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Salvador Dali’s bizarre but sexy photoshoot for Playboy, 1973
04.25.2017
10:19 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes

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Salvador Dali
1973
Playboy Magazine


Salvador Dali providing direction to Playboy photographer Pompeo Posar and a Playboy Bunny in Cadaqués, Spain in 1973.
 

“The meaning of my work is the motivation that is of the purest – money. What I did for Playboy is very good and your payment is equal to the task.”

—Salvador Dali on his collaboration with Playboy in 1973

For his photo shoot for Playboy magazine, Salvador Dali, long-time Playboy photographer Pompeo Posar, a gaggle of Playboy Bunnies and a giant egg headed to Cadaqués, a seaside town in Spain near where Dali lived in Port Lligat, a small village on a bay next to the town. The event would turn the sleepy village upside down during the shoot and local Dali-devotees would wait outside his home so that they could pay homage to the Surrealist by chanting “Master! Master!” whenever he left the residence to go to work under the blistering hot Spanish sun.

Working closely with Posar, Dali created a few sketches of his vision for the shoot which ultimately ended up including a giant egg, an equally fake large snake, various collage images that ran the gamut from a Coca-Cola bottle to Renaissance-style architecture, and of course, Playboy Bunnies cavorting around wearing little to nothing because this is Playboy magazine we’re talking about. Dali—who was 69 at the time—ran the shoot like the master that he was and residents of Cadaqués would watch the artist’s every move from the hills surrounding the location.

The final photos live up to Dali’s provocative, boundary-pushing style, and are gorgeously bizarre to behold. I’ve included a few of Dali’s preliminary sketches that detail part of his artistic vision for the shoot and many others including the master at work, as well as the finished product that appeared in the December 1974 issue of Playboy.

Pretty much all of them are NSFW. But you hate your stupid desk job anyway, don’t you?
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Jean Cocteau’s poem for Orson Welles
04.21.2017
08:16 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Literature
Movies

Tags:
Orson Welles
Jean Cocteau


Orson Welles by Jean Cocteau (from the frontispiece of André Bazin’s book on Welles)
 
Orson Welles and Jean Cocteau first met at a performance of “Voodoo Macbeth,” the all-black Shakespeare production Welles staged in New York in 1936 with funding from a New Deal program. They remained friends and encouraged one another’s rascality, according to Simon Callow’s account of the 1948 Venice Film Festival in One-Man Band, the third volume of his Welles biography:

He and the perenially provocative Jean Cocteau formed a sort of anti-festival clique, clubbing together to commit what Cocteau rather wonderfully called lèse-festival. [...] Together in Venice, the two men behaved like two very naughty boys. Welles shocked his hosts by ostentatiously walking out of the showing of Visconti’s uncompromisingly severe masterpiece, La Terra Trema.

 

Cocteau and Welles in Venice, 1948
 
Welles was a member of the Comité d’Honneur at Cocteau’s 1949 Festival du Film Maudit, at which both The Magnificent Ambersons and The Lady from Shanghai were screened. (Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks made its European debut there, too, and Artaud’s “Sorcery and Cinema” was first published in the festival catalog.) Cocteau contributed this sketch of his friend to the program for Welles’ The Blessed and the Damned, an evening of two one-act plays that opened in Paris in 1950:

Orson Welles is a giant with the face of a child, a tree filled with birds and shadows, a dog who has broken loose and gone to sleep in the flower bed. An active loafer, a wise madman, a solitary surrounded by humanity, a student who sleeps during the lesson. A strategy: pretending to be drunk to be simply left alone. Seemingly better than anyone else, he can use a nonchalant attitude of real strength, apparently drifting but guided by a half-opened eye. This attitude of an abandoned hulk, and that of a sleepy bear, protects him from the cold fever of the motion picture world. An attitude which made him move on, made him leave Hollywood, and carried him to other lands and other horizons.

Quoting some of the increasingly hysterical praise for Welles printed elsewhere in the program and then in the show’s reviews, Callow wonders: “At least Cocteau had the excuse of being an opium addict; what were these chaps on?”

Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Oh, you pretty thing! Polaroid portraits of Andy Warhol in drag
04.20.2017
09:07 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Pop Culture
Queer

Tags:
Andy Warhol
drag
polaroids


Andy Warhol in drag taken with a polaroid camera.

