Tuesday, November 27, 2007


As promised in the last posting on Hitchcock-related records, here are three (count 'em, three!) completely different records, all called Psycho.

Of course, not one of them has anything at all to do with the Hitchcock movie...but the term "psycho" became such a common figure of speech that it was only a matter of time before a song or two would show up with that word as a title. As it turns out, there were three (and I'm not counting songs like Psycho Killer or Psychotic Reaction)..

The first Psycho is by Bobby Hendricks, who had a big hit in 1958 with Itchy Twitchy Feeling (he's also on The Drifters' side Drip Drop). Here Hendricks is being psychoanalyzed by WWRL (New York) disc jockey Dr. Jive (Tommy Smalls). This 1960 single hit the market when the movie was new in theatres, and made it to #73 on the charts. It's definitely one of the oddest Top 100 cuts ever...and one must wonder whether Hendricks's demented babbling might have been an influence on Shirley Ellis, who had a monster hit with The Name Game in 1964.

Psycho Bobby Hendricks Sue 732

The second Psycho is a cute novelty record by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns. Smith had a number of good-selling records from 1956 to 1959 for the Ace label (Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu, Don't You Just Know It, Don't You Know Yockomo, etc.), but Smith got ticked off by Ace owner Johnny Vincent's tampering with their recording of Sea Cruise (the original vocal was wiped off and Frankie Ford's was spliced in), so he left Ace and went to Imperial, where fellow New Orleanians Fats Domino and Smiley Lewis were doing pretty well. And Imperial was also distributing Minit records, where Allen Toussaint-produced records by Jessie Hill and Ernie K-Doe were also selling quite well too.

All should have been rosy for Smith, but it wasn't to be. Imperial had their money behind Domino and Ricky Nelson, and these delightfully catchy, but fairly lightweight records didn't sell at all. They were great sides, indeed, but a fatter, funkier sound was beginning to come out of the Crescent City and these sides sank without a trace.

Smith's 1961 Psycho, with Gerri Hall's bubbly vocal and humorous lyrics, actually remained unissued for quite a few years...I have it on a mid-1980s Pathe Marconi/EMI LP.

Psycho Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns Imperial unissued (EMI LP)

The first two records were amusing.

The next one is scary.

Leon Payne, San Antonio songwriter (They'll Never Take Her Love From Me and Lost Highway among others) wrote Psycho between 1966 and 1968...I've heard that it was inspired by Charles Whitman's sniping attack at the University of Texas in 1966, but I've also heard that he wrote it after watching Psycho in 1968 (actually, he had to have someone describe certain scenes for him. He was blind). In any case, his version, if there ever was one, seems to remain unissued. Maybe there's a demo tape out there.

Eddie Noack apparently was the first to record the song in 1968, for the K-ARK label. And the song's been covered by Jack Kittel, Elvis Costello, and several others. I think this is the most chilling version.

Psycho Eddie Noack K-ARK 45 (unknown number, got as a download)http://www.box.net/shared/hpzlzma5o5

Oh...in the final scenes of the Hitchcock movie, didja ever notice how Norman's mother's mummified face is superimposed over his own as the camera dissolves to the car being pulled out of the pond? It's so subtle...almost unnoticeable...unless you're looking for it.


That'll do it for now. I think I'll take a shower bath.


Anonymous said...

The K-Ark # for Noack's "PSYCHO" was 843. B side was "INVISIBLE STRIPES"

ZorchMan said...

Thanks for the info, Anonymous!

I'm amazed that people are still downloading this...I posted it a year and a half ago!

It's still a chilling side...

Anonymous said...

I have a handful of Eddie Noack singles in our jukebox, and the singles came from Eddie Noack's own collection!