When Michael Hutchence and I first met in 1983, he asked me if I had seen the 1979 Australian film Mad Max. Since I had not seen the film, he told me about it and those who worked on the film. One such person was the films composer, Australian Brian May.
It would be a short time later we were working on songs for my newly named band Queen. I gave Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) his stage name, which came from the label “Mercury Records” who Def Leppard released their 1983 album Pyromania under in the USA.
It was shortly after someone told me Freddie (Farrokh) was coming to meet me and I made up the creepy nursery rhyme “One two Freddy’s coming for you…” used in my 1984 horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.
During this time I also gave another member of Queen their stage name, this would be British guitarist Brian May.
Many years later I would give a country singer his stage name also from an actor who appeared in the 1979 film Mad Max. This person was Vince Gil for Australian actor Vincent Gil who portrayed “Nightrider” and inspired the name of my American television show Knight Rider.
In 1991, the Australian composer Brian May worked on the score for what was to be the last film in my Freddy film series.
The Freddy film series was named for Elm Street where former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
The Australian lead singer of INXS chose November 22nd as the day in 1997 to leave the public life.
The title to the film “Mad Max” was instrumental in me giving Michael Hutchence the nickname “Max” and in him naming his solo project “Max Q”.
Of course, Johnny Depp had a role in my 1984 horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.
After the May 15, 1983 Def Leppard concert at Boutwell Auditorium, I soon met members of the band Krokus who opened that night. It was while learning about how the band chose the name, that I discovered one of the founding members was a trained chef.
Somehow most conversations turned to “food” with different band members who hailed from all over the world. With Michael Hutchence and Tim Farris of INXS, I learned about the ever popular Vegemite. Soon after I made up a song about it. This song was “Down Under” recorded by the Australian group “Men at Work“.
While working on songs to be recorded by Prince, I made up another song with a reference to food after I made up the song “Darling Nikki”. This same day, sitting across from Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue, I made up the song “U Got The Look”.
Kurt Cobain thought it would be funny for me to make up a song about one of my mother’s favorite recipes for Pound Cake. The song would be recorded by one of my favorite bands, Van Halen.
One of their favorite topics were old films and television shows, most of which had ties to the James Bond film producer Albert R. Broccoli and his friendship with multi-millionaire Howard Hughes.
One such film was the 1954 film The Barefoot Contessa which not only starred one of Hughes former flames, Ava Gardner, but also Bessie Love who played small roles in the James Bond thriller On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). The latter of which became the title to my song about the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama called “Bloody Sunday” recorded by the Irish band U2. Chris Blackwell of Island Records, who’s mother had an affair with the James Bond author, takes much credit for the band’s success.
I was not only given the opportunity to come up with the idea for the “Food Network” but also in the format. It was during this time I gave a chef the moniker “The Barefoot Contessa”.
Her stage name of “Ina Garten” was derived by me from the 1968 Iron Butterfly song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida“.
You may have read in previous posts about Chris Blackwell of Island Records, who proclaimed me his enemy when I was a teen after refusing to keep quiet about being raped by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.
You may have also read how Chris’ mother had an affair with the James Bond author Ian Fleming, and why I would often use films Hoagy Carmichael appeared in as inspiration, since Fleming wanted his Bond character to resemble Hoagy and himself.
I continued to use Hoagy’s films when I made up the song “Night Songs” recorded by the band I named Cinderella. The title inspired by the 1948 film “Night Song” about a blind nightclub pianist turned composer portrayed by actor Dana Andrews. The song would be released on Def Leppard’s labels Mercury Records in America and Vertigo Records in Europe.
In the lyrics I mention “16” repeatedly, which was my age in 1984 when I made up the song. The lyrics of “Rocket” repeatedly was for my pee-wee football team I cheered for in 1978-79 and lead to me making up the song “Rocket” recorded by Def Leppard.
With a divorce looming…who was siphoning off money?
A brief history of Kurt and Courtney:
1. Claimed they met on my birthday (Jan 12)
2. Courtney used my grandparent’s wedding anniversary as her birthday (Jul 9)
3. Kurt faked a suicide attempt in Rome on my mother’s birthday (Mar 4)
4. They used my grandmother Stark’s birthday as their wedding anniversary (Feb 24)
5. Since I grew up in Trussville, Alabama, Kurt used Leeds, Alabama native Charles Barkley’s birthday as his public birthday (Feb 20) and then asked Barkley to appear on SNL with Nirvana.
In October of 1983, President Reagan ordered the United States and the Regional Security System (RSS) based in Barbados to invade Grenada in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury.
Though it is only reported the invasion was highly criticised by Britain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada, the Queen of England was mad at President Reagan for not asking her permission.
It was during this time I made up the song Urgent recorded by Foreigner on the Robert John “Mutt” Lange produced album I named “4 “. During this time I also gave the artist the stage name Thomas Dolby who can be heard on “Urgent”, along with a saxophone solo by Motown great Junior Walker.
Many years later, we started working on ideas for the Iron Man film series and working on ideas for “The Avengers” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”.
