It was during the summer of 1983 I was introduced to the 1960′s British television show The Avengers. Early episodes of the television show starred Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg, both of which would go on to become Bond girls in the film adaptions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
I was told much about the television series, including the title of the February 24, 1963 episode titled “Man in the Mirror” (seen left). This particular episode starred the Australian actor Ray Barrett. Barrett’s last appearance would be in the 2008 film Australia which starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman before his death in 2009.
After I wrote the song Man in the Mirror, eventually recorded by Michael Jackson and released in 1988, the title “Man in the Mirror” was researched. This is when it was discovered there had been a 1936 British film by the same title.
In the British film, actress Renee Gadd portrayed Miss Blake. In 1921, Gadd appeared in the British comedy Money for Nothing which would become the title of another song I wrote then recorded by Dire Straits released in 1985.
The actress Viola Compton portrayed Mrs. Massiter. In 1933, Compton appeared in the British comedy The Medicine Man. Not only did I use this as part of a song, Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man recorded by Aerosmith, but it also became the title to 1992 film starring Lorraine Bracco and Sean Connery, known for his role as Ian Fleming’s James Bond. I worked on a few ideas for the script with Lorraine and it was her idea for Sean to be her co-star.
It was during these early days of songwriting that I decided to name an artist “Madonna” for The Beatle’s song “Lady Madonna”. During this time, I also met Steve Wozniak who let me name his new company “Apple” for The Beatle’s label established the year I was born (1968). This is when the computer was named “Macintosh” and launched January 24, 1984.
After writing “Thriller” recorded by Michael Jackson which was inspired by the title to horror master Boris Karloff’s 1960 television show, I asked that horror master Vincent Price voice the spoken words for the song.
I was introduced to many of Price’s films after this and includes the 1943 film The Song of Bernadette. The film was based on the novel by the Austrian-Bohemian Franz Werfel who went to France after Austria‘s annexation into Nazi Germany in 1938. While in France, Werfel heard about the story of Bernadette Soubirous’s visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and made a visit to the shrine of the Our Lady of Lourdes at Lourdes.
I loved the story about Bernadette and having given the artist the stage name “Madonna”, I decided to use the name “Lourdes” for an artist. Instead, Madonna decided to say she had a daughter by the name ”Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon” (1996). The name of “Leon” I had already decided to use for a group, Kings of Leon, I started writing songs they would record and would be launched in 1999.
In early 2000, I made up the song “Royals” and when asked what I wanted to name the artist I said “Lourdes”. Instead the spelling was changed and the stage name Lorde was used for the New Zealand recording artist for the song launched in 2013.
By the time I wrote the song Royals, the Royal family had been in my life for many years and Princess Diana after splitting from Prince Charles died in a horrific accident. I also had already worked on ideas and named the television show “Royal Pains” and named the characters.
There is a 1955 film titled “Queen Bee” which starred Joan Crawford who portrays a domineering Southern woman from my mother’s home state of Georgia. But, my use of “Queen Bee” in the lyrics is a reference to Joe Elliott and Kurt Cobain giving me the nickname “Bee Girl” after I gave the artist “Sting” his stage name and Queen for me naming the band for the Queen of England who entered my life in 1983.
There is a connection to Vincent Price, the film “Queen Bee”, and even to Roger Moore who was known for portraying Simon Templar and James Bond. The American actor Barry Sullivan who appeared in Queen Bee, replaced Price in the role of Leslie Charteris‘ Simon Templar on the NBC Radio show The Saint.
The actor John Ireland also appeared in the film “Queen Bee” and the same year appeared in Roger Corman‘s The Fast and the Furious which we borrowed the title for the film series which began in 2001. Corman would also make appearances in films I worked on script ideas and includes The Silence of the Lambs.