Today is Bela Lugosi's 129th birthday. The man who will probably always be remembered as the definitive Count Dracula starred in dozens of plays and hundreds of movies, mostly horror and thrillers. Typecasting, his heavy accent, and a drug dependency on morphine to treat sciatica from a military injury took their toll on his career, and he was broke and forgotten when Ed Wood began hiring him for his famously awful films.
Lugosi has remained an inspiration for many musicians. White Zombie owed their name to a Lugosi flick, and the song that launched both the goth subculture and Bauhaus' career was, of course, "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Much like Lugosi himself as Dracula, that song may be the only one you know that pays tribute to the man, but Rocks Off managed to find quite a few more hidden gems.
If you don't speak German, let us help you out here. "Der Graf" means "the Count." Die Artze has been making awesome German punk rock music for over 20 years. Their drummer goes by the name Bela B., and has admired Lugosi from early childhood. He wrote "Der Graf" for the same reason.
We couldn't really found out much abut the Town Monster, other than they are pretty damned beloved in their native Ohio, but we do know that "Bela Lugosi" just came put this month. It's a hell of a song that would make a great dance tune at Numbers.
We've always been big fans of Shadow Reichenstein. We actually have the promotional single for this track somewhere in a box of CDs. The band does a lot of Dracula-inspired material like "Borgo Pass" and "Dracula Built My Hot Rod." This song deals more with Lugosi's unfortunate addictions, but kicks ass regardless.
"Celluloid Heroes" is one of those Kinks tunes that should've made them kings of all music. Instead, you never hear it except on Internet radio. Lots of actors and actresses get paid tribute in Ray Davies' heartrending tale of the star-filled Hollywood Blvd., and Lugosi would probably be very happy knowing he was ranked with Garbo, Valentino and Bette Davis.
Speaking of Hollywood Blvd., get a load of Nekromantix's road song about conquering the entertainment industry and searching the famous street looking for Lugosi's star. By the way, if you want to see the star yourself, it's at 6340 Hollywood Blvd.
A boy falls asleep watching a Bela Lugosi flick and dreams he's a vampire in this music video. The Immigrants actually won a $10,000 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997 for this 16mm masterpiece.
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SHOW ME HOW
We'll let regular Gothic Council member and leader of Ending the Vicious Cycle Toby Rider tell it...
I wrote this song when we were drinking absinthe and watching Bela Lugosi movies. The idea of surfing with Bela Lugosi came from my memories of growing up in South Bay and watching how green the ocean was at night.
It made me think of a sea of absinthe. All of the drinks in the song are absinthe mixed drinks and who better to deliver them but the cast of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.