The 70’s :: Danger in the shape of something wild


So young to be loose,
and on her own.
Young boys,
they all want to take her home.
She goes downtown,
the boys all stop and stare.
When she goes downtown,
she walks like she just don’t care

History Lesson: Hot Child in the City is a pop rock ode to runaways. It was recorded by Nick Gilder and it went to number one both in Canada (October 14, 1978) and in the United States (October 28, 1978). Gilder won two Juno Awards in Canada and a People’s Choice Award in the United States.

After seeing young girls on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard, it inspired Gilder to write this song. He explained, “there are young people around (downtown Los Angeles) finding out about themselves. And so it was a reflection, I think, of youthful angst and the passion that you feel when you are young, to find out what its all about in this world.”

Editor’s note: Seems a little naive if this song is really about runaways to say they are finding out about themselves and full of youthful angst and passion. The runaways I knew, both from the streets of Hollywood, and the ones who hung out around Sears at the local mall, they always seemed better described as full of desperation, wanting and disillusionment. That said, I never took this song as being anything about “runaways”. I always too it to be about being young, going out, being a little wild, and experimenting with sexuality, and attraction.

Personal Reflection: In the very late 80’s it was the 70’s that captured us. It started as an underground Sunday night club, the first spot found in a corporate cafeteria where you were tasked with knowing a special code for the door. Next it moved on down Sunset Boulevard to make an old, slightly run down Mexican restaurant whose name meant “The Cockroach” in Spanish. There were mirrors on the wall, and red leather booths; it looked like the set for a Blondie video, all smoke-hazed and glowing. Next it took residency at an abandoned skating rink, snack bar and smooth wood floors, if you listened hard you could almost hear them call for a “couple’s skate”. This song stood out to me, one of the few I had never heard before as a child of the 70’s – I think that fact made it more mine, or ours, in that time. The lyrics above, well, my best friend and I found ourselves inside of them, and we sang-a-long, with half knowing smiles and shared winks, leaving them wondering which was which.


Hot Child in the City (live) :: Nick Gilder


Leave a Reply