Picture sleeve for Bauhaus's Bela Lugosi's Dead
Northampton, U.K. residents Daniel Ash (guitar), his friend David J. Haskins (bass), and younger brother Kevin Haskins (drums) had been in various bands since childhood. Many of these bands did not last more than one gig, but one of the longer lasting of these bands, The Craze, performed a number of gigs in Northampton. When The Craze broke up, Ash tried to convince old schoolmate Peter Murphy to join him in forming a band, simply because Ash thought Murphy had the right look for a band. Murphy, who was working in a printing factory and had never written lyrics or music, decided to give it a try; during Murphy and Ash’s first rehearsal, Murphy co-wrote “In the Flat Field”. Old band mate Kevin Haskins joined on drums, but Ash made a point of excluding David J. Haskins, recruiting Chris Barber as the bassist instead, even though Haskins had been the driving force behind their previous bands, because Ash wanted a band he could control. Soon, however, Ash reconsidered and brought in David J. to replace Barber. The band played their first gig at the Cromwell pub in Wellingborough on New Year’s Eve in 1978. The group initially named themselves Bauhaus 1919 (a reference to the Bauhaus art movement of the 1920s), later shortened to Bauhaus. Together for only six weeks, the band entered a recording studio for the first time to record a demo at the Beck Studios in Wellingborough. The band recorded five songs during that session; one of them, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, was released as the group’s debut single in August 1979 on Small Wonder Records. This is today’s featured single.
“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” starts off with a staccato drum beat, soon accompanied by a very simple minor-key melody played on bass, with weird screeching guitar effects in the background. Immediately the track has a minimalist appeal. The lyrics begin about 2 minutes and 50 seconds into the song (just as the guitar transitions to a D9sus6/ C#7sus3/ Bsus4/ Bx melody) : “White on white translucent black capes/Back on the rack/Bela Lugosi’s dead.” The song may trace its roots to the punk movement of the day, but this song is much more nuanced than most punk rock. It is at the same time both evocative and restrained, and above all else, dark and gloomy. Murphy’s vocals are very effective here, with reverb being used on the track with great effect, and “I’m dead” repeated enough times to sear into the memory of the listener. The song ends with the same staccato drum beat with which it opens, coming to a sudden ending. This is probably one of the most memorable debut singles, even though at 9 minutes and 39 seconds, it may be a bit too repetitive for some listeners. Nevertheless, the song should be regarded as a goth rock masterpiece, even if the passage of time has obscured just how groundbreaking it was. A live version was included on the band’s “Press the Eject…” album.
The B-side of this single, “Boys”, is not as memorable as “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, but is a pretty good song. The lyrics are nonsensical (“We tried to fly /Is it so high/We don’t think so/We don’t think so”), but Murphy’s unconventional singing voice complements the song perfectly. Like the A-side, this song is somewhat repetitive, the melody being played with machine-like precision. The melody is simpler than “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, relying mainly on chords E and A. And the song ends suddenly, abruptly stopping after with Murphy’s final “uh” a little more than 3 minutes into the track.
Picture sleeve for the promotional release of Bela Lugosi's Dead
The single (catalog #: TEENY 2) was issued on Small Wonder Records. It had a picture sleeve with a black and white image depicting a bat, and the band’s name underneath the image, with “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” written in script under the band’s name. The band released three more singles, “Dark Entries”, “Terror Couple Kill Colonel”, and “Telegram Sam” (all songs previously recorded by glam rockers T. Rex) before the debut of their first album, “In the Flat Field” (1980), released on 4AD. The album topped the indie music charts and peaked at #72 in the U.K. Bauhaus’s success exceeded the resources of 4AD, so the band was transferred to 4AD’s parent company, Beggar’s Banquet. The band’s first two singles on Beggar’s Banquet were “Kick in the Eye” (U.K. #59) and “The Passion of Lovers” (U.K. #56). The band’s second album, “Mask”, was released in October 1981, and featured more keyboards to add to the diversity of the band’s sound. Their next single, “Spirit”, was intended as the band’s breakthrough single; however, it stalled at #42. The band was so displeased with their recording of the song that they re-recorded it for their next album, “The Sky’s Gone Out” (1982). In 1982, they also had their biggest hit with a cover version of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” (#4 U.K.). Daniel Murphy was stricken with pneumonia prior to the recording of the band’s forth album, and as a result Ash and David J. Haskins were the driving forces behind “Burning from the Inside” (1983). The album’s lead single, “She’s in Parties”, reached #26 in the U.K. The night before Bauhaus was scheduled to play two shows at the Hammersmith Palais, the group decided to disband. They played their last concert on July 5, 1983, and “Burning from the Inside” was released a week later. Bauhaus briefly reunited for the “Resurrection Tour” in 1998, which yielded a new song, “The Dog’s a Vapour”, and a live album released in 1999, “Gotham”. They reunited again in 2005, and this reunion led to the band touring with Nine Inch Nails in the summer of 2006. They released an album, “Go Away White” (2008), their first studio album in twenty-five years, but this marked the end of the band and there was no supporting tour.
