I was at Jeff’s site EclecticMusicLover and I heard a song by the band “Death Cab For Cutie” that I liked. I like a few songs by them. That band was named after this song and when I hear their name this is what I think of. This is very different kind of band than what I usually post about. It’s a bit of surreal humor from 1967 from this band that was quite different than anyone else. I’ve always said that Devo was unlike anyone else…and this band I would include also.
The band was the guest of the Beatles on the Magical Mystery Tour movie. There is something about this song…that sticks with me. It might be the intro that pulls me in and won’t let me go…even when I want it to. It is a parody of a 50s teenage tragedy song which I will get to. There was a relationship with Monty Python with a few members like Neil Innes…and you can tell.
The Bonzos were asked personally by Paul McCartney to be in the film as they were gaining popularity in Britain at the time. The song was written by the group’s singer Vivian Stanshall, the initial inspiration for this song was the title of an old American pulp fiction crime magazine he once came across. Stanshall wanted to sing it as a teenage tragedy song of the 50s such as Teen Angel.
It was not a hit in the UK but they did have a top 10 hit with I’m The Urban Spaceman (produced by McCartney) which peaked at #5 in 1968. Death Cab For Cutie was on their album called Gorilla.
The indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie named their band after this song. Lead singer Ben Gibbard says that if he knew his band would still be popular 15 years after they formed, he would’ve picked “something more obvious” for a band name. Ben Gibbard: “I would absolutely go back and give it [the band] a more obvious name, thank God for Wikipedia. At least now, people don’t have to ask me where the f**king name came from every interview. I’m glad we have the name now, but in the early days it was tough.”
The Bonzo Doo-Dah band was formed in the early 60s by British Art Students combining elements of music hall, trad jazz, and psychedelia with surreal humor and avant-garde art. They came up with their name from the cartoon dog created in the 20s by artist George Studdy…Bonzo The Dog.
The phrase “Death Cab for Cutie” can be traced to a book by British Academic Richard Hoggart. In 1957, Hoggart published a book called The Uses of Literacy which discussed British popular culture and cultural studies.
I was around 13 when I saw Magical Mystery Tour. Citizen Kane, it’s NOT but to see videos of I Am The Walrus and Fool On The Hill was worth it. When this band came on to sing Death Cab For Cutie…they were accompanied by stripper Jan Carson doing her act while the Bonzos were performing…I forgot a lot of things about the movie…but not that.
This is the Magical Mystery Tour version that I saw….the censored version
This is an outtake ***NON censored*** version… you see a bit more of Jan Carson in this one. So a warning…yes there is nudity.
The song starts around the 1-minute mark on this one.
Death Cab For Cutie
That night Cutie called a cab-Baby don’t do it She left her East Side drum so drab -Baby don’t do it She went out on the town Knowing it would make her lover frown -Death cab for Cutie -Death cab for Cutie Someone’s going to make you pay your fare
The cab was racing through the night-Baby don’t do it His eyes in the mirror, keeping Cutie in sight -Baby don’t do it When he saw Cutie it gave him a thrill Don’t you know Baby, curves can kill -Death cab for Cutie -Death cab for Cutie Someone’s going to make you pay your fare
Cutie, don’t you play with fateDon’t leave your lover alone If you go out on this date His heart will turn to stone
Bad girl Cutie, what have you done-Baby don’t do it Slipping sliding down Highway 31 -Baby don’t do it The traffic lights changed from green to red They tried to stop but they both wound up dead -Death cab for Cutie -Death cab for Cutie Someone’s going to make you pay your fare Someone’s going to make you pay your fare Someone’s going to make you pay your fare Someone’s going to make you pay your fare