“Talk Dirty to Me” stands as a prominent single from Poison. Unveiled on February 18, 1987, it served as the second release from their debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” The track’s immense popularity propelled it to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, marking Poison’s first top 40 hit in the United States and solidifying their position as one of the leading rock acts of the decade.
The song’s origins hold a degree of uncertainty. It emerged as an homage to youthful romance, drawing inspiration from an Eddie Cochran riff. Guitarist C.C. DeVille introduced the song to Poison during his audition for the band in 1985. Rather audaciously, DeVille declined to learn the band’s existing material and instead insisted on performing a track he claimed to have written while part of his previous band, The Screaming Mimis. To the band’s surprise, this track was an early version of what later became “Talk Dirty to Me.” Despite reservations about DeVille’s brash personality, the band recognized the song’s potential and ultimately brought him on board mainly to incorporate the track into their repertoire.
However, the song’s origins were subject to controversy when a defunct glam metal band called Kid Rocker filed a lawsuit against Poison in 2011. According to Kid Rocker, they had actually penned the song in the early 1980s. Kid Rocker, a Chicago-based band, had moved to Los Angeles seeking fame, just like Poison. They had signed with Atlantic Records in 1984 and had been a prominent presence on the Sunset Strip club scene before disbanding. The lawsuit alleged that DeVille had auditioned for Kid Rocker in 1984, during which he was asked to learn and perform “Talk Dirty to Me,” which they claimed to be their creation. Additionally, former Kid Rocker members, Billy McCarthy (later of D’Molls) and James Stonich, asserted that Poison’s songs “I Won’t Forget You,” “Fallen Angel,” and “Ride The Wind” were also originally authored by them and later taken by DeVille. Poison’s legal team refuted the claims as groundless, arguing that if such allegations were true, the plaintiffs would have pursued remedies much earlier than 25 years after the fact. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of Poison on April 8, 2013, citing the statute of limitations on copyright infringement, which had long since expired.
The music video for the song earned an impressive spot at No. 7 on Classic Rock magazine’s prestigious list of “The Top 10 Best Hair Metal Videos.” The magazine went so far as to proclaim, “If you truly desire to understand the immense appeal of hair metal, then this (song) is the quintessential embodiment of it all.”