A to Z: B is for…

It’s gotta be William S. Burroughs as my letter “B” artist even if he’s more an author than singer or something else? Earlier this year I did post up some of his paintings/artworks, linked here. So he did more than just write books in his lifetime, he was born on February 5, 1914 and died August 2, 1997 aged 83. Today I think, I’m going to just embedded some of my fave cameo appears of Burroughs in music. Below is ten, some more well known than others before getting to my “B” songs here are Burroughs co-starring in music, one way or another:

Jolie HollandOld Fashion Morphine (2004) is a song based on the Traditional song Old Fashion Religion but Holland updated it to drug use which Billy Burroughs is name dropped here along with Isabelle Eberhardt and Holland’s own grandpa:

Frank ZappaTalking Asshole (Live) (1978) from Naked Lunch novel is just a live reading by Zappa without his guitar but is most likely the most famous muso doing that and from quite possibly his most well-known novel:

Laurie Anderson – Sharkey’s Night (1984) is the closing track on her second album entitled Mister Heartbreak which also did included Sharkey’s Day which was the lead single of the album:

MinistryJust One Fix (1992) co-starring in the video clip plus sampled some of his readings in the song itself. Is the second song on Psalm 69 their fifth studio album and was the third single. Also has samples from Sid and Nancy (1986) movie along with Frank Sinatra from the movie The Man with the Golden Arm (1955):

MinistryQuick Fix (1993) was an four minute remix of the song on the b-side but really is a totally different song with way more spoken word by Burroughs, not really at all about drugs but were the “Bring it all down” quote sample came from. He got a co-songwriting credit also the single artwork was a painting by William too:

Tom WaitsTain’t No Sin (1993) from The Black Rider album which was originally one  of Waits written for theater works. The studio album somewhat re-jig the songs and includes Burroughs on lead vocals with cover song originally by Cotton And Morpheus but jazz singer called Lee Morse made it more well-known in the 1930’s, the song has written by Walter Donaldson & Edgar Leslie:

R.E.M.Star Me Kitten (1996) another cover and the story goes the band themselves were asked by X-Files to re-record the song much slower than the album version of 1992 album Automatic for the People minus singer Michael Stipe vocal and the band even put forward the name of Patti Smith to sing it. It was always intended for Burroughs to do it, REM didn’t find out until after the comp album was released which some members of the were surprised/shocked by it at the time but all party’s liked it in the end, I think?

U2Last Night On Earth (1997) would be Burroughs last time on camera before his death at age 83. The promo video clip did close down huge highways and main roads from days on end plus the location was very close to where William lived at the time. He only as a very small role at the very end of the song but I have read he was supposed to have had a much biggest part all the way though it but it had be tone down because Burroughs was not well at the time. Was the third single from U2 1997 ninth studio album entitled Pop:

 The Disposable Heroes of HiphoprisyWords Of Advice For Young People (1993) is the closing track from the album Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales produced by Hal Willner which I did name this album as one of my all-time faves, linked here but here’s my fave song from that album:

 Kurt CobainThe “Priest” They Called Him (1993) finishing with his most famous collaboration. Kurt’s guitar feedback backing is loosely based on both Silent Night and To Anacreon in Heaven. An earlier recording of a very simpler story entitled The Junky’s Christmas appeared the very same year on the album just above, you know? This story was first published in Exterminator! A short story collection print in 1973:

OK, now is my kind-of top six letter “B” songs:

Babooshka by Kate Bush (1980) from her album Never for Ever would be a female antidote to all the blokes above and below in this post, I’m a male and anything but this might be a little over the top one-sided? Funny this cut is about a wife’s desire to test her husband’s loyalty:

Battlesick by The Mark Of Cain (1989) I must have blogged this song somewhere before but I can’t remember where? It would also be easy be one my all-time track from late 80’s. They’re Aussie band from Adelaide, South Australia and this the title track from their debut album:

Blue Flowers by Dr. Octagon (1996) so I was banging-on about Kool Kieth the other day at the start of the month and this is the very same rapper under a different name/moniker and from the album entitled Dr. Octagonecologyst which was his debut album and as you can see this was the song they made promo video for:

Bitcher by The Dead C (1995) I did named their album The White House as one of my all-time fave albums years ago, linked here but If you wanna know this cut would my fave song from it. If you never heard, most people on earth haven’t, they’re from Dunedin, New Zealand form in the 80’s and this track is from their fifth album:

Blood Embrace by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Matt Sweeney (2005) is almost an eight long song from Superwolf a collaborative studio album by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy writing lyrics and singing them and then Matt Sweeney writing the music to go with them. This one is the second last song on that album and was tenth album by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, if you do count everything he done under every different name/moniker? His real name is William Oldham and born in Louisville, Kentucky:

Burning Too by Fugazi (1989) can be found on 13 Songs which really is a comp album of their first two EP’s, a self-titled one from 1988 and Margin Walker of 1989. This is track number ten on 13 Songs album. They were a Washington, D.C. act that been on an indefinite hiatus since 2003:

Letter “B” couple of fave books would be:

Bolivian Diary by Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1968) or could just be sub-titled how to get yourself assassination by the U.S.A. army/government in a jungle in the middle of nowhere.

The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat (1935) is a total masterpiece/cult classic which more people should read, who knows maybe someone will check it after seeing/looking at this?

Letter “B” films top three:

  1. Black Cat White Cat (1998) Director: Emir Kusturica, Stars: Bajram Severdzan, Srdjan ‘Zika’ Todorovic, Branka Katic.
  2. Blue Velvet (1986) Director: David Lynch, Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper.
  3. Brazil (1985) Director: Terry Gilliam, Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro.

Just have say letter “B” fave TV show has to be Breaking Bad (2008-13) while at all this. Sorry, but just naming movies/TV show without detailing or explaining because this post, if you haven’t notices is really bloody long!

william burroughs
Later years WSB with his cat Ginger in the backyard of his home in Lawrence, Kansas sometime in the 90’s!

Wanna share your “B” artist/songs/books/movie/TV shows? Or the letter “B” could be for blogging your own A to Z, pretty please?

Cheers 🙂




    1. Well, actually that’s Allen Ginsberg which is another beat poet from around the same scene but i couldn’t included everything so i stopped at ten! maybe should have just keep going? Another one i should have is called “Nothing Here Now But The Recordings” which i love so much but it’s more WSB messing about with a tape deck etc.
      Cheers JP 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. You’re right. I can’t believe I got that mixed up. Ginsberg does sound pretty rough on that recording, though, so maybe I can forgive myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll say don’t worry about dude! Most peeps don’t seem to know the differences at all! Did i ever tell you about about my old ex-gf who pretty much though Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs as the very same person! At less you know and can’t believed you mixed them up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s hilarious. I’m definitely aware there is a difference. I’ve read On the road and Big Sur and can differentiate them from Naked lunch and Howl. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, that’s cool but i couldn’t have everything but maybe i should have? just made it really very long post! i also love “Nothing Here Now But The Recordings” but some don’t even call that music at all!
      Cheers Tony yet again and again 🙂


  1. Man what a load of of good stuff in this take. Can’t comment on it all (I guess I could) but Frank doing the reading is perfect.
    I have always liked talk jazz and William was born to do it. Plus he would have been perfect in both Brazil and Blue Velvet. I will have to check out the “Cat” flick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, that would have been a great bit of casting! WSB did make cameos in Drugstore Cowboy and Twister indie movies, both of 1989 but that’s about as far as i remember! i hope you enjoy the cat movie?
      Cheers CB 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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