Donielle Flynn

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Joe Cocker at Pine Knob on 6-23-1990

“You Can Leave Your Hat On” was not written nor initially performed by Joe Cocker. Randy Newman wrote and first performed “You Can Leave Your Hat On” in 1972 on his album, Sail Away. He said he wrote it as a joke at the time, but as he got older, he looked at the song more seriously. Here’s the original.

In 1986, Joe Cocker swaggered the s@!# out of this song. The song was used for Kim Bassinger’s striptease scene in the movie. 9 & 1/2 Weeks. Remember when that movie came out? Everyone was talking about what a dirty movie it was, but how did they know if they didn’t see it? lol

“You Can Leave Your Hat On” is one of the most famous stripper songs… Most likely only second to “The Stripper” instrumental from the ’60s.

Tom Jones also did a version of the song for the movie, Full Monty. Tom said of the experience, “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 to be a part of it.” Here’s the scene from the Full Monty.

Randy Newman said in a 2013 interview with NPR that he didn’t set out to write a stripper song. “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.”

Find out more stories behind the songs

“Rockin’ Into The Night” was not originally a .38 Special song

How Sammy Hagar Wrote “I Can’t Drive 55”

How George Harrison Wrote “Here Comes the Sun”

Donielle Fynn is a Michigan native with two kids, two dogs, two cats, a love of yoga, and all things classic rock.