The Rich Girls Are Weeping

14 April 2006

Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication. Well, I totally screwed up. I had this grand plan for the best darn Jesus Christ Superstar post ever -- but I can't find the lynchpin of my thesis, Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection CD. That would be the recording starring, among others, Indigo Girls Amy Ray (as Jesus) and Emily Saliers (as Mary Magdalene), the always-fabulous Kelly Hogan as Simon Zealotes, the late, great Benjamin as Caiaphas (his gravelly, ripped up voice was perfect for the surly high priest role), and other assorted figures of the Athens/Cabbagetown scene in the mid-90's. (I saw the one and only live performance that was put on with this casting, at SXSW in [OMG!] 1995.) Anyway, I looked everywhere for this CD in my apartment for days, and I'm a bit disturbed that I can't find it. Perhaps it will turn up this weekend.

Anyway, I was also going to post a few tracks from the original 1971 concept album, but for some reason, the files I ported from home don't include the all-important overture, which I really, really wanted to post; on its own, out of context, the overture is a fantastic piece of proggy, chuggy instrumental rock music whose tendrils of influence are far greater than you'd expect.

A little background on Jesus Christ Superstar: Yes, it was composed by the, depending on your point of view, genius/hack Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Tim Rice (who, after the dissolution of his artistic partnership with Lloyd Weber, penned the rock opera Chess with ABBA's Benny and Bjorn; I'm sure I'll post about that someday as well) and covers the events from Palm Sunday to Good Friday, leaving out all the Easter activities. The massive success of a concept album recording in 1971 featuring Deep Purple frontman (and briefly, Black Sabbath's -- from 1982-1984) Ian Gillan as Jesus, Murray Head (who would later make Chess' "One Night In Bangkok" a hit in the early 80's) as Judas, and disco diva Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene (as well as a then-unknown Gary Glitter and Manfred Mann's Michael D'Abo) led to a rather badly-received Broadway production in 1971 (the 1972 production mounted in London's West End fared better) and a film version (directed by Norman Jewison) in 1973.

Just a look at the extensive listing of productions and tours and revivals in the Superstar wikipedia entry is a testament to the enduring appeal of this work -- and I'm never surprised to meet people who harbor a secret love for that brown-covered double album they inevitably discovered in their parents' or older siblings' record collections. What's not to love -- Jesus is kind of a goober, Judas gets all the good songs, Mary Magdalene is totally torn in her love for Jesus, the apostles are drunk hangers-on -- well-intentioned, but drunk hangers-on nonetheless, Herod is a lush with slave girls, Pilate actually feels bad about putting Christ to death. In other words, it's all much more interesting than the dusty gospel stories -- and yeah, the score rocks; the lyrics are clever (though, I once heard Tim Rice give a lecture in which he revealed that the original lyrics to "I Don't Know How To Love Him" were "I love a Kansas morning/Kansas mist at my window..." until the tune migrated into the show -- thank goodness) and there's not a lick of proselytizing.

Included here is the opening number, "Heaven on Their Minds," that introduces Jesus and Judas' relationship; Mary Magdalene's plaintive ballad "I Don't Know How To Love Him," and the carnivalesque "King Herod's Song." And of course, if I get a hold of the overture, I'll put it up posthaste.

Jesus Christ Superstar -- Heaven On Their Minds
Jesus Christ Superstar -- I Don't Know How To Love Him
Jesus Christ Superstar -- King Herod's Song

Plus, here's a few bonus tracks, because I'm amusing like that.

From the utterly brilliant Sugar EP, Beaster:

Sugar -- Judas Cradle
Sugar -- JC Auto

From Peter Gabriel's Passion, the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's still-controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ:

Peter Gabriel -- A Different Drum
Peter Gabriel -- Passion

Have a good weekend, don't eat too much candy. Or rather, eat as much candy as possible. You have my blessing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this is what I like to read about! That 90s Athens, GA version is lost from my collection as well, and sometimes I pine for it myself. The intro really was awesome; the rest of it, ehhhh... Wasn't Kelly Hogan on it somewhere? JC till the end, biotches.

Friday, April 14, 2006 7:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people who harbor a secret love for that brown-covered double album they inevitably discovered in their parents' or older siblings' record collections

Exactly! I distinctly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, listening to this record and trying to make sense of it in the context of what little I knew about rock 'n' roll and Jesus music.

Friday, April 14, 2006 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger carolyn rhea drapes aka chacal said...

of course, i can't proofread anything. here's another go at it...

as one who experienced a local production, whose venue was an old gothic church on montana street during the 1970's (which was under the direction of a great woman who went on to help establish el paso opera company); it warms the cockles of my heart to see the continuing love for the brown double album.

in their hearts, who can't feel the overarching tug-of-war between yin/yang archetypes--nietzsche’s "last man" in judas', performed with exquisite angst by murray head; battling against the will-to-power übermensch of jesus, portrayed by deep purple's ian gillian.

and for pure school girl crush material, what could be better than yvonne elliman's i don't know how to love him. of course we all had an extra copy of that one in the form of a scratched 45. oh, where can that be now?

no other cast is as perfect as the OST, double brown. true inspiration then, it still provides that now.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 1:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading all these stories of missing 'Resurrected' discs, I hurried to see if mine was still there. I was safe and sound. If you want me to supply you with a copy, you know where to reach me.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger carolyn rhea drapes aka chacal said...

i still have the scans from the signed liner notes/poster too.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 2:30:00 AM  
Blogger d said...

as much as I love jcs, I am still totally freaked out by the overture. when I was child one of my cousins was in a local church production (!) in chile (!!) & she'd make her babysitting charges (me & my cousin) watch her rehearse. I remember thinking that the music in the overture was going to make the carved wooden jesus statue on her wall come to life & kill us, zombie style. ah, the catholic childhood.

ps the afghan whigs have a cover of the temple on one of their records...can't remember which though.

Monday, April 17, 2006 1:55:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

I love love love that you included the Sugar here.

Monday, April 17, 2006 4:23:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

 View My Public Stats on