Tag Archives: Prince

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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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


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.


3 Doors Down

If I go crazy then will you still
Call me Superman
If I’m alive and well, will you be
There a-holding my hand
I’ll keep you by my side
With my superhuman might
Kryptonite”

The story behind the band 3 Doors Down’s official name happening on a trip to Foley, Alabama actually came from a trip I took to Gulf Shores in August of ’89 on vacation.  While looking for a place to eat breakfast, we traveled to Foley stopping at the Foley Coffee Shop.  While talking to the waitress we found out that it was a family run business and her father had just passed away.

 I was heartbroken about the tragic accident in May 1995 leaving Christopher Reeve a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse.  The original idea behind the song Kryptonite was to honor Reeve.

I make reference to the song I worked on for Prince & The Revolution’s ’84 Purple Rain album titled “Let’s Go Crazy”.

Eventually, drummer Daniel Adair would join my pet project, Nickelback, as drummer.


Easy A

 “Easy operator come a knockin’ on my door” – Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard

Upon meeting Tom Cruise he wanted me to help him with ideas for movie and not just for himself, but his friends as well.  I knew that several of the bands or artists such as Billy Squier and Oingo Boingo had contributed songs to movies, such as ’82 Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and INXS later talked about contributing to the movie Pretty in Pink released in ’86.  

I started with what I knew and told him about spending part of my summers in singing school and then the other in a reading club at the local library from about 2nd grade.  We would have contests to see who could read the most books at our grade level.  When I was in about third or fourth grade, while searching for a new book to read, a garnet covered book with a large “A” stood out in a low stack.   It was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  While reading The Scarlet Letter I realized there were words I did not know or understand, so I approached the librarian who directed me to the nearest dictionary.  There I sat for several afternoons in a row until I finished the book.

There is another Scarlet which has meaning to me and that is the iconic Southern female Scarlet O’Hara portrayed by Vivian Leigh in Gone With The Wind.  Mom and I would curl up on the sofa together every time it would come on television.  I’ve actually known a few Scarlets, figuratively speaking.

English actor Gary Oldman had been tapped to play the role of Sid Vicious in Kurt Cobain’s  brain-child, the ’86 movie (Love Kills) Sid & Nancy.  Actress Demi Moore had been tapped to star in ’85 St. Elmo’s Fire.  While trying to draw connections to me they found a town in lower Alabama named St. Elmo.  The town was named for an 1866 novel by Southern author Augusta Jane Evans of the same name.  While doing more research they came across the electrical weather phenomenon called St. Elmo’s Fire. 

Later both actors, Gary Oldman and Demi Moore, were then tapped to star in the ’95 movie The Scarlet Letter.  The Executive Producer being none other than Dodi Fayed who died in the car crash with Diana, Princess of Wales in ’97.  After seeing the movie I mentioned to Tom that I was a bit disappointed in the writer taking creative license with the script. 

Another Scarlet influenced the ’92 movie Basic Instinct and the fact that one day I accidently stabbed Kurt Cobain with a microwave meat thermometer.  Fortunately, it wasn’t a mortal wound.  The movie I am referring to is Australian-American filmmaker Fritz Lang’s 1945 Scarlet Street. 

The dance scene in Basic Instinct actually happened while I was dancing with Kurt Cobain and Michael Hutchence at a private party when the ’84 album Purple Rain was released and Prince & The Revolution performed. 

Kurt Cobain made reference to the Scarlet Street movie in his journal under the page titled H.R. Puffnstuff, “Marlen Dietritch, Lilly Marlene sings”.  He is referring to the German love song Lili Marlene.  The poem was originally titled “Das Mädchen unter der Laterne” (German for “the girl under the lantern”), but it became famous as “Lili Marleen”. 

Nirvana in 1993 on MTV Unplugged in New York, Kurt requested the stage be surrounded by “Madonna” lilies.  Not to mention the “Anarchy A” on the cheerleader’s uniforms in the music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit.

While getting to know Michael Hutchence, of INXS, he told me about Australia, slang words, vegemite, and the ’79 movie Mad Max film starring Mel Gibson.  One day I fell asleep on the sofa in a dressing room of the auditorium we were working in.  I woke to Hutch starring me in the face smiling and for some strange reason I exclaimed, “Max!”  As a side project in 1989 Hutch started a band by the name of Max Q. 

If you haven’t seen the 2010 movie Easy A, I can highly recommend it.


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.