Category Archives: movies

If U Seek Amy

“My loneliness is killing me
I must confess, I still believe
When I’m not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time” – …Baby One More Time performed by Britney Spears

At fifteen, I  used the techniques Joe Elliott of Def Leppard taught me of taking songs I knew to draw upon for writing songs.  For “…Baby One More Time” performed by Britney Spears I was inspired by Pat Benatar’s 1980 hit song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.   Lyrically the song was inspired by Billy Squier’s “Lonely is the Night”, Shawn Cassidy’s ’78 cover of “Do You Believe in Magic”, and Roberta Flack’s 1979 cover of “Killing Me Softly”.  There are references to Prince, the song “The Beautiful Ones, and the funk ensemble The Time.  

The pseudonym Max Martin was devised with Max being one of the nicknames I gave Michael Hutchence of INXS for the Australian movie Mad Max.  Later Hutch would name his side project Max Q.    

The album “…Baby One More Time” would be released 16 years after written on my birthday, January 12, 1999.

Cobain can you hear the Spears singin’ songs off station to station” – Californication performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Taking a que from lyrics in “…Baby One More Time” Prince released the 1987 album “Sign “☮” the Times” and then changed his name to the “Love Symbol” knowing Amy means beLOVEd.

I chose the 2009 album title “Circus” which includes the single “If You Seek Amy”  for Def Leppard’s 1987 song “Animal” with the music video taking place at a circus as well as it being in the lyrics.

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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


Ode to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Space may be the final frontier
But it’s made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the Spears
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderaan’s not far away
It’s Californication” – Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Like most Southerners, you could always find a bottle of chili peppers marinating in vinegar in our refrigerator ready at hand to sprinkle on what our hearts desired.  It was usually set out on the table after Mom cooked up a batch of turnip greens and even the occassional barbeque sandwiches.  

Kurt Cobain had a habit of raiding the refrigerator whenever he would show up and had noticed the bottle.  We all watched in amusement as he removed the cap and touched his tongue to it.  His face turned immediately red. 

Of course, Kurt also had to go through my record collection and there he found a rare rerelease of The Beatles St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album which a friend gave me Christmas 1978.  The musical film St. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band was released in July of 1978 starring Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Bee Gees, and many more.

Kurt and Joe knew of a band in California in need of a new name and the name “The Red Hot Chili Peppers” was suggested (1983).

Michael Hutchence suggested Kurt take me to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show one night at a local theater.  Hutch wanted me to see the movie because of one of the actresses was Aussie Nell Campbell.  The next thing I know, I am being dressed in a Dr. Frankenfurter costume and then pushed out onto the stage.  Just for fun I asked Tommy Lee for one of his socks.  I stuffed part of the sock into the front of the costume leaving part hanging out.  Everyone thought it was funny and Anthony Kiedis and Flea jumped up from the crowd and said they wanted to do that.  Not know what they had in mind, the world actually found out. 

I also remember hearing Kurt say there is an Adam & The Ants song called Dirk Wears White Sox released in 1979.

If you will look at the cover art for RHCP “One Hot Minute” it looks like a redhead not a brunette sitting at a piano, doesn’t it?

(Amy Lee Piano Recital, Dallas, TX, December 1978)


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.


Diamond Eyes Shinedown Origin

“I am the shadow, and the smoke in your eyes,
I am the ghost, that hides in the night” – Diamond Eyes performed by Shinedown

The idea for the song Diamond Eyes goes back to all the artists using an eye as cover art for the albums and even Michael Hutchence using it as the artwork for the movie Frankenstein Unbound. 

It also goes back even further to when I met Kurt Cobain.  I remember thinking he was the first person I had ever met with eyes like mine.  Being adopted I couldn’t look at the family who raised me and know my hair color was passed from a particular person or my eyes from another.  I told Kurt he was very lucky to be able to look at his family and know these things about himself.  

This was not the first time I had referenced someone’s eyes in a song.  When I wrote Mystify for INXS I was referring to Michael Hutchence’s brown eyes with, “almond looks”.   

Publicly Shinedown’s lead singer, Brent Smith, said this about the song:

“A few months ago we got a phone call from a very interesting individual. It’s not everyday that Rambo and Rocky call you at the same time. Sylvester Stallone wanted a song for his new movie, called The Expendables. He said write me something that will personify not only the South, but what rock truly is.”

Actually, this goes back to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue giving me the nickname Bullwinkle when I was 15 and William Grey taking the nickname “Rocky”.  The song itself was written long before a movie was developed called The Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone.   

This particular song has many ties to others, including The Deftones which I wrote the song “Change” for and the Foo Fighters song I wrote called “Walk”.  The lyrics “paper mountains” in Walk is a continuation of the theme “paper flowers” in Imaginary performed by Evanescence and “Paper Sun” a song I wrote for Def Leppard.


Legend Movie Origin

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
“15 miles to the
Love Shack”
Love Shack, yeah, yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack

 – Love Shack performed by B-52’s

The book St. Elmo by Augusta Jane Evans in 1866, which St. Elmo, Alabama was named for and inspiration for the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, mentions another place I visited as a child Lookout Mountain, Georgia.  Some of the Def Leppard road crew, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, and others decided to head off on another road trip.  Of which, I told Tom Cruise when he came to see me again.

Located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia is the roadside attaction called Rock City, near the underground cave waterfall Ruby Falls.  Rock City is well-known for the many barn advertisements throughout the South and Midwest.  In total, over 900 barn roofs in nineteen states were painted by Clark Byers.

When Garnet Carter decided to make the area a tourist attraction he named the 700 acres Fairyland.  Mrs. Carter set out to develop the property into one big rock garden, marking a trail that wound its way through the giant rock formations, ending up at Lover’s Leap where LEGEND has it you can see seven states.  She also planted wildflowers and other plants along her trails, importing German gnome statues and other famous fairytale characters.

