Category Archives: michael jackson

Bee Girl “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”

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


Purple Rain Origin

“I never meant to cause you any sorrow.
I never meant to cause you any pain.
I only wanted to one time see you laughing.
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain” – Purple Rain performed by Prince

The day my friends called to invite me to the Def Leppard concert, May 15, 1983, it was a typical Spring day in Alabama.  One minute it could be a beautiful sunny day, the next a storm brews and the skies turn grey.  By the time Mom and I left for church it had started raining. 

Not deterred when my normally curly hair turned to frizz, I straighten it again, going through half a can of Aqua Net hairspray.  I then changed into something more suitable for a rock concert, a favorite asymmetrical military style white top, my tightest Levi’s blue jeans .  The kind you have to lay down on the bed to zip up.  And, two favorite accessory of the time, my learner’s permit and a purple comb in the back pocket.  

Now, the comb had a use other than what it was intended for.  At the roller skating rink if a guy liked you, he would steal it from your pocket ensuing a chase around the rink so to retrieve your property.  Most of my girlfriend’s did this.  In fact, Kurt Cobain alluded to this in a fictitious story written in his journal. 

We pulled into the parking lot behind the Thriftway as other zombies slouch bobbed with combs in their back pockets.  There stood the Air Supply box boy holding a Les Paul with a picture from a magazine of Kool cigarettes lamenated on it, a mechanical redheaded biker boy and that tall lanky guy, the first to ever wear skin tight Levis.  A bold and brave change from stacking finger or San Francisco riding gear.  The played faster than I had ever imagined music could be played and with more energy than my Iron Maiden records could provide.  This was what I was looking for, ah punk band.  The other stones were bored and kept shouting, play some Def Leppard.” – Kurt Cobain’s Journal under the title “The Habit”

With the mention of zombies, Kurt was not only referring to Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, but also to the stagename Rob Zombie whom I wrote songs for.

Joe (Elliott) found out I am a fan of Vanity 6, a girl group promoted by the artist Prince, which I had seen on Soul Train performing Nasty Girl released in 1982.  They then brought in Prince’s albums released up until that point for me to listen to and learn his style.  But, the song Nasty Girl would influence many more songs which I would be involved in writing, including Michael Jackson’s little sister’s 1986 Nasty.

I make reference to the “purple comb” in the lyrics for Erotic City.

Everytime I comb my hair
Thoughts of U get in my eyes
U’re a sinner, I don’t care
I just want your creamy thighs”

The Lyrics for “The Beautiful Ones’ I allude to Def Leppard’s Photograph.

MAKE LOVE NOT WAR


Candyman song Origin

“Tarzan and Jane were swingin’ on a vine
Candyman, Candyman
Sippin’ from a bottle of vodka double wine
Sweet sugar candy man” – Candyman performed by Christina Aguilera

In 1971 Sammy Davis, Jr. covered the Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory song “The Candy Man”.  He performed this song many times on television shows while I was a little girl and happened to be a favorite of mine.

Michael Jackson did a little research and found out one of the producers of the “Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Now” album happened to be Don Costa who was best known for his work with Frank Sinatra.  Costa had a daughter by the name of Nikka Costa who would go on to perform the song I wrote titled “Everybody’s Got Their Something.” 

This inspired me to write the song “Candyman” performed by Christina Aguilera.  It would also draw a connection to Pour Some Sugar On Me which I co-wrote with Joe Elliott and other songs I made up as well. 

“Sippin’ from a bottle of vodka double wine”, was inspired by a photo of Joe Elliott of Def Leppard (see left) and the 1981 Def Leppard song Me & My Wine.

“He had tattoos up and down his arm”, I was referring to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.  This actually dates the song due to the few tattoos Tommy had when we met in 1983.

I had been a longtime fan of the actor Johnny Depp dating back to his first appearance in 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street and knowing the origin of the song starred in the 2005 remake of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.


Lies of the Beautiful People Origin

“Well if you think real beauty’s on the outside
Well that’s a far cry
From the truth
Maybe all the information you received
Well you should not believe
There’s no proof
Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people” Lies of the Beautiful People performed by Sixx: A.M.

Not long after Joe Elliott and I met we were talking about my favorite Beatles song which happened to be Helter Skelter.  At the time I didn’t know of the California band by the name of Motley Crue who had been performing a cover of the song  which would be released in September of that year on the “Shout at the Devil” album. 

We talked about the meaning of the song and I found out there was actually an amusement ride called “Helter Skelter” in England.  I had a collection of Beatles songs which included the song, but not the White album which had been released the year I was born, 1968.  Joe proceed to tell me and Kurt Cobain the sordid history of the White album and the song. 

