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|"Bela Lugosi's Dead"|
|Single by Bauhaus|
|Released||6 August 1979|
|Recorded||26 January 1979|
|Studio||Beck Studios, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England|
|Genre||Gothic rock, Post-punk|
|Bauhaus singles chronology|
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a song by English post-punk band Bauhaus. This song was the band's first single, released on 6 August 1979 by record label Small Wonder. It is often considered the first gothic rock record.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded "live in the studio" in a single take during a six-hour session at Beck Studios in Wellingborough on 26 January 1979. Four additional songs were also recorded: "Boys"; "Bite My Hip"; the reggae tune "Harry", which was about Deborah Harry, the lead singer of Blondie; and "Some Faces". Of these recordings, only two were released. "Harry" surfaced in 1982 as a B-side to the single "Kick in the Eye", while "Boys" served as a B-side to "Bela Lugosi's Dead", and later was re-recorded at Beck Studios in 1979. Alternate versions of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" also included a portion of the early demo recording of their next single, "Dark Entries".
All four band members are credited as writers of the song: vocalist Peter Murphy, guitarist Daniel Ash, drummer Kevin Haskins and bassist David J (as David Haskins). David J has claimed that he wrote the lyrics.
The song is over nine minutes long; the vocals start (in the studio version) 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 horror film star Bela Lugosi (1882–1956) in the title did much to establish the modern vampire image through his role as the title character in the 1931 film Dracula. He had died more than 23 years before the song was written and recorded.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was released in 6 August 1979, but did not enter the UK charts.
It was released on CD in 1988, and was compiled on the 1998 Bauhaus compilation album Crackle.
The original 12" release was on white vinyl and limited to 5,000 copies. Various other releases are included in the following:
In the 1983 horror film The Hunger, Bauhaus performed the song during the opening credits and introduction. A 7″ promotional record featuring an edited version of the song was released to theaters playing the film. The song was featured in numerous other films and TV shows including Smallville, The Curve, Good Luck Chuck, The Collector, Fringe, Supernatural and American Horror Story: Hotel. The song was used as the intro music for the late 1990s Saturday Night Live skit "Goth Talk", which featured Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon as two goth students.
From those basics, 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' crackles in on percussion alone, a tapping, rattling rhythm into which a three-note bass line only gradually intrudes itself before Ash's treated guitar slides in, echoed and echoing the most atmospheric dub.
The two troll a goth club dancing to Bauhaus' 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' in search of a meal.
They played a wide range of covers that tied in to varying degrees with the agitprop documentary taking place onscreen. Some, like The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" and Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead", seemed chosen more for mood.