Back in 2013 auction house Christie’s sold off 62 of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid photos for the tidy sum of $978,125. Fifteen of the Polaroids were of objects such as shoes and Absolute Vodka. Another 37 of the shots in the group were portraits taken by Warhol that he would then use to create silkscreens of his famous friends and muses like Grace Jones or Jean-Michael Basquiat. In a fascinating (at least to me) analysis done by Exhibition Inquisition, it appears that Andy’s Polaroids of women sold for vastly less than their famous male counterparts—by an approximate margin of $7,000. Even in the art game, us girls can’t seem to get a fair shake. Who knew?

Exhibition Inquisition also broke down Warhol’s “top ten” selling Polaroid portraits which included some of the artist closest acquaintances like Debbie Harry and Dennis Hopper. Farrah Fawcett also made it into the top ten as well as former governator of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali.

Now let’s discuss the topic of this post—Warhol’s drag self-portraits which were taken in the early 80s. In this series, we see Warhol in full make-up and bombshell red lipstick wearing a variety of different wigs from a smart, short black bob to full-on, teased-up heavy metal hair and black eyeliner. Here’s more on the creative process that got Andy ready for his closeup as a girl from the Getty Museum’s website:

Andy Warhol enjoyed dressing for parties in drag, sometimes in dresses of his own design. He admired “the boys who spend their lives trying to be complete girls,” so in 1981 he and a photographic assistant, Christopher Makos, agreed to collaborate on a session portraying Warhol in drag. In many ways, they modeled the series on Man Ray’s 1920s work with the French artist Marcel Duchamp, in which the two artists created a female alter ego name Rrose Sélavy for Duchamp.

Warhol and Makos made a number of pictures, both black-and-white prints and color Polaroids, of their first attempt. For the second round of pictures, they hired a theater makeup person. This stage professional better understood the challenge of transforming a man’s face into that of a woman. After the makeup, Warhol tried on curled, straight, long, short, dark, and blonde wigs.

Warhol might not have been the most attractive fella (or dame) but he knew how to give great “face” and his drag self-portraits are absolutely mesmerizing. Curiously, they are not as covetable to collectors as one might think. Warhol’s selfies out-of-drag have sold for far greater sums that his drag portraits. And it seems that the most covetable Polaroid images of Andy are the ones that were taken of the pop culture icon in his famous “fright wig” (you know, this look) which have sold at auction for $50 grand apiece. I’ve included the drag Polaroids of Andy below for you to check out. Warhol’s Polaroids can be seen in the wonderful, well worth owning 2015 book, Andy Warhol: Polaroids.
 

 

 

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Girls just wanna be punk: Early recordings and demos by the Go-Go’s


An early single by the Go-Go’s on Stiff Records.
 

AMERICA AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, meet the Go-Go’s: International, Filthy Rich, Jet-Setting Rock- and Screen-Star Bitch Goddesses

Rolling Stone journalist Steve Pond being very, very right about the Go-Go’s back in 1982.

 
Easily the most famous all-girl band in the world, the Go-Go’s played a hugely influential role in the emerging punk/new wave scene in Los Angeles. In the late 1970s before they became the Go-Go’s they called themselves the Misfits despite the fact that the name was already taken by a group of muscle-bound horror punks in New Jersey led by a certain Glenn Danzig. Belinda Carlisle was unsurprisingly a cheerleader in high school in her hometown of Conejo Valley, but that all allegedly changed after she saw the half-naked image of Iggy Pop on the cover of the Stooges’ 1973 album, Raw Power. At nineteen Carlisle left home with her pal Theresa (aka the future “Lorna Doom” of the Germs) bound for Hollywood. Once the Germs were born Carlisle did a brief stint with them playing the drums and calling herself “Dottie Danger.” She and Doom dropped acid, Carlisle did some modeling and in her autobiography Lips Unsealed: A Memoir she confesses to having had a make out session with Alice Bag.

Prior to getting with the Go-Go’s timekeeper Gina Schock was drumming for John Waters’ star Edith Massey and her punk band Edie and the Eggs. Before rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin joined the band, she was a seamstress in a sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles who preferred crystal meth to coffee so she wouldn’t fall asleep on the job. While at her day-job Wiedlin would use the paper that the sewing patterns were printed to write her punk poems, parts of which would make their way to the band’s albums. Wiedlin and Carlisle ended up living across the way from each other (Carlisle was rooming with Lorna at the time) and their friendship would eventually lead them both to the Go-Go’s.