The term ‘helter skelter’ was far less well known in the US.  To the psychopath Charles Manson it was a coded prophecy for an apocalyptic race war (or Armageddon).  This is why Kurt at one point drew an “X” on his forehead and had his picture taken.  Def Leppard would release the song Armageddon It on the Hysteria album in 1987.

It wasn’t long after this discussion that I met Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue who in February of ’83 had performed at the US Fest in California with INXS.  (This is when Tommy Lee gave me the nickname Bullwinkle.)

Joe took some time off in June from the Rock Till You Drop tour, claiming a sore throat, while we all worked on new songs.   About this time Pete Willis left the band and they called in their friend Phil Collen of the band Girl to fill the vacancy.  They went back to California to the movie studios and filmed the original music video for Photograph with the stabbing knife at the beginning and using images of Marilyn Monroe.  Joe later made a second version with a black cat like mine at the beginning (see The Pussycat Dolls to Papa Don’t Preach post).

After coming up with the song The Beautiful People I also came up with the stagename “Marilyn Manson” for Def Leppard’s use of Marilyn Monroe in Photograph and the story about Helter Skelter and Charles Manson drawing a connection to Motley Crue.

This is also where I came up with the stagename for Eminem (M&M for Marilyn Manson) after writing songs which he would perform.  It was Michael Jackson’s suggestion for the spelling of the name.

I would go on to make up the song Beautiful performed by Christina Aguilera after Courtney Love gave me a compliment.  Courtney and I did not get along and it surprised me when I overheard the compliment.  So, in a turn of kindness I made up the song.  This song was based on ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down.

Years later I would makeup a third song titled Lies of the Beautiful People and I asked Nikki Sixx if he would perform it so to tie into the other songs, The Beautiful People and Beautiful.  We then came up with the band name Sixx A.M. (A.M. being the first 2 letters of my name).


Michael Jackson’s Black or White Origin

“I Took My Baby
On A Saturday Bang
Boy Is That Girl With You
Yes We’re One And The Same
Now I Believe In Miracles
And A Miracle
Has Happened Tonight
But, If
You’re Thinkin’
About My Baby
It Doesn’t Matter If You’re
Black Or White” – Black or White

Michael Jackson’s song Black or White released in 1991 was inspired by INXS.  In 1982 INXS released a song titled Black and White on their Shabooh Shoobah album.  Of course, having met INXS before meeting MJ in ’83 I pretty much knew all their songs. 

With Michael Hutchence and Tim Farris, we talked about the similarities in our countries in that we shared a history of racism.  It was also a conversation I had with MJ.  Fortunately, I grew up in a South that was changing.  We talked about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Selma, Alabama.  I wanted to break down the barriers of symbols which were found offensive.  Symbols used in the Black or White music video were “KKK” and the swastika.

(Martin Luther King, Jr. and marchers on Selma, AL.  The photo was taken by family friend and fashion photographer Spider Martin who committed suicide 9 years to the day that Kurt Cobain’s body was found. )

By the time of MJ’s release of Black or White, I had written the song “Raise Your Glass” which would go on to be performed by P!nk.  Kurt Cobain would sometimes play air guitar while I would sing and it influenced “Raise Your Glass” and Macaulay Culkin was doing an imitation of Kurt in the Black or White music video.

Kurt also made references to the KKK or other symbols of controversy because of this.


What Women Want movie Origins

“What a girl wants
What a girl needs
Whatever makes me happy and sets you free
And I’m thanking you for knowin’ exactly
What a girl wants”

The former ’79 Mad Max star, Australian Mel Gibson, came to see me and, along with Michael Jackson, I pitched him the idea to do the movie “What Women Want” released in 2000.  The idea actually came from the song I wrote “What a Girl Wants” which would be released by Christina Aguilera in 1999.

In the song lyrics for “What a Girl Wants”  I make reference to another girl group I named and wrote songs for,  TLC’s second album Crazy Sexy Cool released in 1994.

   “Somebody sensitive, crazy, sexy, cool, like you-yeah, What a girl wants”


Man In The Mirror

I have written alot about knowing Michael Jackson, but not really about knowing Michael himself.  He was definitely an extraordinary man.  It was fun working on projects with him.  He was a kid at heart.  But, who isn’t or wouldn’t want to be a kid again?  One could only dream of the life he lived and being able to decide at the spur of a moment to want to build a fairytale park for kids or even create cartoons for kids and adults alike, including Pinky and The Brain and Sponge Bob.  We worked on ideas and dialogue for Pinky and The Brain together along with some other artists. 

