Genghiz Khan meets modern music

By Gordon Rugg

Regular readers of this blog will know that my tastes include an occasional penchant for dark humour. In that spirit, today’s article is about Genghiz Khan in popular Western culture.

For some reason, he inspired not only a film so bad that it’s now a much-cherished classic (until you’ve seen John Wayne playing Genghiz Khan, you haven’t savoured the true depths of bad movies) but also a song which is legendary for its kitschiness even by Eurovision standards. That song is the topic of this article, though I’ve detoured slightly into a mention of Barbara Cartland towards the end. If you wish to read more, you know what sort of unhallowed ground you will be entering…

bannerSources for the original images are given at the end of this article

So, here are the links. First, the Eurovision classic: The West German Eurovision Song Contest entry for 1979.

If that isn’t enough to satisfy your taste for eldritch rhythmns that the human ear was never intended to experience, you can try the link below to Japanese girl band Berryz-Kobo’s cover of the same song. It’s quite memorable, though not necessarily in a sense that you might like.

Finally, as the closing experience, here’s Bauhaus performing their classic Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Unlike the two previous tracks, this is a classic for all the right reasons. It’s great music in its own right. It’s also the opening track to The Hunger, a brilliant,classic vampire movie that includes stunning performances by Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. So why is it included here?

This version comes with the lyrics. If you want to push dark sensations to the limit, you might like to know that you can substitute “Barbara Cartland” for “Bela Lugosi” throughout, without interfering with the scansion, and you can also substitute “pink” for all of the colours in the lyrics while still maintaining the scansion. That’s what real horror is all about…

There’s no need to thank me for this; sometimes virtue is its own reward.

Or something like that.

Banner image credits:

“Bela Lugosi as Dracula, anonymous photograph from 1931, Universal Studios” by unknown – Universal Studios. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –,_anonymous_photograph_from_1931,_Universal_Studios.jpg#/media/File:Bela_Lugosi_as_Dracula,_anonymous_photograph_from_1931,_Universal_Studios.jpg

“Dame Barbara Cartland Allan Warren” by Allan warren – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –





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