Posts Tagged ‘The Doors’

That hungry little daschund!*For mature readers only, and trust me when I say you’ll look at that little dog differently by the end of this article.

But seriously, I’m talking songs about killers. Death Songs. Rock and Roll has been rife with these types of oddities since its inception. Probably the heyday of morbid rock was in the 60’s, with songs like “Dead Man’s Curve” or “Last Kiss” (Pearl Jam did a brutal cover of that one a few years back) although that’s not exactly the type of song I’m going to talk about here. I’ve always been fascinated by the tunes with more of an edge, songs with a more threatening tone if you will. If they have a happy little melody to balance things out, well, that’s even better. Hey, there’s nothing cooler than humming along merrily to a song about a serial killer, right?

So without further ado, a list of my favorites:

Run for Your Life – The Beatles

This gem from John Lennon seems harmless enough, at least until you actually listen to the lyrics. It was on Rubber Soul and John pulled no punches regarding what would happen if his girlfriend left him:

Let this be a sermon, I mean everything I’ve said, Baby, I’m determined and I’d rather see you dead. You better run for your life if you can, little girl, Hide your head in the sand little girl, Catch you with another man, that’s the end, little girl.

Yikes. How in God’s name did that get past the honcho’s way back in 1965? This, my friends, was an early indicator that the friendly moptops weren’t as innocent as they seemed.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles

This Paul McCartney song (from Abbey Road) is a great example of how downright nasty lyrics can be when hidden behind a catchy tune and how, incredibly, a lot of people miss the point. Hey, it’s upbeat and bouncy, it can’t possibly be about a guy who murders his girlfriend Joan, his teacher, and then the judge presiding over his trial. Or can it? I’ve got to give you the full song on this one:

Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical science in the home,  Late nights all alone with a test-tube, ohh-oh-oh-oh… Maxwell Edison majoring in medicine calls her on the phone,  “Can I take you out to the pictures Joa-oa-oa-oan?” But as she’s getting ready to go a knock comes on the door…

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead.

Back in school again Maxwell plays the fool again, teacher gets annoyed Wishing to avoid an unpleasant sce-e-e-ene,  She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away, so he waits behind,  Writing 50 times “I must not be so-o-o-oo…” But when she turns her back on the boy, he creeps up from behind…

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head,  Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead.

P.C. Thirty-One said “we caught a dirty one,” Maxwell stands alone,  Painting testimonial pictures ohh-oh-oh-oh,  Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery, say he must go free,  The judge does not agree and he tells them so-o-o-oo,  But as the words are leaving his lips a noise comes from behind…

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head,  Bang, Bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead.

I’m going to tell you something now that you may not believe. I actually heard an elementary music class singing this song at school once. I stopped outside in the hallway to make sure I was hearing what I thought I was hearing, and I was sure enough correct.

Awesome.

Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon (must-click link!)

Another great song about rape and murder set to a catchy melody. Hey, he’s just an excitable boy:

He took little Suzie to the Junior Prom Excitable boy, they all said.  And he raped her and killed her, then he took her home Excitable boy, they all said. Well, he’s just an excitable boy.

After ten long years they let him out of the home,  Excitable boy, they all said. And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bonesExcitable boy, they all said. Well, he’s just an excitable boy.

That last line about building a cage with her bones just finishes it off with the right touch, don’t ya think?

Marie Provost – Nick Lowe

God, I love this song. It’s just chock full of ironic, tongue-in-cheek madness. Basically it’s a song about a silent movie actress who couldn’t adjust when the talkies came to Hollywood. She lives all alone in a house with her little dachshund, becomes depressed, passes out on pills, and uh, things take an ugly turn. Here ya go kids! Sing along!

She’d been lyin’ there for two or three weeks, The neighbors said they never heard a squeak, While hungry eyes that could not speak, Said even little doggies have gotta eat.

And later . . .

Those quaalude bombs didn’t help her sleep, As her nights grew long and her days grew bleak, It’s all downhill once you’ve passed your peak, Marie got ready for that last big sleep.

The cops came in and they looked around, Throwin’ up everywhere over what they found, The handiwork of Marie’s little dachshund. That hungry little dachshund!