Michael was a very influential artist, with a lot of powerful friends in the entertainment business, and other artists flocked to him.  We all are strange to outsiders, but only those willing to get close enough could truly understand us or our motives. 

Since I was still a kid myself when we met, while working on songs together he would make it a word game for me.   I remember laughing alot when he was around despite the main objective being to produce new songs.

I never got to spend as much time with Bubbles as I would have liked.  While still little, I would sing to him and make up new songs, one being Come Away With Me eventually to be performed by Norah Jones.  Bubbles would usually put his head on my shoulder and his hand over my mouth while I would sing.  It reminded me of when I read the biography of another Alabama native, Helen Keller.  I remembered her teacher, Anne Sullivan, would place Helen’s hand over her mouth while trying to teach her.  I suggested to MJ he should teach or have someone teach Bubbles’ sign language.  Bubbles’ trainer cringed when I started trying to teach him to give me a kiss. 

Kurt Cobain would call Bubbles his little buddy.  I know most people think that Kurt was weird, even I did at times, but he was a very talented and dedicated artist as well.  He started a collection of toy monkeys inspired by his little buddy which were used in the Sliver music video and a picture of MJ is on the wall.

 It took MJ five years to produce his next album after the success he had with his ’82 hit album Thriller.  Thriller was in direct competition with Def Leppard’s ’83 album Pyromania on the charts.  During those five years he was a very busy man.

Michael’s next album released in 1987 and titled “Bad”.  The songs I know what inspired them are as follows:

Dirty Diana – I know who it is about, but I’m not going to tell you.

Bad – One day we were joking around and I told MJ he was being bad and starting singing “You know I’m bad, I’m bad-
you know it”.

Smooth Criminal – The idea for this song came from lyrics in the song Joe Elliott and I worked on together titled Pour Some Sugar On Me.  “Easy operator come a knockin’ on my door” which the idea came from one of my favorite Disco era songs Knock on Wood performed by Amii Stewart.  Annie mentioned in the song is me, as in Little Orphan Annie.  My foster parents gave me the name due to my curly red hair since I was unnamed by my birthmother.  My adopted mother named me Amy.

Man In The Mirror – Michael got the idea to do this song from one of my favorite early Def Leppard songs titled Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes).  Kurt Cobain did a little home movie and in it he is staring into a mirror (pictured).

 

PINKY AND THE BRAIN

The Brain: I will accept nothing less than mahogany.

Pinky: There is no substitute for Diana Ross.

I actually came up with this line for Pinky.  The idea behind it was Amii Stewart’s Knock on Wood and MJ’s friend Diana Ross. 

I would always joke around that this was Joe Elliott and Kurt Cobain,  Joe thinking he was The Brain and Kurt being Pinky.  

Michael Hutchence of INXS would make reference to Pinky and The Brain in a “To Do List” in his journal supposedly written in ’84, but I believe he wrote it later than that. 

“4. Start my own stratdgy for WORLD DOMINATION!!” – Michael Hutchence

It was my idea for Brain to look and sound like Orson Welles, which The Alan Parsons Project used an Orson Welles radio spot and dialogue on their ’76 album Tales of Mystery and Imagination.  

Kurt Cobain would say he lived under a bridge for a while.  I think the actual bridge was the “bridge” of a song.  But, this inspired me in the development of Pinky & The Brain to want the Acme Lab to be located near a bridge.


Man in a Box

I’m the man in the box
Buried in my ****
Won’t you come and save me, save me
Fear in my eyes, can you sew them shut?
Jesus Christ, deny your maker
He who tries, will be wasted
Fear in my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut

I’ve mentioned how Alan Parsons’ song Turn It Up inspired the ’98 movie City of Angels in my previous post.  Michael Jackson’s ’88 hit song Man in the Mirror and the music video for Turn It Up inspired me to write the ’91 hit song Man in a Box performed by  Seattle band Alice In Chains.  Again, the Def Leppard song Wasted is mentioned in the lyrics. 

Come Mr. DJ song pon de replay
Come Mr. DJ won’t you turn the music up
All the gyal pon the dancefloor wantin some more what
Come Mr. DJ won’t you turn the music up 

The title “Turn It Up” inspired the lyrics when I wrote Pon de Replay, the debut song for Rihanna

Ricky Martin and Robi “Draco” Rosa of the Puerto Rico boy group Menudo showed up in my life about 1984.  The music video for Turn It Up  inspired the music video for Ricky Martin’s 2000 song She Bang.


Uninvited

Like anyone would be
I am flattered by your fascination with me
Like any hot-blooded woman
I have simply wanted an object to crave
But you, you’re not allowed
You’re uninvited
An unfortunate slight

The 1944 movie starring Ray Milland was inspiration for the title and the idea for the song Uninvited, eventually performed by Alanis Morissette.  This is one of my favorite movies.  

