Too Much Too Young

Album: The Specials (1980)
Charted: 1
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  • 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’ .
  • 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.
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