I'm on the internet radio
Those of you who have been trying to tune in to the live stream lately have probably been wondering what’s been going on, as I have not done a new live show in about a month. I have been in the process of upgrading my studio and hopefully the result will be higher-quality shows. I have also been contemplating making changes to the show’s format. For now, however, the show will remain a three-hour program, with the first hour being devoted to a spotlight artist segment, and the third hour opening with a live segment.
In addition, I have changed the show time for the live stream to 9:00 PM Eastern time on Thursdays. This is effective immediately, and the first show will be netcast on Thursday, May 6, with Rush as the featured artist. Here’s the schedule for the next two weeks:
May 13: Private Stock Records
May 20: Television
Child in Time picture sleeve. The single was released in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
In 1967, former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis started putting together a new band called Roundabout (called such because the members would get on and off the band). He contacted businessman Tony Edwards in a bid to obtain financing for the venture; he agreed to back the project with the aid of two partners: John Coletta and Ron Hire (together they formed HEC Enterprises, the acronym “HEC” coming from the initials of their surnames). Their first recruit was classically-trained organist Jon Lord; he was followed by session guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Curtis soon dropped out, but HEC Enterprises, as well as Lord and Blackmore, wanted to carry on. For bass guitar, Lord suggested Nick Simper; the lineup was completed by vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice. Blackmore suggested a new name: Deep Purple, which was his grandmother’s favorite song. The band signed with Parlophone Records (with Tetragrammaton as their U.S. distributor), and released “Shades of Deep Purple” (1968). The first single from the album, “Hush”, was a major hit in North America (#4 U.S., #2 Canada), contributing to the album’s success in the U.S. (peaking at #24), even though it did not sell well in the U.K. Their second album, “The Book of Taliesyn” (1968), released on Harvest Records, was another U.S. success (#38), yet it was not released in the U.K. until the following year. The following year saw the release of “Deep Purple” (1969), in which the band’s classical influences were on full display. Evans and Simper were soon fired, and were replaced by Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass). Tetragrammaton folded, and Warner Bros. became the band’s U.S. distributor as they released their fourth album, “Deep Purple In Rock” (1970), the first album with the “classic” Deep Purple lineup. This album contained a track, “Child in Time”, which was released as a single in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. This is today’s featured single.
Running 10 minutes and 17 seconds on the album, “Child in Time” was split into two parts for the single. The song begins with a minor key melody played on an organ, accompanied by Paice’s restrained drumming. Then Gillan’s vocals begin 50 seconds into the track: “Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line/The line that’s drawn between, good and the bad/See the blind man, he’s shooting at the world/The bullets flying and they’re taking toll.” Soon Gillan’s vocals becomes higher-pitched, as he begins to wail, but in spite of Gillan displaying more of his vocal range than he normally would, “Child in Time” is a relatively simple composition, anchored by three main chords. Gillan’s banshee-like wailing finally gives way to a Richie Blackmore guitar solo 3 minutes and 33 seconds into the song. At first the solo has a slow, bluesy feel to it, but soon the pace of Blackmore’s playing increases (punctuated by Paice’s drums), with Blackmore using a Gibson ES-335 instead of his usual Fender Stratocaster for this track. The solo lasts about 2 and a half minutes before it comes to an abrupt halt, and the song cycle begins anew, with Ian Lord’s organ returning to the musical mix as the track goes quiet again. The lyrics are repeated, and layers are added to the wall of sound, gradually getting louder, the tempo of the music getting faster and faster (mirroring the Blackmore guitar solo in the first half), sounding almost like a runaway calliope, with Gillan really caterwauling away before the song comes to a climax and ends. This song has been covered many times, including by Yngwie Malmsteen on his album “Inspiration”.
The single (catalog #: 5C 006-93557) was released by Harvest Records. There was a picture sleeve (shown here). By the time this single was released, Deep Purple was well on their way to achieving mainstream success, having released two more studio albums, “Fireball” (1971) and “Machine Head” (1972), the latter containing both “Smoke on the Water” and “Highway Star”. Both albums reached #1 in the U.K. A live album, “Made in Japan”, followed in December 1972. One more studio album was released with the Glover/Gillan/Blackmore/Lord/Paice lineup, “Who Do You Think We Are” (1973), containing the hit single “Woman from Tokyo”. Tensions grew within the band, and both Glover and Gillan were fired. They were replaced by Glenn Hughes on bass (formerly of Trapeze), and David Coverdale, a 21 year old then-unknown singer. This lineup recorded “Burn” (1974), which contained a more funky element than previous albums. “Stormbringer” followed later that year. Blackmore did not like the new direction of the band, and left Deep Purple in the spring of 1975 to form Rainbow. He was replaced by American gutiarist Tommy Bolin, who was the lead guitarist on “Come Taste the Band” (1975). The result was a revitalized sound, but Bolin’s drug problems soon resulted in cancelled shows and sub par performances. Lord and Paice, the last remaining original members, made the decision to disband Deep Purple in March 1976. Later that year, while Bolin was touring in support of his second solo album, “Private Eyes” (1976), he died of a drug overdose. It would take another 8 years before the original lineup reunited to record “Perfect Strangers” (1984).