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Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

Today I present a popular club hit on a new floating "segment" I'm calling "Fourth Sunday Familiar."
When I was growing up, there was a particular compilation album that I had on 8-track cassette that probably had a severe influence on the kind of person I'd grow up to become. The original version of today's featured cover was the first, and certainly the most played for being my favorite, track on it:

Neuroticfish - They're Coming to Take Me Away (Napoleon XIV)

If you dig into the musical genetics of acts like Mindless Self Indulgence or Weird Al Yankovic, though generations apart you'll invariably find threads of connection to Jerry Samuels, better known by his novelty pop persona, Napoleon XIV. It was in this guise that Samuels recorded and released They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! as a single in 1966. The B-side of the single was the same track recorded, titled, and labeled in reverse. He used his skill as a recording engineer to produce the altered pitch effects on his voice and built the core of the song around his vague memory of the rhythm to a Scottish clan song, The Campbells Are Coming, believed to date back to the 1700's. The lyrics were a simple depiction of a man slowly losing his grasp on sanity due to the abandonment of his love. Samuels himself admitted that he thought he was writing a "sick joke" and as he continued writing the next verses he felt it became an "even sicker joke."
Such was the immediate popular success of the single, Napoleon XIV quickly contrived an entire album based on themes of mental illness, despite some concern that he was making undue fun of such illnesses which eventually resulted in the track being banned from several stations. The last track on the album is a reprise of the song, instead sung as response to Napoleon XIV by Josephine XV who, as the song is titled, declares plainly, "I'm Happy They Took You Away, Ha-Haaa!." "Josephine," possessed of a distinctive German accent was meant as a quirky, if slanted, homage to Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first wife to Napoleon Bonaparte, the figure on whom Samuels obviously parodied his recorded character.
The rest of the album, however, did not make the impact of the single.
It turns out the track was covered three times in the same year as the original's release: one translated to German by Malepartus II as Ich Glaab', Die Hole Mich Ab, Ha-Haaa! and another translated to Italian by I Balordi as "Vengono a Portarci Via ah! aah!.
With only that single original album, and the one hit wonder that went on to be on multiple compilations, Jerry Samuels still occasionally performs to this day and is said to work booking talent from his agency in Pennsylvania.

In 2005, EBM act Neuroticfish covered the track for their studio album, Gelb. Sung without the varied pitch effects of the original and cleaner technically for all the modern technology that allows it, their version is also far more aggressive with a fuller electronic instrumentation, stronger bass, and a faster marching tempo. Added spooky overtones fade in and out throughout the track in place of the sirens that hail in the chorus of the original.
After ten years it is still a fantastically potent song with which to cathartically unburden yourself of madness on the dance floor:

The Cover:
The Cover:

The Original:

Next week:
Presented on the day before Independence Day here in the States, 240 years after the Declaration, when our world seems unfathomably like the title of the featured electro-industrial cover.

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!

I spin tonight in Cambridge Mass. Check my schedule for details on that and other upcoming gigs. ^_^

Explore the darkness,

Previous DisCOVERies

June 19 - Psychedelic Furs - Mack The Knife (Kurt Gerron)
June 12 - Cancerface - Disease (Insight 23)
June 05 - Microwaved - Obsession (Michael Des Barres & Holly Knight)
May 29 - Depeche Mode - Dirt (The Stooges)
May 22 - Dust Heaven - Dark (Gary Numan)

Directory of All DisCOVERies

(no subject)

Date: 2016-06-26 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's so quiet in my house right now I cannot listen to anything but I'll be sure to check this cover out as soon as our lazy Sunday livens up a bit.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-06-26 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh you had to have this one before! At least in clubs up here. I'm sure you'll recognize it.
Edited Date: 2016-06-26 09:17 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-06-27 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah! ^_^


seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

October 2017

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