|"Bela Lugosi's Dead"|
|Single by Bauhaus|
|Released||6 August 1979|
|Recorded||26 January 1979|
|Studio||Beck Studios, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England|
|Bauhaus singles chronology|
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a song by English post-punk band Bauhaus. This song was the band's first single, released on 6 August 1979 by record label Small Wonder.It is often considered the first gothic rock record.
Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, free jazz, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines developed around these pioneering musical scenes, which coalesced in cities such as London, New York, Manchester, Melbourne, Sydney, and San Francisco.
Bauhaus were an English rock band, formed in Northampton, England in 1978. The group consisted of Daniel Ash, Peter Murphy, Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass). The band was originally named Bauhaus 1919 in reference to the first operating year of the German art school Bauhaus, although they shortened the name within a year of formation. One of the pioneers of gothic rock, Bauhaus were known for their dark image and gloomy sound, although they mixed many genres, including dub, glam rock, psychedelia and funk.
In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded "live in the studio" in a single take during a six-hour session at Beck Studios in Wellingborough on 26 January 1979. Four additional songs were also recorded: "Boys"; "Bite My Hip"; the reggae tune "Harry", which was about Deborah Harry, the lead singer of Blondie;and "Some Faces". Of these recordings, only two were released. "Harry" surfaced in 1982 as a B-side to the single "Kick in the Eye", while "Boys" served as a B-side to "Bela Lugosi's Dead", and later was re-recorded at Beck Studios in 1979. Alternate versions of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" also included a portion of the early demo recording of their next single, "Dark Entries".
Wellingborough is a large market town in the Wellingborough district of Northamptonshire, England, 11 miles (18 km) from Northampton on the north side of the River Nene.
Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.
Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band were pioneers in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid-late 1970s. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including "Heart of Glass", "Call Me", "Rapture" and "The Tide Is High" and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, reggae, and early rap music.
All four band members are credited as writers of the song: vocalist Peter Murphy, guitarist Daniel Ash, drummer Kevin Haskins and bassist David J (as David Haskins). David J has claimed that he wrote the lyrics.
Peter John Joseph Murphy is an English singer, songwriter, and musician. He was the vocalist of the goth rock band Bauhaus and later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Love Hysteria, Deep, and Holy Smoke. Thin with prominent cheekbones, a baritone voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, he is often called the "Godfather of Goth".
Daniel Gaston Ash is an English musician, songwriter and singer. He became prominent in the late 1970s as the guitarist for the iconic goth rock band Bauhaus, which spawned two related bands led by Ash: Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets. Recently, he reunited with bandmate Kevin Haskins to form Poptone, a retrospective of their respective careers, featuring Kevin's daughter Diva Dompe on bass. He has also recorded several solo albums. Several guitarists have listed Ash as an influence, including Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Kevin Michael Dompe, better known as Kevin Haskins, is a drummer, best known from the British rock group Bauhaus. He was also a member of Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets.
The sleeve cover art was taken from the D. W. Griffith film The Sorrows of Satan (1926).
David Wark Griffith was an American director, writer, and producer who pioneered modern cinematic techniques. He is remembered for The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). The Birth of a Nation made use of advanced camera and narrative techniques, and its popularity set the stage for the dominance of the feature-length film in the United States. The film has sparked significant controversy surrounding racism in the United States, focusing on its negative depiction of black people and the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. Today, it is both acclaimed for its radical technique and condemned for its inherently racist philosophy. The film was subject to boycotts by the NAACP; screenings caused riots at several theaters and it was censored in many cities, including New York City. Intolerance was an answer to his critics.
The Sorrows of Satan (1926) is a silent film by D. W. Griffith based on the novel The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli. At this point in his career Griffith had given up his independent filmmaker status by joining Paramount Pictures.
The song is over nine minutes long; the vocals start (in the studio version) several minutes into the track. The dub-influenced top E and B strings open.guitar sound was achieved by using partial barre chords and leaving the
Dub is a genre of electronic music that grew out of reggae in the 1960s, and is commonly considered a subgenre, though it has developed to extend beyond the scope of reggae. Music in this genre consists predominantly of instrumental remixes of existing recordings and is achieved by significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, usually by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, and emphasizing the drum and bass parts. Other techniques include dynamically adding extensive echo, reverb, panoramic delay, and occasional dubbing of vocal or instrumental snippets from the original version or other works. It was an early form of popular electronic music. The Roland Space Echo was widely used by dub producers in the 1970s to produce echo and delay effects.
The horror film star Bela Lugosi (1882–1956) in the title did much to establish the modern vampire image through his role as the title character in the 1931 film Dracula . He had died more than 23 years before the song was written and recorded.