“The Avengers” takes it name for the original 1960’s British television show “The Avengers” which starred Patrick MacNee, Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman. Both Honor and Diana were to become Bond girls in film adaptions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.
The first appearance of the character I named Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D was the 1998 FOX film starring David Hasselhoff who starred in my television show Knight Rider. The character Agent Fury taking its name for “Operation Urgent Fury“. I also chose Samuel L. Jackson to portray Fury for the Iron Man films.
James Bond had the terrorist organization SPECTRA and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have their terrorist organization I named HYDRA. James Bond had his “Vesper” and HYDRA would have their “Viper”.
My heart and prayers go out to Bob Geldof today.
One of the last television show ideas I came up with was “Hart of Dixie” for The CW. The name is for the nickname of my home state of Alabama with the spelling of “Hart” for the 80’s television show “Hart to Hart”. The Aaron Spelling produced “Hart to Hart” starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. Spelling went on to produce my television shows Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed.
I decided to name the town “Blue Bell” for my husband’s favorite brand of ice cream. The name of the “Butter Stick” café was inspired by The Food Network’s chef Paula Deen who starred in Paula’s Home Cooking and premiered in November 2002.
I chose the name Zoe, portrayed by Rachel Bilson, for my lead character named for the adorable actress Zooey Deschanel. In 1999, Zooey made her debut in the film Mumford. During the time I named the character I also decided to name the English folk group “Mumford & Sons”.
Zoey’s breakout role was as Anita Miller in Cameron Crowe‘s 2000 film Almost Famous. This too was to draw a connection to my former work attributed to Cameron Crowe which began with Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
My work on Harry Potter was coming to an end and I had come up with the password “Sherbert Lemon”. This lead to me naming a character “Lemon” portrayed by Jaime King.
The surname of “Breeland” came from J. R. R. Tolkien‘s fictional village Bree in Middle-earth with Bree-land being the chief village. This was to tie into coming up with the idea to do an adaption of Tolkien’s work and attributed to Peter Jackson.
When I came up with the idea to do the adaption of Tolkien’s work, it was decided to say Peter Jackson owned one of the cars used in the film adaption of Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, which Michael Jackson once tried to purchase for Neverland.
The character nickname of “Brick” Breeland, portrayed by Tim Matheson, came from Tennessee William’s character Brick Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Of note, Elvis Presley rejected portraying “Brick” in the film version.
Most entertainers sign an NDA, a non-disclosure agreement, where they cannot give out “trade secrets”. This also happens in the computer industry. Well, I am one of those “trade secrets”.
Not being a signed artist myself, despite being forced to sign documents against my will over the years, I am not bound by any agreement with any label or studio. This is why I can speak or write about what happened to me and the work I either collaborated on or song I made up recorded by artists who are under contract.
Despite claims the film Alien came out in 1979, ideas for the film came from the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy where the octopus attaches itself to the face of one of the bad guys.
I named the lead character “Ripley” portrayed by Sigourney Weaver for “Ripley’s Believe it or Not”.
Many years later the actor Dean Cain who portrayed Superman in my television series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” went on to host the television show Ripley’s Believe It or Not! from 1999 to 2003.
Pinewood Studios in London being home of the James Bond and Superman film series.
Years later, Ridley Scott, who directed Alien also would direct the film Prometheus (2012), and a continuation of the Alien series. This was actress Charlize Theron‘s idea and I was allowed to name the film for the subtitle of Mary Shelley‘s 1818 novel Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus.
Shelley’s Frankenstein had been inspiration for many works over the years and includes the film “Weird Science” after I made up the theme song. In 1990, Michael Hutchence would portray Percy Bysshe Shelley in Frankenstein Unbound.
“I raise my flags, don my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’ll paint it red to fit right in” – Radioactive recorded by Imagine Dragons
The artist Prince came to see me after I wrote the songs for his 1999 album which includes the song “Little RED Corvette”. It was during this time I was working on the English language version of Les Misérables based on the novel by Victor Hugo and takes place during the French Revolution. Prince and I discussed the songs I had written and of my other work. He asked me to name his band and I named them “The Revolution“.
They asked me to come up with ideas for the poster to be used for the musical. The portrait of “Cosette” by Emile Bayard, from the original edition of Les Misérables (1862) was a favorite image of mine and I verbally relayed my ideas for the poster, adding a touch of “red” painted in her hair with the flag behind her.
Bono of U2 would use the imagery of the French Revolutionary War as an idea for his stage show. This included while performing “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, which I wrote and released on their “War” album. This featured a routine where he would set a white flag in the front of the stage. Bono went on to name Product Red in my honor.
Many years later I would write the song “Radioactive” recorded by the group I named Imagine Dragons with lyrics that alludes to my past work.
The band takes it name for my book to film “Red Dragon” inspired by the Red Dragon Gang of Macau mentioned in Ian Fleming’s James Bond book to film Thunderball (1965) starring Sean Connery. I would later work on script ideas for the 1996 film Dragonheart which Sean voiced the dragon Draco. The character name of “Draco” for the James Bond character Tracy Draco would appear again in my work on Harry Potter.
In 1993, it was reported Sean Connery was undergoing radiation treatment for a throat ailment which inspired the song.