When the band started playing gigs around town it didn’t go unnoticed. They partied as hard as their male counterparts, did tons of coke, popped pills and excelled at the rock ‘n’ roll 101 skill of destroying hotel rooms. Early on their gigs were kind of a hot mess. Their first set was opening for the Dickies at LA punk club, the Masque. For a short time, the band was just a trio comprised of Wiedlin (who was going by the gonzo name of “Jane Drano”), Margot Olavarria on bass and with Carlisle front and center on vocals. According to Olavarria even though they really didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing it really didn’t matter because at the time there was “no shame in being a horrible musician.” In another punk rock six-degrees of separation type moment worth noting, Olavarria found out she had been given the boot by Belinda and her bandmates from none other than Exene Cervenka of X. The reason for Olavarria’s dismissal was said to have stemmed from her getting pinched by the po-po trying to score some cocaine. Oh, the shifty-eyed, typewriter-jaw irony that is two coke-heads accusing another coke-head of doing something shady. Tisk tisk.
 

Jane Wiedlin.
 
The then very new Stiff Records had the girls make a bunch of great recordings including a single that you may have heard of before called “We Got the Beat.” Their early recordings and demos are not only really fucking good but are a real scream to listen to if you’ve never heard them for some of the in-studio banter between the band members. Later I.R.S. head-honcho Miles Copeland (the brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland) came calling and signed the Go-Go’s and they embarked upon making their first record which they had always envisioned as a punk record. I.R.S. was already a home away from home for other punks like The Cramps, The Damned and The Fleshtones. But the production team behind Beauty and the Beat of Rob Freeman and Richard Gottehrer had other ideas. Beauty and the Beat was miraculously completed in three weeks while the party animal antics of the Go-Go’s terrorized New York City and Penny Lane Studios. When the girls first heard the record they were pissed off. Go-Go’s guitarist Charlotte Caffey said she and the rest of the band and even cried while listening to it the first time. It wasn’t a punk album, it was pure pop perfection (Which is a good enough reason to shed a few tears if you ask me). They went over Gottehrer’s head and appealed directly to Miles Copeland to have the record remixed. Copeland refused and the album, which was released in 1981, would go down in history as one of the most successful debut albums by a band in history.

I’ve included a few choice photos of the band from their early days as well as various songs, demos and recordings of the band rehearsing back before they became America’s sweethearts in the early 80s. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the Go-Go’s, I hope this shines a light on the fact that they were pretty much the best and deserve way more credit (as many female musical artists do) for the deeply impactful mark they made. And that my friends is a goddamned fact.
 

Belinda in a Germs t-shirt back in the day.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees on early TV documentary ‘Punk’ from 1976

0xesslotsipjr76.jpg
 
There had been a killing. But no one was quite certain where it had happened or where the body was hidden. Maybe it was in the library bludgeoned with a lead pipe? Or sprawled across the conservatory floor throttled by some rope? The press carried snippets. People were shocked by the news. How could this happen on our streets? How could this happen to our children when Abba was still number one? There was outrage. There was fear. There was a dread that this was only the beginning of far greater horrors to come.

They were right.

In some ways, it was a mercy killing. It had to happen. It was inevitable. It was putting the poor beast out of its misery. The old horse was now lame and blind and in constant pain and could barely perform its act. Yet still, they wheeled it out for one more turn for the rich people to ride and clap and cheer while the old nag bravely tried to canter around the ring.

But the children turned away. They wanted something different.

There had been noises of strange new things going on for months. Small signs in venues all across London. A growing sense that something had to change. The old horse was dead and the business was out of touch with its audience. The kids wanted something to happen.

A band called the Sex Pistols were playing gigs in and around London. Promoter Ron Watts saw them rip up the joint at a gig in High Wycombe in early 1976. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before. This was the start of the future. This was what everyone was waiting for. He booked the band to appear at the legendary blues and jazz 100 Club in London. He organized a weekend festival called The 100 Club Punk Special for September 20th and 21st, 1976. The line-up was the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, Stinky Toys and Chris Spedding & the Vibrators.
 
