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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


Cocktails & Dreams

I am the last barman poet.  I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make.  Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake.   The sex on the beach, the schnapps made from peach, the velvet hammer, the Alabama slammer...” – Tom Cruise in 1988 Cocktail

The “poem” alludes to “you’ve got the peaches” used in the lyrics for Pour Some Sugar On Me which I co-wrote with Joe Elliott.  I also used “peach and black” in the lyrics for U Got The Look performed by Prince & Sheila E.  The rest is taken from the University of Alabama college football cheer “Rammer jammer, yellowhammer, give’em hell Alabama.”

Tom and I were discussing the plot for the movie, before the script was written.  He asked what I would name the bar and off the top of my head said, “Cocktails & Dreams”. 

There are only a few people who really know how proud I have been to watch Tom’s career over the years and he made me feel a part of it.  It’s not something I talk about, except in letting his career inspire me when coming up with new songs.  One such song happen to be “Raise Your Glass” performed by Pink.

“Right, right, turn off the lights
We’re gonna lose our minds tonight
What’s the dealio?
I love when it’s all too much
5 a.m. turn the radio up
Where’s the rock ‘n roll?”

“5 a.m” was a reference to Alarm Clock used in the lyrics for Imaginary performed by Evanescence and Tik Tok performed by Ke$ha.  This also lead into naming Nikki Sixx’s band Sixx A.M.

Even lines in the movie inspired verses in Raise Your Glass.  Bryan Brown as Doug:  “When you see the color of their panties, you know you’ve got talent. Stick with me son and I’ll make you a star.”

“Party crasher, panty snatcher
Call me up if you’re a gangsta
Don’t be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?”

The drink “Alabama Slammer” inspired the next line:

Slam, slam, oh hot damn
What part of a party don’t you understand?”


I wanna be a Rockstar! Nickelback Origin

In 1983 Joe Elliott released to the press he received a scar over one of his eyes due to a fan throwing a coin from the crowd in Spain during a concert.  It was his right eye and it wasn’t a coin. 

Knowing Joe released this to the press I started yelling at him, “I want my nickel back!” after making up a new song.  He would walk off smiling saying, “I know you do.”

I overheard someone ask why I said it was a nickel.  I bought a souvenir at  Rock City (see previous post “Legend Movie Origin”).   The souvenir was only a  nickel and in exchange received a wooden nickel back.   

It was then later decided to choose band members who were Canadian citizens due to the Canadian football position called a Nickelback.

“‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair” – Rockstar performed by Nickelback

The song “Rockstar” was inspired by an article which Kurt Cobain showed me about Tom (Cruise) going to the Playboy Mansion to watch the Hagler-Hearns fight.  I was making fun of him and others when I made up the song.


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).


Origin of Pink’s Album Titles & Songs

“You make me sick
I want you and I’m hatin it
Got me lit like a candlestick
Get too hot when you touch the tip, I’m feelin it, I gotta getta grip
And it’s drivin me crazy baby don’t you quit
Can’t get enough of it
You got me goin again
Baby, you got me goin again
You make me sick” – You Make Me Sick performed by Pink

We listened to a lot of disco at the roller skating rink such as The Gap Band, Midnight Star, George Clinton & P-Funk, The Commodores, The Brothers Johnson, KC & The Sunshine Band, Richard Berry’s “Louis Louis” influenced many of the songs I wrote for my alter-egos.  These particular songs were also influenced by Joan Jett and Pat Benatar.  

The 2000 album and song “Can’t Take Me Home” was from 1983 Joe Elliott released an article about Def Leppard in Goldmine which the headline read, “The Heavy Metal Band You Can Bring Home to Mother.”

You Make Me Sick:  Kurt Cobain and I watched a lot of movies together.  Sometimes Michael Hutchence would be there when INXS had some down time.  On one of these occasions we watched the 1981 British comedy Time Bandits by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam.

Inspired by a conversation between the characters while sitting on the S.S. Titanic before it went down, Kevin said to Randell, “You make me sick!”

The 2001 album and song “Missunderztood” came from a headline about INXS in 1985 (see pic).

 Don’t Let Me Get Me: The other artists could not seem to understand why I didn’t want to be famous.  Only thing hold me back was stage fright and the struggle with how I might be perceived by my grandfather, the preacher.  Not knowing what they actually had in mind for me, I figured they would have just thrown me out there as the next Tiffany or Debbie Gibson which wasn’t me or the image I really would have wanted to project.  It was an inner struggle which I projected in the song.  I make reference also in the song to Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood.

