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Bauhaus | Bela Lugosi's Dead Original 12" (1882-1956) | MonstersHD Undead tribute

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Published on Jun 12, 2010

"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a gothic rock song written by the band Bauhaus. The song was the band's first single, released in August 1979, and is often considered to be the first gothic rock record released. It did not enter the UK pop charts, but remained on sale for many years thereafter. The b-side features the song "Boys" and some versions also include an early demo recording of what would be their next single, "Dark Entries". It was released on CD in 1988 and was compiled on the 1998 album, Crackle - The Best of Bauhaus. The original sleeve art was taken from a still of the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Bauhaus were an English rock band formed in Northampton in 1978. The group consisted of Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass). The band was originally Bauhaus 1919 before they dropped the numerical portion within a year of formation. With their dark and gloomy sound and image, Bauhaus are generally considered the first Gothic rock group. Bauhaus first broke up in 1983.

Together for only six weeks, Bauhaus entered the studio for the first time at Beck Studios in Wellingborough to record a demo. The band recorded five songs during a six-hour session at Beck Studios; one of the tracks from the session, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", running more than nine minutes, was released as the group's debut single in August 1979 on Small Wonder Records as Bauhaus (the 1919 abandoned). The single received a positive review in Sounds and stayed on the British independent charts for two years. The song received crucial airplay on BBC Radio 1 and DJ John Peel's evening show, and Bauhaus was subsequently asked to record a session for Peel's show, which was broadcast on January 3, 1980.

The band released three more singles, "Dark Entries", "Terror Couple Kill Colonel" and "Telegram Sam"—originally written by glam rock pioneers T.Rex—before the debut of their first album In the Flat Field in 1980 on 4AD. Despite negative reviews, In the Flat Field topped the indie charts and made headway onto the British pop charts, peaking for one week at number seventy-two.

The song is over nine minutes in length and was recorded "live in the studio" in a single take. David J, the band's bassist, claims on his website to have written the lyrics. The singing does not start (in the studio version) until several minutes into the track. The dub-influenced guitar sound was achieved by using partial barre chords and leaving the top E and B strings open.

The title references horror film star Béla Lugosi (1882-1956), who did much to establish the modern vampire image as the title character in the 1931 film Dracula.

The song was featured in the 1983 Tony Scott cult vampire film The Hunger, with Bauhaus portraying a band in a nightclub, playing it during the opening credits and introduction. A 7" promotional record featuring an edited version of the song was released to theaters playing the movie.

It was also played throughout the movie Dead Man's Curve/The Curve, and featured in the French movie, Sombre. The song is played in the movie Good Luck Chuck as an introduction for when the Goth girl is on screen and it is on the soundtrack.

The song was used as the intro music for the late 1990s Saturday Night Live skit "Goth Talk", which had Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon as two goth students. This song was also in an episode in the fifth season of Smallville, the vampire/Halloween-themed "Thirst." The song was also in an episode of One Tree Hill.

The song was featured in an episode ("Midnight") of the science fiction/horror series Fringe which revolved around a vampire-esque creature.

Comedian and musician Bill Bailey parodied the song on his DVD Cosmic Jam as part of a medley in which he and his band, the Stan Ellis Experiment performed Cockney Rock style versions of popular songs - this particular segment of the medley included lyrical changes such as "E ad a girl's name" and "This means nuffing to me."

The song was played almost in its entirety during the horror film The Collector during a scene in which the older daughter was attempting to have sex with her boyfriend before they were both viciously murdered.

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