02xesslotsip100.jpg
Sex Pistols poster for the 100 Club Punk Special, September 1976.
 
When the Sex Pistols hit the stage, everything changed. “In one night,” Watts later wrote in his autobiography Hundred Watts: A Life in Music, “punk went from an underground cult to a mass movement.”

The Sex Pistols had killed off one generation’s music and announced something new.

...[T]his was the big one, the first day of a new era. Nothing could compare with it either before or since.

Onstage, Johnny Rotten was “insulting, cajoling everyone in the room, his eyes bulging dementedly as he made the audience as much a part of the show as the band.” The group tore through their set to a thrilled and enthusiastic audience. The Clash played their set, while Siouxsie and the Banshees had improvised a set around “The Lord’s Prayer.” A week later, a crowd 600 deep formed a line at the door of the 100 Club.
 
Watch the Sex Pistols, Clash and Siouxsie in “Punk,” after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Love Bites’: A charming documentary on Morrissey super-fans from 1995
04.13.2017
11:21 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
documentary
Morrissey
1995


 

When I die I want to see every gig I ever went to and every Morrissey-related experience flash before my eyes. Then I can die flat out.

—A Morrissey super-fan or an “irregular regular” on her dedication to the great and powerful Moz.

 
Though at times the various accents from some the fans featured in Love Bites are difficult to understand, it doesn’t prevent you from clearly seeing how utterly devoted they are to the former Smiths crooner. The documentary is based on a lovely group of people who followed Morrissey around during the early 1990s when he was out supporting his 1992 album Your Arsenal and 1994’s Vauxhall & I in the U.K. The first-hand accounts from the “irregular regulars” is pretty endearing stuff—especially when it comes to how seeing Moz live makes them feel, such as a young female fan who equated the experience to “attending the church of Morrissey.” Many of Moz’s male fans have their hair styled just like their idol and there’s even a guy who tricked out his scooter with pictures of Morrissey all over it. Now that’s love.

I’m not going to share much more about the doc as I don’t want to spoil it. This is truly a heartfelt glimpse into the lives of people who were collectively moved by Moz’s live performances and being. It is also a rather engrossing watch and I found that all 38 minutes of it kind of flew by when I watched it, mostly due to Morrissey’s quippy and quotable hardcore fans. When asked about her devotion to the singer one of them shared the following melancholy thought: 

I’m sure he loves us as much as we love him. I’m sure he thinks about us.

And with a quote that was seemingly plucked from Morrissey’s own brooding playbook, I’ll leave you to watch ‘Love Bites’ after the jump…

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Captain Beefheart conducts the Magic Band’s feet and fingers on TV, 1971
04.13.2017
06:25 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:
Captain Beefheart


Live on ‘Detroit Tubeworks,’ 1971
 
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s appearance on Detroit Tubeworks is justly famed. On January 15, 1971, Don Van Vliet’s 30th birthday, the group cooked and ate Trout Mask Replica‘s “When Big Joan Sets Up” and two cuts from side one of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop” and “Bellerin’ Plain.” There is a Library of Congress in my mind, and this tape reel is the only item on its windswept shelves.

The group also played an untitled, unreleased, improvised number for 120 digits. Under what sounds like the whine of an air conditioner—though it could just as easily be a swarm of bees at a Ligeti concert, a first lesson on the musical saw or a plain old case of sticky-shed syndrome—a dozen feet and a dozen hands follow Beefheart’s direction. His mouth moves, so maybe he was vocalizing in the studio. What’s the difference? You can’t hear it.

The YouTube comments point to a 2012 interview in which John “Drumbo” French says Van Vliet’s main concern was keeping the Magic Band from talking to the press:

There’s a film of The Magic Band that I think is from ’71 where you’re playing three or four songs in a TV studio, and then the band is filmed silently twirling your feet underneath a table…

(chuckles) Yeah.

Do you remember this?

Don’s idea.

