Tag Archives: britney spears

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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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)


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.


Lithium is My Chemical Romance

“Love is like a bomb” – Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard

In 1958, Scientist developed a cheap H-Bomb using Lithium, atomic #3.  

In 1959, musical humorist, Tom Lehrer, recites the names of all the chemicals known at the time, sung to the tune of the Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.  I could nearly sing the whole song as a kid and recite each chemical with it’s atomic number.  

PRETTY WOMAN QUOTE: 

Old Lady at Opera: Did you like the opera, dear?

Vivian: It was so good, I almost peed my pants

Edward Lewis:  She said she liked it better than Pirates of Penzance

The character Edward Lewis was named for my grandfather, who started his ministry in Georgia the 1930’s, his middle name was Edward and his grandmother’s maiden name was Lewis.  The character Vivian for Vivian Leigh who starred in A Street Car Named Desire (which inspired Heart Shaped Box) and as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind (which partly was my inspiration for the Goth meets Scarlett look for Amy Lynn Hartzler).  Michael Hutchence’s brother’s name is Rhett.  

My grandfather’s first name was Miles and in Kurt Cobain’s journal under the title Uncertainty wrote “I wish someone could explain to me why exactly I have no desire to learn anymore, why I used to have so much energy, and the need to search for Miles…” 

When Michael Jackson brought Madonna to meet me and talk about the songs, we also discussed her fashion.  I had mentioned after seeing her first music video for “Everybody” I was concerned her fashion did not only match her voice, sound, or dance style, but also did not have national appeal for girls who would want to imitate her.  I was a fan of Prince’s girl group Vanity 6 and the Goth girl at heart loved Billy Idol’s music video for the ’82 White Wedding

I told her about an article titled “Boy’s Toy turns out to be a bomb” in Oxford, Alabama and bombs being a “theme” of some sort in my songs.  At first we discussed making a necklace that said Boy Toy.  Instead we decided it would not be large enough and talked about it being a belt.  She agreed to think about it.

Even in the best families bad things happen.  My adopted father had been the one who had hoped for stardom as an artist.  He went to college on a music scholarship playing the drums and had been in a jazz band.  His true wish, which we all thought was silly, had been to become the next Pat Boone.  Over the years he seemed to disappear more and more into a bottle of vodka as reality set in on him and the most he could hope for was to lead the service at church in song.  Most of the members at church did not notice his behavior.  Finally, my parents divorced in the Spring of 1983 before the Def Leppard concert in May. 

While scouring news articles for ideas to write songs I came across one mentioning Lithium as a way to reduce alcohol craving.  I was interested in the study for my dad.       

 All these things inspired the idea for the songs Lithium both performed by Nirvana and by Evanescence.  

I also tended to use the number 3 in songs, actually I liked using numbers in songs, eventually even making up the song “3” performed by Britney Spears.

Yes, I even named the band My Chemical Romance.