Was you ever bit by a dead bee? – Eddie, 1944 movie To Have and Have Not
You might be under the impression that the “Bee Girl” era actually happened with Blind Melon’s song No Rain released in 1992. It actually goes back further than to 1983 with Joe Elliott decided to use Lauren Bacall’s dress in To Have and Have Not as inspiration for Julia Robert’s hooker dress in the movie Pretty Woman (see previous post “Oh! Pretty Woman).
One day Kurt kept pressuring me to come up with a new song. Joe Elliott was standing near by. I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with them that day and I sat down on the stage. I said, “I’ve got no new tale to tell.”
After a minute, I stood up and started making up a song which became No New Tale To Tell performed by some of the former members of the band Bauhaus who formed the band Love and Rockets. The song was released on the 1987 album Earth, Sun, Moon album.
If you do not know who Bauhaus is, they were featured in David Bowie’s and Susan Sarandon’s ’83 cult classic The Hunger with their song from 1979 “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.
The music video for No New Tale to Tale was the start of the Bee Girl era along with the image of a monkey, a symbol for Michael Jackson’s chimp Bubbles. This included Kurt Cobain’s collection of toy monkeys and the use of a toy monkey in the Alice In Chains music video Grind.
The idea to start naming bands for “fruit” came from the use of “peach” in Pour Some Sugar On Me performed by Def Leppard and U Got The Look performed by Prince and Shiela E. It also came from me joking around with INXS sayingthey were the vegetables and I being the fruit.
This is how I came up with the name when Billy Corgan asked me what he should name his band and I said “Smashing Pumpkins” and also named the band “Blind Melon”, with Melons and Pumpkins being a fruit.
The band Krokus which had been on tour with Def Leppard on the Rock Till You Drop Tour in 1983, released To Rock or Not to Be (a reference to the movie To Have and Have Not starring Bogey and Bacall) in 1995 also used the image on the cover art.
One day while Kurt (Cobain) and I were working on songs, he pulled a sheet of notebook paper out of his back pocket which happened to be the lyrics for what would become “Bee Girl” performed by Pearl Jam.
“Bee girl, you’re gonna die.
You don’t wanna be famous, you wanna be shy.
Do your dances alone in your room.
Becoming a star will become your doom.
Bee Girl, be a girl
You know time is long, and life is short.
Begin to live while you still can.
Believe in nothing, believe me,
Those who can be trusted can change their mind.
When the anxious is the present, unwrap your gifts, take your time.
Everything you imagine needn’t be stuck in your mind.
Bee Girl, be a girl… “ – Bee Girl performed by Pearl Jam
“She should have stayed away from friends
She should have had more time to spend
She should have died when she was born
She should have worn the crown of thorns
She should have been a son” – Been A Son, Nirvana