Antedating of "Back Door Man"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Nov 10 00:57:10 UTC 2003

On Sun, Nov 09, 2003 at 07:26:20AM -0500, Fred Shapiro wrote:
> The Historical Dictionary of American Slang has 1969 as its first use for
> _back door man_ 'adulterous male lover' (the citation is from Led
> Zeppelin's song "Whole Lotta Love").  But Howlin' Wolf released Willie
> Dixon's song "Back Door Man" in 1960:

This was an unfortunate mistake that we realized even at the time,
but it fell through the pre-publication cracks. We knew that the
Doors song "Back Door Man" was earlier than the Led Zep song, but
we also knew that the Doors song was a cover of Blind Willie Dixon,
so we didn't put in the Doors quote because we were busy checking
the Dixon, which we forgot to do, so nothing got in.

We've since found something earlier still, though not as early as
the examples Jonathon Green, bless him, posted.

Jesse Sheidlower

More information about the Ads-l mailing list