He appears to be conducting you as you’re twirling your feet, and I was just curious, was that the idea that you were, like, playing the parts of one of your songs with your feet supposedly in time with each other, or…

No, actually, I really think that those kind of, sort of Dadaistic moments that Don created, were because he would do anything to keep us from being interviewed. He didn’t want the band to be interviewed. And I think mainly the reason was because he had created such an alien environment to work in that it would have become evident right away that there were a lot of problems in the band, that something wasn’t quite right. So he would invent these things to do as a diversion. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean one way or the other, but we all took off our shoes and they filmed our feet under the table. That’s all I remember about it. I think that was done in 1971 on a tour in January. If I recall, it was either outside of Detroit or outside of… let’s see… yeah, it was outside of Detroit, and we did it at night en route to the hotel.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The story of illustrator Joe Shuster: From ‘Superman’ to super sleaze


The cover of ‘Nights of Horror’ (volume one) illustrated by Joe Shuster.
 
In 1923 Joe Shuster and his family moved away from their home in Ontario, Canada to Cleveland, Ohio. There as a youth he crossed paths with another kid his age Jerome Siegel who went by “Jerry.” The two quickly bonded over their mutual love of comic books and science fiction. They spent copious amounts of time reading anything related to the world of sci-fi they could get their hands on as well as taking in movies anytime they could.

The boys’ lives would remain closely intertwined as they entered high school where they would collaborate on a fanzine they dubbed Science Fiction. The duo split the duties of writing and illustration with Shuster taking on the drawing part and Siegel composing the stories. In addition to their own work, the fanzine also published stories written by Ray Bradbury who was just a few years ahead of Joe and Jerome age-wise at the time and a man who earned many nicknames in his life (such as “Mr. Science Fiction” by coining the abbreviation “sci-fi”) Forrest J. Ackerman. Ackerman’s life is worthy of several posts here on DM but we will have to leave that for another day as the story concerning Joe Shuster involves the “holy grail” of comic books Action Comics No. 1, murderous neo-Nazis, lots of sadomasochist drawings and Superman, arguably the most famous comic book character of all time that was originally conceived of by Shuster and Siegel.

Superman evolved from a character who was originally a bad guy: after suffering side effects from secret science experiments he gained various superpowers such as flying, and being impervious to things like bullets. He was also overcome by the desire to rule the Earth. Later it seems that Siegel would get the idea to make Superman a do-gooder and after getting together with his pal Joe the story of Superman as we all know it was born. Sadly, the rest of the story concerning their partnership and an idea that should have left them filthy rich involves getting ripped off, lawyers, and bad times. So let’s jump to something much more pleasant that Joe Shuster did in later in his career, fetish art.
 

An illustration by Shuster from ‘Nights of Horror’ (volume three) of a couple getting stoned that bear uncanny resemblances to “Jimmy Olsen” and “Lucy Lane” from the ‘Superman’ comics.
 
Both Shuster and Siegel had lots of side-projects writing and drawing for different magazines and comics. But unlike his friend and business partner Shuster also illustrated scenes of soft and hardcore BDSM and giant-sized women for a porn magazine popular back in the 1950s called Nights of Horror though he never signed his name to any of the work. At the time Shuster was flat broke so when the opportunity presented itself he took it out of desperation. It’s also said that Shuster felt that the explicit artwork wasn’t what he wanted to be remembered for thus his reluctance to attach his name to it. The 1950s were a very different time when it came to the idea of actions that were considered sexually deviant and Shuster’s illustrations for Nights of Horror absolutely fell into that category and then some in the eyes of most people. Later Shuster’s illustrations would become a matter of extreme controversy resulting in a case heard by the Supreme Court centered around indecency. In yet another turn of unfortunate events for Shuster a scumbag gang of neo-Nazis in New York calling themselves the “Brooklyn Thrill Killers” blamed their horrific actions on comic books, specifically Nights of Horror and as many copies of Nights of Horror that the authorities could get their hands on were destroyed. Even at his lowest, poor Joe Shuster just couldn’t catch a break.

Another interesting tidbit about Shuster’s sexy surreptitious illustrations is that they look a whole lot like characters from Superman’s orbit. There’s even a rendering of what distinctly appears to be Superman’s goofball buddy, Jimmy Olsen getting stoned with his girlfriend Lucy Lane (Lois’ sister, pictured above). Thanks to the Supreme Court debacle issues of Nights of Horror are hard to come by and generally run as high as $600 for a lone copy. Thankfully, Shuster and his excellent R-rated illustrations have been the subject of several books. IVrecommend the 2009 book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. The images from Shuster’s fetish phase below are absolutely NSFW.
 