In the movie they perform a séance to speak to the ghost haunting their home.  It reminded me of when I had a sleep over with friends, we were about 13 years old, and for some reason there was a Ouija board in the house.  My friends and I decided to see if we could talk to Elvis Presley who died in Aug. of ’77.   Michael Jackson knew I was a fan of Elvis and eventually brought Lisa Marie Presley to meet me after I told him we were the same age, born about a month apart.

All the artists were surprised to find that I was a fan of The Alan Parsons Project.  Parsons who worked on the Beatles’ Abby Road and Let It Be, and engineered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.  From the ’76 album “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” I learned to appreciate and recite Edgar Allen Poe’s dark Gothic poem “The Raven”.

The ’77 album titled “I Robot” inspired the 2004 movie starring Will Smith of the same name.   The song Day after Day (The Show Must Go On) from the “I Robot” album inspired me to write The Show Must Go On for Queen’s 1991 album Innuendo and Def Leppard’s song Day after Day released in 2000 on the Euphoria album.   Other albums and songs by The Alan Parson’s Project and Parsons solo albums inspired other songs and much more.

In 1993 Alan Parsons released a solo album titled “Try Anything Once”.  The one song which I loved to use as inspiration from this album was “Turn It Up”.  The surrealistic music video for the song was inspiration for the ’98 film City of Angels starring Tom Cruise’s Top Gun co-star Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage (who would be briefly married to Lisa Marie Presley).   The song “Uninvited” performed by Alanis Morissette was featured in the movie. 


Theory of a Deadman

In ’78 my family up and moved to Mesquite, Texas where I attended J.C. Rugel Elementary and my older brother attended  North Mesquite High School, where model Jerry Hall went to high school.   I was put into advanced classes and Spanish was a required course.  My best friend was a little Mexican boy named Jose.  We would sit on the curb after school and I would try to speak Spanish. 

The Mexican culture affected me greatly.  Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a celebration on November 1st and 2nd where family and friends gather to remember loved ones who have died.  Tradition includes building alters honoring the deceased placing sugar skulls, marigolds (inspiring Dave Grohl of Nirvana to write the song Marigold), and the favorite food and beverages of the departed, as well as, visiting graves with these as gifts.

While sitting between Michael Hutchence and Adam Ant I made up the song Deadman’s Party and No One Lives Forever which I mentioned in an earlier post.  Both bands  had a very distinctive sound, INXS being more Ska New Wave with Adam & The Ants being Punk Rock and New Wave.  Once I had an idea, a song most of the time would just spill out.  It was my way of conveying what I really couldn’t vocalize and veil it in song.  They would record me singing it and I would go over the rest (the instrumental part) with the other artists like Kurt or members of Def Leppard.

We talked about my brother coming home one day loaded with test tubes, I always figured he stole them from school.  My dad and brother set off to buy a bushel of grain to try their hand at making grain alcohol.  What they produced was a clear almost tasteless liquid.  From this conversation I made up the song Weird Science.  

Weird science!

Plastic tubes and pots and pans

Bits and pieces and

Magic from the hand

We’re makin’

Weird science!

Things I’ve never seen before

Behind bolted doors

Talent and imagination

Since Joe Elliott was standing in the doorway of a dressing room behind me as I made up songs, there was a reference to Def Leppard’s song Bringin’ On The Heartbreak and Photograph  as pictures.

 Weird science!

Pictures from a magazine

Diagrams and charts

Mending broken hearts (and makin’)

Weird science!

Something like a recipe

Bits and pieces . . . .

Bits and pieces . . . .

Bits and Pieces is a 1960’s song originally written and performed by members of  The Dave Clark Five.  The Supremes recorded a cover in 1964 (Diana Ross being a member who was a longtime friend of Michael Jackson), and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts recorded a cover for their 1981 album.  I am a huge Joan Jett & The Blackhearts fan.

Later I learned from a girlfriend about Alabama’s history in NASCAR racing starting with bootleggers.  Her family had a long line of bootleggers back in the day and most of my friends were known to go to Talladega Superspeedway for the races.   NASCAR racers Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett, and Red Farmer were known as the Alabama Gang.  I told Tom Cruise about my friend which inspired Days of Thunder.

The idea for the band Theory of a Deadman came years later while I was writing songs which the band performs, including Low Life.  The band name came from talking to Michael Jackson about the Big Bang Theory and from the song Deadman’s Party.

Low Life performed by Theory of a Deadman even mentions Joe Elliott with me referring to him as Joe Dirt which inspired the 2001 movie.