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Friday, October 30, 2009

For Halloween: Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive/Men at Work, and More

For Halloween, we're featuring Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive, from Men at Work's 1983 album Cargo. The song offers a musical spin on Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The title--with the first letters of Jekyll and Hyde transposed--offers a clue that the song is a variation on Stevenson's classic tale of split personality. Instead of a respectable doctor turning into violent brute, as in the original, the lyrics have a socially awkward mad scientist (Hey hey, he fumbles for what to say) transformed into a suave man-about-town (Hey hey, he's cool in every way)--essentially the same premise as the 1963 Jerry Lewis film The Nutty Professor. The video for the song features a Sherlock Holmes figure--suggestive of mystery writer Loren D. Estleman's 1980 novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes, which pitted the sleuth against the Jekyll/Hyde duo. [England Dan and John Ford Coley released a 1978 album with the title Dr. Heckle & Mr. Jive.]

Here are some other musical selections, featured in previous posts, that are suitable to the season:

Moon Over Bourbon Street by Sting, about a vampire, based on Anne Rice's novel Interview With The Vampire.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by The Alan Parsons Project, an entire album of songs based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Resurrectionist by the Pet Shop Boys, based on Sarah Wise's book about body snatchers, The Italian Boy.

Scentless Apprentice by Nirvana, about the misanthropic mass murderer featured in the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind.

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, which, not surprisingly, is based on At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, a short novel about a terrifying excursion to the Antarctic.

Happy Halloween!

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