Just Like A Pill: The idea for the song and is influenced by overhearing things after Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s drummer, wrecked his car December 31, 1984 and lost an arm and their song “You Got Me Running” from the High ‘n’ Dry album.

Get This Party Started: There was only one influence on this song and it was Michael Jackson’s friend Diana Ross who released the song “I’m Coming Out” in 1980.

Family Portrait:  It was a self-portrait of my family and somewhat had been happening up until my parents divorced in ’83.  I didn’t want parents to stay together, though at times I still missed my brother and dad after they moved out.

2003 album “Try This” 

Trouble:  This is just my take on the old saying, my middle name is trouble.  In the lyrics I make reference to Tom Cruise who starred in “The Firm” 1993.   

God Is A DJ: Pretty much self-explanatory.  I always liked to make up inspirational songs to not only get people moving, but in life as well. 

2006 “I’m Not Dead”

Stupid Girl: After meeting Hutch, knowing I didn’t want to be famous, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  At fifteen I didn’t have a clue, but Mom always told me I could be anything I wanted to be even the first female President.  This song was heavily influenced by watching some of the females that would hook themselves up with the male artist looking for help with their careers. 

U + ur Hand: This was another version of a song I wrote when a kid.  The other was called Darling Nikki, named for Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue though it was not about him, and performed by Prince.  It was also inspired by Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail.  “I’m not here for your entertainment” was a take on “Let Me Entertain You” a song from the musical Gypsy.   After I came up with the song Kurt Cobain wrote the song “Smells Like Teen Spirits” if that tells you how long ago this song was written.

2008 “Funhouse”

Funhouse:  I wrote this song sometime after 1989.  The officials had been talking about tearing the Auditorium down where we worked on most of the songs.  I asked them to make it part of the museum.  Of course, the lyrics were inspired by Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and the song PhotographI also had become fascinated with the Cirque du Soleil performances which influenced the song, as well as, advertising art & pinup art.

So What: This happen to be written after I was married.  I remember Alecia reading the lyrics and asking, “I’ve got to get married?”   

Sober: I wrote this after “Call Me When Your Sober” performed by Evanescence and I make many references to Evanescence songs I wrote including “Broken”.

These are just a few I wanted to mention.


Corn with a K

“Hey you, hey you devils little sister
Listening to your twisted transistor
Hold it between your legs turn it up, turn it up
The wind is coming through can’t get enough

A lone-ly life where no one understands you
But don’t give up because the music do
Music do!” – Twisted Transistor performed by Korn

The song Twisted Transistor itself was inspired by watching my brother and dad build a transistor radio, as well as nights I would try to spend some time with my dad while he worked on televisions.  Yep, the failed musician turned television repairman.

There are many references to other songs I loved just in the lyrics I’ve posted here.  In 1961 Elvis released the song “Little Sister” and it was released again on the ’77 soundtrack album Elvis in Concert which I have in my collection.  As usual, I make reference to Alan Parson’s song “Turn It Up” and to Billy Squier’s song “Lonely Is the Night” released on the Don’t Say No album.

I’ve written about “Coming Undone” in another post. 

“Ya’ll Wanna Single”, happened a day I was mad at Kurt Cobain and Joe Elliott.  There were moments when they would push too hard for me to come up with new songs so I would express myself in a song.  This is where Freak On A Leash came from as well, I felt like I was being kept on a short leash.

Falling Away From Me, Kurt actually makes reference to the fact that I used ‘It’s gonna be better tomorrow’ with the voice of Jean Stapleton who is known for her roll as Edith Bunker by writing Sally Struthers in his published journal.  This was also a reference to a famous line by Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, “Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all… tomorrow is another day.”

With the cover of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Another Brick In The Way pts. 1, 2 & 3, it was a way of referencing Bob Geldof’s character as “Pink” in the movie and also a way to honor such an inspirational band.  When they asked me who I wanted to do the version I could only think of Korn performing it.  

There are a few other songs which I may come back to at another time.


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.


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.