This trip to Lookout Mountain, the barn roof advertising Rock City, and a movie review about Legend inspired other songs I wrote, including the B-52’s hit song Love Shack.

The Aug. 26, 1985 movie review about the fairy tale movie “Legend” and words of the director Ridley Scott and illustrations from another fairytale called Alice In Wonderland inspired me to write the lyrics in the song “The Show Must Go On” performed by Queen.  

“We originally set out to make a kind of pantomime – a sophisticated “Jack and the Beanstalk.” – Ridley Scott

“Empty spaces – what are we living for
Abandoned places – I guess we know the score
On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for…
Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime

and,

“My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly – my friends ”

The initial inspiration for the song, The Show Must Go On, came from Alan Parsons “Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)” which also inspired me to write the song “Day After Day” performed by Def Leppard.


Interview with a Vampire Movie Origin

If you’ve got love in your sights
Watch out, Love bites
Yes it does
It will be hell” – Love Bites 

In the summer of 1991 while on vacation at the beach I was introduced to the 1976 novel by New Orleans native Anne Rice titled “Interview with a Vampire” which came out in a reprint in 1990.  After reading only a couple of chapters we picked up and left the beach for an impromptu trip to New Orleans for a few days where I have family.  On the return to the beach, while nursing blisters from roaming the Quarter for hours on end, I finished the book.  In 1992, I purchased a new fourth edition and had it signed by Anne Rice which sits proudly on my bookshelf. 

(St. Louis Cathedral 1991, by Amy Lee)

When Tom heard about it, the next time he showed up to see me I was made to wait while he dressed in a period costume he borrowed from the studios and made a big production of telling me he would be playing Lestat.         

There is more to the story…


Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love Myths

Kurt Cobain did not have a relationship with a girl named Tracy Marander. This was a girl he knew and gave the name Tracy for my ex-boyfriend. (See 1982 of which the page is bound into my school annual)

Kurt does not have a sister named Kimberly Dawn. Kimberly is my sister-in-law’s name. Dawn is the street I lived on in 1983 when I met them.

Kurt claimed to have an aunt named Mary, for the Mary in the song “Lose Control” performed by Evanescence which I wrote when I was 15 in 1983.

Leland Cobain is not Kurt’s grandfather’s name.  In 1957, Frances Farmer met Leland C. Mikesell, an independent broadcast promoter from Indianapolis who helped her move to San Francisco.

In all the years I knew Kurt, I never once saw in inject himself with a syringe. That is not to say he didn’t do drugs.

The movie Straight to Hell released in 1987, the actress which goes by the stage name Courtney Love looking very much pregnant and I don’t believe that is padding.  Do you?  There is a girl who is part of their clan which Kurt Cobain claimed as his half-sister Breanne, who would be about the right age.  Actually, Breanna is my cousins name which he used.

Courtney’s character’s name in the movie Straight to Hell is Velma. In the town where I grew up, Trussville, there is a bar by the name of Velma’s Place.

Just as Courtney Michelle Love is not her real name.  Her birth certificate is a fake showing her father at age 15 and mother age 20 at the time it happened to be recorded in 1973.

  


Crimson Tide Movie Origin

“Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give ’em hell, Alabama!”

Despite the fact that Kurt Cobain made a connection to Charles Barkley who in 1983 played for Auburn University before going pro, I am a die-hard University of Alabama Crimson Tide fan. 

One of the most iconic figures in SEC football, Paul William “Bear” Bryant, passed away only days after Def Leppard’s Pyromania album was released on January 20th 1983.   

The day after the concert, May 16, 1983, when Joe Elliott and Kurt Cobain showed up at my front door after school, my room was decorated with memorbilia of my school (colors also being red and white) and the Crimson Tide.

While trying to promote the Lipizzaner Stallions touring the U.S. in April 1983, PBS aired a documentary of the stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Austria which I watched.

 There was a discussion later where I argued with someone about whether or not the stallions were from Spain or from Austria.

In August 1989, on the same trip to Gulf Shores which inspired the name for the band 3 Doors Down, I also made a short trip over to Mobile, Alabama to the Battleship Memorial Park.  We crawled around the USS Alabama and the submarine the USS Drum.  Also, at the park happen to be the USS Lexington which has since been moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. 

 (picture of me on the USS Drum submarine)

 

 

 

When I wrote the song Tourniquet to be performed by Evanescence, I make reference to the Crimson Tide.

 “I tried to kill the pain
but only brought more
so much more
I lay dying
and I’m pouring crimson regret and betrayal” – Tourniquet


Valkyrie Movie Origin

“It’s bigger than Germany” – Love Bites performed by Def Leppard

In a previous post I’ve mentioned how Amy means Beloved, to Love, and that I am of English and German descent according to my adoption records.  This is origin for the beginning line in the song Love Bites.

These are things Tom Cruise knew about me.  They all knew about me actually. 

One day Kurt Cobain and Tom were carrying on a conversation and I felt a little ignored.  So, to entertain myself I started singing, “Kill the Wabbit” from “What’s Opera, Doc?  Tom started laughing but then realized it was from Ride of the Valkyries, the popular term for German composer Wagner’s Act III of “Die Walküre”.

That wasn’t my only contribution.  Over the years they would ask my favorite movies and actors who had made an impression on me.  One such movie happened to be Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing released in ’93.  At about the same time of this movie I had also taken notice of commedian and actor Eddie Izzard.

To commemorate this brainstorming idea, Kurt had a picture made with a rabbit.

Yes, even Kurt’s love of turtles had a meaning.  Turtle is the nickname I gave Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.