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear for entertainment purposes. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, better known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian-American actor best remembered for portraying Count Dracula in the 1931 film and for his roles in other horror films.
A vampire is a being from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital force of the living. In European folklore, vampires were undead beings that often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighborhoods they inhabited while they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 19th century.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was released in 6 August 1979, but did not enter the UK charts.
It was released on CD in 1988, and was compiled on the 1998 Bauhaus compilation album Crackle .
The original 12" release was on white vinyl and limited to 5,000 copies. Various other releases are included in the following:
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is considered the harbinger of gothic rock music and has been immensely influential on contemporary goth culture.
In the 1983 horror film The Hunger , Bauhaus performed the song during the opening credits and introduction. A 7″ promotional record featuring an edited version of the song was released to theaters playing the film. The song was featured in numerous other films and TV shows including Smallville , The Curve , Good Luck Chuck , The Collector , Fringe ,Supernatural and American Horror Story: Hotel . The song was used as the intro music for the late 1990s Saturday Night Live skit "Goth Talk", which featured Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon as two goth students.
The goth subculture is a subculture that began in England during the early 1980s, where it developed from the audience of gothic rock, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The name, goth subculture, derived directly from the music genre. Notable post-punk groups that presaged that genre and helped develop and shape the subculture, include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus and The Cure. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from 19th-century Gothic literature and gothic horror films. The scene is centered on music festivals, nightclubs and organized meetings, especially in Western Europe.
Gothic rock is a style of rock music that emerged from post-punk in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted towards dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and the Cure.
Tones on Tail was a British post-punk band formed in 1982, originally as a musical side project of Daniel Ash of the gothic rock group Bauhaus. Their music was described by one critic as "doom-and-dance-pop."
David John Haskins, better known as David J, is a British alternative rock musician, producer, and writer. He was the bassist for the gothic rock band Bauhaus and Love and Rockets.
In the Flat Field is the debut studio album by English post-punk band Bauhaus. It was recorded between December 1979 and July 1980, and was released on 3 November 1980 by record label 4AD, the first full-length release on that label.
Mask is the second studio album by English post-punk band Bauhaus. It was released in 1981 by record label Beggars Banquet.
The Sky's Gone Out is the third studio album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus, released in 1982 by record label Beggars Banquet.
Burning from the Inside is the fourth studio album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus, released in 1983 by record label Beggars Banquet.
Rest in Peace: The Final Concert is a live album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus of a concert performed in 1983 at the Hammersmith Palais in London.
Gotham is a double-disc live album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus of a concert performed in 1998, released in 1999 by record label Metropolis. The album also includes one appended studio track, a cover of "Severance", originally recorded by Dead Can Dance on their 1988 album The Serpent's Egg.
Crackle is a greatest hits album by English goth-rock band Bauhaus. The album was released in 1998 by record label Beggars Banquet, during the band's Resurrection Tour. It includes remastered versions of some of their single hits and most popular songs.
"Kick in the Eye" is a song by English gothic rock band Bauhaus. It was released in 1981 as the second and final single from their second studio album, Mask (1981) and was released the following year as an EP titled Kick in the Eye .
Go Away White is the fifth and final studio album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus. Released in 2008 by record labels Cooking Vinyl in the UK and Bauhaus Music internationally, it was the band's first album of new material since 1983.
The discography of Bauhaus, a British gothic rock band, consists of five studio albums, four live albums, three compilation albums, four extended plays (EPs), eleven singles and three video albums. The band was formed in Northampton in 1978 by Daniel Ash (guitar), David J (bass), Kevin Haskins (drums) and Peter Murphy (vocals).
Bauhaus 1979–1983 is a compilation album by English post-punk band Bauhaus, released in 1985 by record label Beggars Banquet.
"Funtime" is a song written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, first released by Iggy Pop on his 1977 album entitled The Idiot. It reflects Iggy and Bowie's growing fascination with the German music scene, and bears marked similarities to "Lila Engel" by Neu!. It has since been covered by multiple artists including Blondie, Boy George, Bebe Buell, R.E.M. and The Cars.
From those basics, 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' crackles in on percussion alone, a tapping, rattling rhythm into which a three-note bass line only gradually intrudes itself before Ash's treated guitar slides in, echoed and echoing the most atmospheric dub.
The two troll a goth club dancing to Bauhaus' 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' in search of a meal.
They played a wide range of covers that tied in to varying degrees with the agitprop documentary taking place onscreen. Some, like The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" and Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead", seemed chosen more for mood.