Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Suicide: 'Ghost Rider' (1977)


Original album version (2:34) dubbed to the Nicolas Cage movie trailer by a fan

Suicide is one those acts that in the annals of popular music are usually called with the clichéd epithet "seminal". A proto-electronic duo of the vocalist Alan Vega and keyboardist Martin Rev from New York City, they came into prominence when punk rock emerged in the late 1970s, though they were closer to such other pioneering electronic duos as Silver Apples of the late 60s (also from NYC) than The Ramones or Television. Taking their own cues from Elvis, Question Mark and The Mysterians, The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop & The Stooges, they were to inspire everyone from Sigue Sigue Sputnik to Finland's own Pan sonic (who even got to record with their hero Alan Vega). 'Ghost Rider' is one of the best-known songs from their eponymous debut album of 1977.

This year's Ghost Rider film, based on the same Marvel Comics character which inspired Suicide's song, didn't actually include their track, and got negative reviews anyway. (However, Henry Rollins' cover version was heard in 1994's The Crow.)

The original track was also Alan Vega's comment on the Vietnam war ("America is killin' its youth"), and hasn't dated a bit in these days of Iraq. (And it was somehow ominous that I heard about the Virginia Tech shootings as I was writing this entry...)


TV performance (2:27)


Live performance from 1977/78 (5:12)


Ghost Rider, motorcycle hero
bebebebebebebe he's lookin' so cute
sneakin' round round round in a blue jumpsuit

Ghost Rider, motorcycle hero
bebebebebebebe he's a-blazin' away
Like stars stars stars in the universe

Ghost Rider motorcycle hero
bebebebebebebe he's a-screamin' the truth
America America is killin' its youth

Bebebebebebebe he's a-screamin' away
America America is killin' its youth
America America is killin' its youth
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider