Tag Archives: Music

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


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?”


Origin of the ! in P!nk

As I’ve mentioned in another post, it was in meeting Bob Geldof who starred as “Pink” in Pink Floyd’s The Wall released in ’82 who inspired me to give the stagename P!nk for an artist I was writing songs for.  Geldof is the singer, songwriter, author, and political activist best known for his work on Band Aid and Live Aid.  In the ’70’s he was the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats with John “Mutt” Lange producing some of their albums.  Lange who also produced Def Leppard’s ’83 hit album Pyromania.

As a child, I was inspired by the Danish entertainer Victor Borge to want to be a classical pianist.  It was Borge’s stage act on “Phonic Punctuation” which inspired the ! in P!nk.  I also hated when little girls would draw a heart at the top of an “i” which my friends were known to do, so to solve the problem I turned the “i” upside down.

Michael Hutchence and INXS knew of this and soon a movie script was developed titled “Pretty in Pink” released in 1986 starring another redhead, Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, James Spader, and others.  INXS lent the song “Do Wat You Do” to the soundtrack.

I would also make up the song “Pink” which would be performed by Aerosmith released in 1997.


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.


Backstreet Boys Origin

Back street boy gonna sell you some sin
He’ll wind you up–he gonna suck you in
The blood say yes–the mind say no
The voice in your ear say you go – go – go
Run down–you really run down–you really run down
Cool down–you never cool down–you better cool down” – Emotions in Motion

The Backstreet Boys group which formed in 1993 took it’s name from lyrics in Emotion In Motion performed by Billy Squier.  It was Robi “Draco” Rosa’s, formerly of the boy group Menudo, idea while I was singing the song.


Three Days Grace

“Every time we lie awake
After every hit we take
Every feeling that I get
But I haven’t missed you yet

Every roommate kept awake
By every sigh and scream we make
All the feelings that I get
But I still don’t miss you yet

Only when I stop to think about it

I hate everything about you”

My mother would sometimes call me Grace when I would trip over my own feet or do something completely clumsy.  One day in late ’94 I had planned a long weekend out of town.  It happened to be a weekend they all wanted to fly in and work on songs with me.  I refused to change my plans.  The voice on the other end of the phone gave me a warning, “Three days, Grace!”  While on the trip my aunt’s home caught fire and she died of smoke inhalation.  To commemorate the day my aunt died, to draw a connection to the element Lithium being atomic #3, and the song “3″ I wrote and would go on to be performed by Britney Spears, I decided to name the band Three Days Grace.

When I made up the song “I Hate Everything About You” it was very much inspired by Nirvana‘s song “Heart Shaped Box” and Def Leppard’s song “Miss You In A HeartbeatJust as this song happened to be written many years before it’s release, so were Nirvana’s and Def Leppard’s.

In 1993, Nirvana recorded “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”.

Both songs were based on Joan Jett & The Blackheart’s ’88 hit song “I Hate Myself for Loving You“.


Snow White Queen Origin

“Who will be the king and queen of the outcast teens? – Kurt Cobain

The British rock band Queen had a lot of influence on me in my everyday life as well as while writing songs.  It was a love of their songs which inspired me to want to write songs for them.  While watching a sneak peak of Top Gun before it’s release in ’86, I was inspired by the song Danger Zone performed by Kenny Login’s to write the song One Vision released by Queen in November ’85. 

The title and lyrically it was inspired by the first song Michael Hutchence and INXS performed for me in Jun ’83, The One Thing, from their ’82 Shabooh Shoobah album.  INXS also let me see the videos from some of their other performances.  In Melbourne a fan’s t-shirt caught my attention.  It was the symbol for yin and yang.  Feeling completely ignorant, sheltered, of other religions or beliefs from around the world I made it something of a project to learn more.  I also took an interest in Buddhism.  I realized the song would be controversial but what I felt is that the main message of any religion should be that of peace and love.        

In ’74 Queen released a song named White Queen (as it began), and I learned of the ’79 raid on the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise’s proclaimed religion, called Operation Snow White.   These were inspirations for me to make up the song Snow White Queen performed by Evanescence.

Lyrically I was inspired by Billy Squier.

 Stoplight, lock the door.

Don’t look back.

Undress in the dark,

And hide from you,

All of you.

Stoplight is from Billy Squier’s Lonely Is The Night, “Red lights, green lights, stop and go jive“, which I also used in lyrics for Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On MeListen! red light, yellow light, green-a-light go”

I also used Billy Squier’s “In The Dark” in the lyrics for Snow White Queen.


Victoria’s Secret In Bloom

Nirvana’s “In Bloom” was inspired by 2 songs I wrote.

When Doves Cry performed by Prince from the ’84 Purple Rain album “Dream if you can a courtyard An ocean of violets IN BLOOM”

The song title “When Doves Cry” was inspired by the ’83 movie Never Cry Wolf starring Brian Dennehy as “Rosie” and the cover of the 1975 album of The Best of Michael Jackson’s.

The second song was ’94 song performed by Seal “Kiss From A Rose”.  The title inspired by Dennehy’s character name “Rosie” in Never Cry Wolf and Def Leppard’s song Bringin’ on the Heartbreak and their friends in the band Kiss.   

“The stranger it feels, yeah. And now that your rose is IN BLOOM”

Brian Dennehy’s connection and Seal’s comes from the Australian band INXS and Michael Hutchence as well as my friend Tom Cruise.  Dennehy would go on to star in the movie F/X and F/X2 with Australian Bryan Brown who appeared in Cocktail with Tom.  Seal would go on the marry model and friend of Australian Elle MacPherson and Helena Christensen, Heidi Klum, who were all partly responsible for the success of Victoria Secret’s.  

Victoria’s secret?  She was my English childhood penpal whom we corresponded through the ’70’s PBS children’s show Zoom. 

With Michael Jackson, Hutchence and others an idea formed to do a Batman movie.  This movie was ’95 Batman Forever which starred Australian actress Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise’s Top Gun co-star Val Kilmer.  Hutchence did a cover of Bowie’s “The Passenger” and “Kiss From A Rose” was rereleased for the movie.


Pour Some Sugar On Me ~ Oh! Nevermind

With the release of Nirvana’s 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind, I thought fans would like to know where the title “Nevermind” came from.

The first song Joe Elliott and I worked on together was Pour Some Sugar On Me in May of ’83.  After discussing how much I loved Aerosmith’s ’75 Toys In The Attic album (Toys In The Attic being a euphemism for insanity which I used in Sweet Sacrifice “It’s true, we’re all a little insane“), we discussed my favorite songs off the album and how I would use it in a song. 

“Step inside, WALK THIS WAY”  

I always liked to draw connections between songs I wrote. The next would be the ’84 song Sugar Walls performed by Scottish born Sheena Easton.  Prince was allowed to claim the song under the pseudonym “Alexander NEVERMIND”.  This happened after I wrote all the songs for his ’84 Purple Rain album and gave him the idea for the movie.

There is actually a rumor that Prince wrote songs for Def Leppard, which would be a common misconception considering I wrote songs for both.