"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King for girl group the Crystals under the guidance of Phil Spector in 1962. Goffin and King wrote the song after discovering that their babysitter and singer Little Eva was being regularly beaten by her boyfriend. When they inquired why she tolerated such treatment, Eva replied, with complete sincerity, that her boyfriend's actions were motivated by his love for her.
Upon its initial release, "He Hit Me" received some airplay, but then there was a widespread protest of the song, with many concluding that the song was an endorsement of spousal abuse. Soon, the song was played only rarely on the radio, as now.
The 1930 Frank Borzage film Liliom contains the line "He hit me and it felt like a kiss" in its final scene. The film was not a success and nothing suggests that Goffin or King had seen it. Liliom, originally a play by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár, was the basis for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic, Carousel. While King and Goffin may not have seen Liliom, it is possible that they were familiar with the successful 1956 film version of Carousel, which contains essentially the same line. However, King has stated that their friend who inspired the song had used that exact phrase.
Carole King, in that same radio interview, said that she was sorry she had ever had anything to do with the song. She was a survivor of repeated domestic abuse (but not from Goffin, who had been her husband from 1959 to 1969).
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