Titanic the Movie Origin

It was midnight on the sea,
Band playin’ “Nearer My God to Thee”
Cryin’, “Fare thee, Titanic, fare the well,”
Titanic when it got its load,
Captail hollered, “All aboard,”
Cryin’, “Fare thee, Titanic, fare the well” – Huddie Leadbetter (Lead Belly) 1912 Dallas, TX

In January of 1978, a 16 year old redheaded New Zealand girl stowed away on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker the Polar Star headed to Seattle, Washington.  After making her way to San Francisco, she met the members of the rock band Dr. Hook’s Medicine Show and traveled with them to Texas. 

Four months shy of my sixteenth birthday in 1983, Labor Day weekend, my family and friends headed to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for a cruise on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras (pictured) formerly known as the RMS Empress of Canada.

In fact, several from the Def Leppard’s road crew were on the cruise.  Kurt Cobain was there too.  I didn’t see any of the members of the band, but I recall giving Rick Savage a t-shirt from the Bahamas.

For most of the cruise I kept to myself there really wasn’t much for a kid to do onboard, or maybe just a kid like me.  Being fair-skinned I really do not care to lay out turning into a crispy critter, though I love to swim but as long as there is some shade to escape to.

(Some friends outside the “Showplace” on the ship. The other is me with some friends inside the Showplace, Mark and the real Rob Thomas pictured center.)

Before dinner I disappeared from my mom and friends just roaming the ship and went to the bow.  I stood on the railing looking down at the water crashing against the sides.  When I hopped down, turned around, and looked up toward the Bridge I saw a man in uniform running across.  Later I learned they thought I was going to jump.

During the cruise I met the Italian First Mate Marco Nogara.  (Marco Nogara with actress Mira Sorvino, years later after he became the Captain of his own ship called the Liberty.  He became a regular fixtured hanging around with Ricky Martin and Robi “Draco” Rosa.  I remember Michael Jackson telling Marco he would have him moved to the Disney Cruise Line.  Marco also wears brown eye contacts sometime.)

Upon the return home I was able to finish a song I had started when I came up with the songs for Oingo Boingo’s Deadman’s Party with Michael Hutchence and Adam Ant.  It was a gospel rock inspired song called “Home” later to be performed by Marc Broussard.

Hot damn you should have felt the groove
Like I was swimming in a sea of soul
The sun was rising and the day was hot
And we was all about to lose control
My daddy turned his face up towards the sky
And I knew that there was nothing to lose
I felt the crowd breathe in and I closed my eyes
And we disappeared into the groove

Said take me home
Said take me home
Take me home
Said take me home

The original lyrics for part of it was changed, but I wrote:

Stray from the water
Stray from the water children

You don’t know nothing about this

I had also started working on a song called “Oops…I Did It Again” and later someone requested I add to the lyrics a spoken verse:

“All aboard
Britney, before you go, there’s something I want you to have
Oh, it’s beautiful, but wait a minute, isn’t this…?
Yeah, yes it is
But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end
Well baby, I went down and got it for you
Oh, you shouldn’t have”

I actually started using references to the Titanic in songs, including Supermassive Black Hole performed by the band I named Muse.

A little background on Carnival Cruise Line.  It was started by the late Ted Arison who was in business with Meshulam Riklis, actress Pia Zadora’s ex-husband, who’s business was based in Massachusetts where Billy Squier is from. 

At the time of my cruise Carnival Cruise Line was looking to expand their business.  From what I understand the cruise business was having a hard time in ’83. 

(This picture is of the cover of a photo taken onboard the ship which lists the names of the ships in Carnival’s fleet.  The Carnival, Festivale, Mardi Gras, and Tropicale.)

It was soon after my cruise that Carnival started having a standing in the “entertainment business” and hired Cathy Lee Gifford to do their commercials. 

Part of the blockbuster Titanic movie released in ’97 was based on things that happened to me on the cruise.  Of course, from an artistic standpoint.  They had also wanted to use ideas from Danielle Steel’s ’91 book “No Greater Love” which I tried to talk them out of.  They also wanted to use ideas from the 1943 German movie based on Titanic.

This is the connection between Carnival Cruise Lines and the Titanic.  The article is from January 1986 about a ship model builder. 

Just for the record, I never saw director James Cameron as the script ideas were being developed who claims to have written it.

In November of 1978 there was a headline out of London with the 16 year old New Zealander stowaway exclaiming, “Never Again.”  This inspired me to write the song Never Again performed by Nickelback.

It would be years later that I came up with the idea for and named the annual Rock the Boat held onboard Carnival Cruise Line for the ’74 Hues Corporation song of the same name.