chuck Berry's My Ding A Ling in Coventry.
  • Richard from London, United KingdomBaked Beans. Don't you have those in the states? Made by Heinz!
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkI hadn't thought of this song in a while - try the RANDOM SONGFACTs if you haven't yet - All I remember of the lyrics was "Now you're married with a kid when you could be having fun with me" and "Ain't he cute, no he ain't. HE's just another burden on the welfare state". That and a line about beans on toast. What are beans on toast? -It's got to be British.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Best Band Logos

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.