She was a winner that became a doggie’s dinner, She never meant that much to me, Whoa oh, poor Marie.

Try though as I might to elaborate on those lyrics, I got nuthin’. That is all.

The End – The Doors

Ooh, this song gave me the willies back when I was a young, impressionable kid (insert age joke here). Even now it’s a powerful song in many respects. To this day it’s hard to believe Jim Morrison went where he went with these horrifying lyrics:

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on. He took a face from the ancient gallery, And he walked on down the hall. He went into the room where his sister lived, and then he . . . paid a visit to his brother, and then he . . . Walked on down the hall, and he came to a door . . . and he looked inside.

“Father?” “Yes son.” “I want to kill you.” “Mother? I want to . . . . f**k you.”

Holy . . . what the hell? Man, you think rap music goes to dark places? They got nothin’ on The Lizard King. Whoa.

Timothy – The Buoys

Great song from the early 70’s about three guys who become trapped in a cave and uh… let’s just say only two are left when the rescuers get to them. Hey, nothing wrong with a catchy little song about cannibalism, is there? Enjoy . . .

Hungry as hell no food to eat, And Joe said that he would sell his soul, For just a piece of meat

Water enough to drink for two, And Joe said to me, “I’ll have a swig And then there’s some for you.”

Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?

I must have blacked out just around then, ‘Cause the very next thing that I could, Was the light of the day again, My stomach was full as it could be,  And nobody ever got around To finding Timothy . . .

So there you have it. My favorite songs about murder, rape, cannibalism, death by dachshund, and screwing your mother.

Have a nice day.

Cover songs seem to strike some sort of maniacal chord in music lovers, bringing out the worst Cover-Songs-274x190type of venom directed at the artist in question (speaking of maniacal chords, Hendrix sure screeched out a few, huh? But I digress). Everyone has their own list of their best and worst cover songs, and I’m no exception. As general rule, aren’t the originals just always better? I mean, especially if the original performers wrote the song? C’mon, it’s THEIR song after all, and the way they perform it should be the way it should be heard. Those are my feelings anyway. Still, over the years there have been some great covers, songs that really stood out to me.  On the other hand, others were just a big bowl of wrong. I’ve added a ton of links so make sure you click on them, to not would just be disrespectful. Let’s start with the good covers:

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

“Twist and Shout” was originally recorded by the Topnotes and then covered by The Isley Brothers. But it was The Beatles who turned it into a thrilling crescendo that is still electric today. One of the first songs that got my head a-bobbin’.

Toys in the Attic – R.E.M.

Whoo boy, if you’ve never heard this early R.E.M. cover, download it now – you’re in for a treat. Michael Stipe’s screeching vocals and Peter Buck’s searing guitar make this one of the greatest covers ever. Sorry Aerosmith, I like R.E.M.’s version better.

Over the Rainbow – Eric Clapton

There are a million and one covers of this song, including the great version by Ray Charles, but none comes close to the slow, bluesy, 5:42 interpretation by Slowhand himself.  Mesmerizingly beautiful.

Boyz-n-the-Hood – Dynamite Hack

Just a great, whimsical, tongue-in-cheek cover of the Eazy E tune. Originally written by Ice Cube, this version was a jarring departure from the original. Just quality, poppy, yet off-beat  stuff.

Raspberry Beret – Hindu Love Gods

Never heard of HLG? Well, let me educate my young grasshoppers. They were a band that consisted of three R.E.M members – Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry. Stipe didn’t join in on this little side combo, but the boys recruited a pretty suitable replacement, a  cat by the name of Warren Zevon. Their Prince cover is priceless. Here’s a version with Warren on lead, minus the R.E.M. cats.

Word Up – Korn

Much apologies to Korn fans, but I loved this song. Coming from Korn, this Cameo cover was so far out of left field that nobody saw it coming. It just whopped you upside the head and kept going. Korn lovers hated it, but then again most Korn lovers are usually, shall we say, high a little unfocused. Oh, and take heed. The video link will haunt your dreams.

Hurt – Johnny Cash

I  know a few Nine Inch Nails fans who thought this was sacrilegious, but I found The Man in Black’s version to be hauntingly breathtaking.