One of Shuster’s giant girls and a whip.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Topless crocheted finger puppets of Tura Satana, Wendy O. Williams, Siouxsie Sioux & other bad girls


A shot of a crocheted Tura Satana finger puppet (in the image of Tura’s character from the 1968 film ‘The Astro-Zombies’ playing behind her on the television) by Galen Djuna Green.
 
So I have some good news and some bad news about the strange, crocheted little finger puppets in this post made by artist Galen Djuna Green. The good news is that as recently as last year Green was offering her topless finger puppets for sale on her Etsy page Galendjuna Knitty Titties. So what’s the bad news? Well, there aren’t any up for sale currently on the page. Which is really sad as Green’s naughty knitted bad girls are rather covetable.

I will say this—since the Knitty Titties page is still active that *may* indicate that Green is still taking orders for past designs or new custom requests. Which I really hope is the case as some of her past finger puppets include Siouxsie Sioux, Wendy O. Williams, Kembra Pfahler (The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), a few fantastic drag queens and an uncanny likeness of Tura Satana based on her “Satana” character from the 1968 film The Astro-Zombies (pictured at the top of this post). Tiny Tura’s little pink top even comes off! I’ve posted a number of images below of Green’s puppets which while small, clearly have big attitudes. They are also very NSWF much like the ladies they are based on themselves.
 

 

 

Wendy O. Williams.
 
More after the jump…

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Metal gods Judas Priest cover Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac, and Spooky Tooth


Defenders of the faith, Judas Priest.
 
If you’ve found yourself with a bad case of the heavy metal bed spins after reading the title of this post, you have my sympathy fellow headbangers. And I’m going to tell you right now that you are not alone as many Priest fans are completely unaware that the epic 1978 jam most would credit JP for, “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown),” was originally done by Fleetwood Mac in 1970 while guitarist Peter Green was still with the band. According to folklore surrounding the song, the influential Green has said that it was the product of a drug-soaked dream involving a green dog. While the revelation that “The Green Manalishi” isn’t a Priest original might be a surprise to some, Green’s drug use, especially the psychedelic variety, was well-known. Shortly after the release of what the guitarist referred to as his “least appreciated” song, Green would succumb to the side-effects of his overuse of party favors and mental illness and bow out of Fleetwood Mac.

Interestingly, after Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest in 2004 following his departure in the early 90s, bassist Ian Hill said that when the band finally got to perform again the first song they would rip into was “The Green Manalishi.” Nice. So how did one of the heaviest bands from the NWOBHM get the idea to put their own spin on Joan Baez’s devastating, “so long love” song about her ex, Bob Dylan? Vocalist Halford recalls it happened like this:

It was 1978 and I remember we were all together and someone from the label or the management came in and said, ‘Listen to this song. The label would like you to consider covering it.’ And when we put it on, all we heard was Joan Baez singing this song with the guitar, and your knee-jerk reaction is, ‘Are you fucking crazy? We are a heavy metal band.’ But again, typical of Priest, we’re like, ‘What’s the logic behind this?’ And then after a couple of listens, we decided it was a good song. And a good song will take any kind of interpretation. It opened the door for us in radio in a lot of ways, and I think that for the first time, a metal band was able to get the kind of accessibility.

 

Dylan and Baez in happier times.
 
So what did Baez think when she heard Priest’s version of “Diamonds and Rust?” She loved it, just like I do. Now, let’s get on to JP’s cover of a Spooky Tooth song found on the final album from the Carlisle band with their original late-1960s lineup, “Better by You, Better than Me.” If you had a pulse and paid attention to the news during the mid-80s, you will likely recall that the song brought a lot of horrifically unwarranted heat on Priest after the 1985 suicide/suicide attempt of Raymond Belknap and James Vance who both shot themselves on a church playground after a six-hour long alcohol and drug infused session listening to Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class. Belknap’s death was instantaneous, however, and despite the fact that he suffered massive facial injuries, Vance would survive though he never quite recovered from the incident physically or mentally. Three short years later he was dead, too.

In court, the song became one of the primary targets of the prosecution who alleged it was a harbinger for subliminal suicidal messages that infiltrated the drug-addled minds of the two young Judas Priest fans. The story is immensely troubling and it is difficult to comprehend how “Better by You, Better than Me” could be considered the impetus for what Belknap and Vance did at the behest of imaginary hidden messages on the version recorded by Judas Priest.

More after the jump…

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