Released in 1979 if ever the phrase “timeless” is apt for a record it is so here. Sounding like it could have been recorded yesterday or at any point in the last 40 years Bela Lugosi’s Dead is the most unique of tracks.
Somehow the record manages to sound like the sleeve (artwork). Spooky rimshots on the drums paint a gothic image aurally intially. This is added to by a low, slow bass. Scraping, slow guitar licks pick away at the core sound. Gently but somehow threateningly it picks up. Bela Lugosi’s Dead dictates its own pace – it sets its own rules. At over 9 minutes long this is a world, no make that universe away from Rod Stewart – Do You Think I’m Sexy that typified the commercial sound of 1979. Incredible to think the 2 records are from the same year.
When the vocal finally enters it does not disappoint. A total blueprint for Goth and latterly Emo and a league above all those genres offer. The vocal is too genuinely spooky. Assured, boomy, sometimes hush, the vocal fits the tone of the music superbly.
Sounding like an experimental art project that hits the jackpot how Bauhaus summoned the sound in this track is a total headscratcher. A track they never could better although some may disagree.
Flip the record over and you practically have Amphetamine Joy Division. Not as strong as Joy Division but really up there with the best. Bela Lugosi’s Dead stayed in the Independent Charts for absolutely years – it did so for a reason – check it out…