Gloria – The  Doors

Originally done by Them with Van Morrison on vocals, The Doors did a rather naughty cover that was recorded live at The Whiskey back in the day.  The Lizard King does a little spoken word verse in the middle that will curl your toes, and by the time the group builds up the music into a crescendo at song’s end you’re plum tuckered out.

Ol’ 55 – The Eagles

Yeah, I know I mentioned this song in a previous blog. So what? Settle down. From their “On the Border” album, I always loved this interpretation of the song by the great Tom Waits. Great vocals by Glen Frey.

A couple of my Honorable Mention picks would be Metallica’s “Turn the Page” (the Bob Seger redo that seemed to piss off a lot of people) and ELO’s “Roll Over Beethoven” (one of the first songs that made me say “What the hell?” Beginning a rock song with  Beethoven’s 5th symphony will do that to a young guy). And oh, the Smashing Pumpkin’s did a bang-up cover of the great Cars tune, “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight.”

And now for the unpleasantness. For the love of God I don’t  know why some of these people thought that recording these songs was a good  idea. Some of the obvious are barely worthy of a mention, but I can’t write this without pointing out that Britney Spears’ version of “Satisfaction” and Celine Dion & Anastacia singing “You Shook Me (All Night Long)” were both absolute travesties and an affront to human dignity as we know it, not to mention that listeners became 30 IQ points dumber after hearing them. But let’s get to the  so-called “serious” artists that made the fateful decision that ultimately  brought them to this blog:

Layla (MTV Unplugged Version) – Eric  Clapton

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s EC covering himself, he wrote the song, he’s a God, blah-freaking-blah. Well, Rock God’s make mistakes too. It’s still the worst damn remake of a song in recorded history. What happened to the soaring guitar, the inspired vocals, the neverending ending? All gone, replaced by a tepid sound that made me want to pound a screwdriver into my larynx (Note: I’m pretty sure that’s the first time the word larynx has been used in Shoe: Untied. Note #2: I’m awesome). Worst of all, I once played the original for a young Clapton fan and they didn’t recognize it. Sigh . . .

Behind Blue Eyes – Limp Bizkit

I swear to you upon all that is holy, when I first heard this song I wanted to reach into my radio and punch Fred Durst in the back of the face. I’ve no idea what that tool was thinking when he thought he could cover a Roger Daltrey vocal. Absolute sewage, and may Durst meet Mark David Chapman when they both end up in hell. Suck it Durst!

Sweet Child O’ Mine – Sheryl Crow

Sheryl,  honey, I love ya. I think Lance Armstrong’s an ass for dumping you. I think  you’re an underrated singer/songwriter who can just play the hell out of that guitar. But you can’t cover G N’ R darlin’. You just can’t. They’re kind of a heavy rock outfit, ya know? Not your style at all. You’re a bit of a balladeer, a gorgeous songbird with a rock chick vibe.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of  This) – Marilyn Manson

Seriously? The original by The Eurythmics was a bit of a moody, hypnotic, breezy, DREAMY sort of song if you will. Marilyn‘s take? Not so much. No thank you, sir. Say hello to Durst and Chapman for me.

Anything by Rod Stewart

You know, I’m old enough to recall when Rod Stewart was cool. The Small Faces were a rock band baby! Later on, Maggie May was a great early 70’s tune that promised a bright future for ol’ Rod. Regrettably, sometime in the late 70’s he took a wrong turn into Discoland (see “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”) and the rest is history. Since then he’s become a hotel lounge singer, covering anything and everything in the Songbook of Saps. And badly I might add. He absolutely butchered Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” and now reminds  me of Bill Murray’s lounge lizard character on the old SNL. Pathetic, and if you don’t believe me listen to the georgeous original.

American Pie – Madonna

When I first heard this song I literally wept in a corner for 2 1/2 hours. Classic case of an artist’s ego becoming so big they think listeners will like anything they spew out of their piehole. More like American Shitcake if you ask me.

There  ya go. As soon as I publish this blog I’m sure 10-songs will pop into my head  that I forgot about. I’m sure you have some cover songs that you hate/like as well. If so let’s hear ‘em.

I’m out.

Originally published on April 13th, 2012.