This song, the first track on The Church's album Magician Among The Spirits, is basically a list of names. These are people who Steve Kilbey considers to be "ridiculous". This doesn't mean he dislikes them - they're just weird/offbeat/strange/odd, in short, they're ridiculous in some way. BTW This info came from Bruce Butler, who was the band's manager at the time this album was released.
I've picked out the names as best I can, and thanks to the collective ear'oles of the Seance mailing list members it's now a lot closer to being right.
- Tony Curtis Actor
- Donna Stone - Henny supplied me with the following information:
Hi Brian, I'm a seance lurkerer, and I believe Steve may be talking
about Donna Reed, 1950's actress on the show "The Donna Reed Show" where
she played Donna Stone. It could be.... The show is ridiculous in that
it was a completely white bread, fairy-tale family show that was so
popular back then. I don't know if Steve's seen it, but with Stefanie
Powers on the list (!) I don't think Donna Stone is that much of a
stretch. Just letting you in on my tv knowledge, -henny
- Harry Houdini Escape artist and debunker of psychics and mystics.
- Al Capone American gangster. Was Public Enemy #1 on the FBI's list
- Scipio Africanus Roman hero during the Third Punic Wars. 184 BC - 129 BC.
- Leon Redbone - Folk and blues singer
- Harold Flowers - David Lewis says "I canít recall the exact details but I remember that Harold Flowers received some notoriety about the time that Magician Among the Spirits was released. He was involved in some criminal activity in the US (homicide; sex offender; con man Ė I canít remember which) and was on the run. I think he is Australian. The link from Benton County Sheriffís Office has precious little detail, but it might give you some clues. Anyway, Iím pretty sure that heís your man."
- - Krishna Govinda - Steven Simmonds tells me this is probably the name Steve is speaking. Find the section titled "Vedic" in this link. You can hear some Real Audio (devotional songs) on http://www.w2.com/docs2/t/ram.html
- Snow White - The actress who lent her voice to the animated character in the 1937 film continued her whole life "in character". She lived as Snow White and also made public appearances.
- ? De Cassi - Couldn't hear this properly
- Sheri Hite - Author of many books on sexuality.
- Sir Francis Drake - Sailed around the world in 1577 - 1580
- Stefanie Powers - Actress whose most notable roles include Hart To Hart and the Man From U.N.C.L.E
- Ponce de Leon - Explorer in the early 16th century.
- Roger Moore Actor who played James Bond and The Saint
- Richard Egan Actor, now deceased.
- Joan Crawford - Actress
- Henry the 7th King of England
- Bernard Shaw - Playwright
- Gavin McKilllop - Producer of the Priest=Aura album !
- Walter de la Mare - Poet
- Nick Ward - the Church's first drummer. Left the band after Of Skins And Heart
- Johnny Thunders - Punk musician. Lead guitar of the New York Dolls, fronted The Heartbreaks and had a lengthy solo career.
- Betty Ford Former First Lady and co-founder of the Betty Ford Center.
- Lord Jim - The title character of the novel by Joseph Conrad. Peter O'Toole played Lord Jim in the movie version.
- Jack Lord - Best known for his role in Hawaii-Five 0. Also had a fear of rattlesnakes
- Prince Phillip - Husband of Queen Elizabeth of England....duh !
- Brian Wilson Member of the Beach Boys
- William Tell - Swiss folk hero. Reputed to have shot an arrow through an apple perched on his young son's head.
- Harry Belafonte Actor and musician
- Alexander Bell Inventor of the telephone
- Archangel Gabriel - Announced the birth of Jesus to Mary and also presented the Kaaba to Abraham, which is now preserved in Mecca.
- Richard Hell An "original punk". One of the founders of the band Television (though he quite before the first album was recorded) along with....
- Tom Miller - ...the other founding member of Television. This is actually Tom Verlaine's original name
- Madame Blavatsky - Helena Blavatsky was an occultist, theosophist and adventurer in the 19th century. Daniel Hindes adds that "Many of her ideas have resurfaced in various New Age movements, as well as occasional Steve Kilbey lyrics (and the liner notes to the first Hex album)."
- Madame Lash Sydney identity whose original name is Gretel Pinniger.
- Johnny Halliday - I'm not sure if I've found the right guy here, but he seems to be a French songwriter.
- Johnny Cash Country and Western singer
- D.T Reuter - Not sure about this one either. Perhaps the person who founded the Reuters new agency ?
- Ogden Nash - Poet
- Magilla Gorilla - Hanna Barbera cartoon character
- Trevor Johnstone - Steve is referring is the man who does the lighting at all Church gigs. He's a nice guy and very easy to talk to - he also did some of the backing vocals on this song.
- Tiny Tim "Unique" singer known for his colourful appearance.
- Milli Vanilli Lip-synching duo who lost their Grammy when it was discovered they had not sung on their album.
- Root Boy Slim - Couldn't find much apart from the name of his band...Root Boy Slim and the Sex-Change Band with The Rootettes.
- Tony Hancock - Much loved British comedian. Died by his own hand in 1968.
- Andy King / Kim ? - Some people have suggested that this name is "Andy Kim" who was, as Steven Simmonds describes, the voice behind the Archies (Sugar Sugar), and had songs in the mid 70s such as Rock Me Gently. Trevor Ashfield adds that "Andy Kim tried a comeback in the eighties, in Canada, at least, with a new hit song under the name "Baron Longfellow" (I am not making this up). Can't remember the song though.
- Wendy Fuller - Bruce Butler tells me she was the most beautiful girl at Steve's school in Dapto. Must be a teenage angst thing :-)
- Ida Lupino - Actress
- Joyce Bell - Steve's mother's maiden name
- Melvyn Basten - Oh dear...
- Mack Sennet - The man who introduced Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Kops to the movie world.
- Lucy Jordan A song by Marianne Faithfull of the Broken English album
- Jeff Kennett - The Premier of Victoria, an Australian state, at the time MATS was released.
- Alan Muller - An artist who painted the cover of Steve's Remindlessness album.
That's the lot. The next step is, I suppose, finding out just why these people are ridiculous in Steve's eyes. Sly The Shadow reckons...
I can only find one thing that all the persons seem to have in common. Each one of them either portrayed, created or were personally involved in some from of escapism. To be more specific, the escape of death. This would tie into the seance style choirs refine throughout the song. I think SK finds it absurd to compromise ones belief's due to the fear of death. Or more over, to have the preoccupation of devoting large amounts of time and energy in the hopes of avoiding the unavoidable.
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