My song today is ‘Behind Closed Doors’. This country song was written by Kenny O’Dell. It was first recorded by Charlie Rich for his 1973 album ‘Behind Closed Doors’. The single was Rich's first Number-1 hit on the country charts, spent 20 weeks on this chart, and was also a crossover hit on the pop charts. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA for U. S. sales in excess of two million copies. Background vocals were provided by The Nashville Edition.
‘Behind Closed Doors earned awards for ‘Song of the Year’ (for O'Dell) and ‘Single of the Year’ (for Charlie Rich) from both the ‘Country Music Association’ and the ‘Academy of Country Music’. Charlie Rich also received a ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Male Country Vocal Performance’. In 2003, it ranked at Number 9 in CMT’S ’100 Greatest Songs in Country Music’.
This song reached Number one spot on the ‘US Billboard Hot Country Songs’ chart and in ‘Canadian RPM Country Tracks’ and Number 16 in the UK, and Number 9 in Ireland. Many artists have covered ‘Behind Closed Doors’ including Loretta Lynn: Dolly Parton: Diana Ross: Perry Como: Tom Jones: Percy Sledge and many others.
When this record was first released, I was just commencing my Probation career with the West Yorkshire Probation Service. Over my career, I was to be informed of so many bad things which had gone on behind ‘closed doors’ by some of the clients I worked with.
I have been told of more incidents of repeated and prolonged cruelty along with physical, emotional and sexual abuse than my mind was able to sometimes take on board and my emotions were able to readily internalise. Such despicable acts included abuse by adults towards innocent children and vulnerable teenagers. These abuses took place by nuns, priests, teachers, fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, scoutmasters and people who managed Care Homes, Foster Homes, and Social Service Residential establishments.
No sector of church, state, or social service department was innocent during these years of stealing childhood innocence and the dreams of teenage girls and boys. Indeed, there was a time during the 1970s, when Great Britain seemed to be mired in a cesspool of sheer evilness and depravity, whereby civilised and decent adults, buried their heads in the sand at the abuse which permeated society unchallenged, and authority figures from both the State and the Church became engaged in practices of deceit, cover-up and negligence by failing to investigate, report and prosecute. Young children who dared to accuse adults of sexual abuse were not believed by the authorities and were instead shunned, punished and expected to remain in their places of abuse.
Any honest person who lived through this period, and who is prepared to question the more relaxed moral values of the 1960s and 1970s that existed (particularly the overt sexual discrimination practised by men towards women), would have to acknowledge that society unknowingly prepared fertile ground for all manner of abuse to exist, flourish and spread with greater ease between man and woman and adult and child; between the powerful in the workplace and their subordinates, and between the vulnerable child and teenager who’d been placed in Care of the Local Authorities by the court of the land and who were then made to reside in Residential Homes that were often managed and run by authority figures of sexual perversion.
We need to maintain a correct balance of vigilance as a society who professes to care for its citizens; particularly its vulnerable and its young. It is wholly indefencible that the sexual grooming of vulnerable children has gone on (largely unabated until recently) in our Northern areas of the country for over two decades, involving many hundreds of abused children, despite police and social services department having had numerous citizen reports that this was continuing to happen, whilst yet ignoring all warning signs.
Love and peace Bill xxx