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you can rock the cynics if you try

Because I got King Herod's song stuck in some of your brains today, I thought I'd let everyone have this particular earworm.

King Herod's Song (Try it and See)- Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack

I much prefer the movie version to the original cast version. More oomph in the singing.

Now, for those who have never seen JCS, you're just going to have to imagine a sleazy Josh Mostel prancing and preening as he's singing this song. The whole routine is really a joy to behold, especially the kickline bit.


And really, if you've never seen it, go rent it. It's one of my favorite movies of all time. Ted Neeley is the most amazing Jesus you will ever see (besides the real one, I suppose) and Carl Anderson's performance as Judas will give you goosebumps.

You did know I have a weak spot for musicals, right?

I should blog a musical every day. Until I run out of good ones. Once you get to Paint Your Wagon, you know you're done.

Lyrics below. Sing along!

Jesus I am overjoyed to meet you face to face
You've been getting quite a name all around the place
Healing cripples, raising from the dead
And now I understand you're God
At least that's what you've said

So you are the Christ
You're the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're divine
Change my water into wine
That's all you need do
Then I'll know it's all true
C'mon King of the Jews

Jesus you just won't believe
The hit you've made around here
You are all we talk about
The wonder of the year
Oh what a pity if it's all a lie
Still I'm sure that you can rock the cynics if you try

So if you are the Christ
Yes the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're no fool
Walk across my swimming pool
If you do that for me
Then I'll let you go free
C'mon King of the Jews

I only ask things I'd ask
Any superstar
What is it that you have got
That puts you where you are
I am waiting, yes I'm a captive fan
I'm dying to be shown that you are not just any man

So if you are the Christ
Yes the great Jesus Christ
Feed my household with this bread
You can do it on your head
Or has something gone wrong
Why do you take so long
C'mon King of the Jews

Hey, aren't you scared of me Christ
Mister wonderful Christ
You're a joke, you're not the Lord
You're nothing but a fraud
Take him away, he's got nothing to say
Get out you King of the
Get out you King of the
Get out you King of the Jews
Get out you King of the Jews
Get out of my life


I will be listening to "Undertow" for the rest of the evening. Or at least until I can no longer remember that freaking song.

Though I love the "walk across my swimming pool" line

There's also the 2000 version, which has Rik Mayall as Herod (in a 1920's setting, no less). While I prefer the 2000 version overall (it's much more powerful - and I'd love to find out your opinion on this version, Michele), I think Joshua Mostel makes the better Herod.

What more could you ask for than the Deep Purple frontman as Jesus? In my young world, Ian Gillian WAS Jesus and when my parents took me to the show a few years later, after listening to the album -- over and over and over -- I remember thinking that the Jesus on stage was an imposter. No Highway Star howl there.

It made me sad, so I blew up a frog with an M80 and moved on.

Remember Godspell?

Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

If that doesn't blow JCS out of your brain, I don't know what will.

Holy shit. Ian Gillian as JESUS? That ROCKS. You are damn lucky, Al.

Please, please never bring up Godspell again.

I promise not to mention it again.

However, it's good to see your not hiding your light under a bushel, otherwise it might be missing something crucial.

In the 90s, Herod was played as an Elvis impersonator. It worked.


Turn back oh man.

I will turn back, because I have learned my lessons well.

We seek the Golden Ladle

There were 4 versions of JCS to my memory (I memorized them)

  • Movie version</l
  • London Theater version
  • US Broadway version (1 LP)
  • abridged movie version (?)
  • The abridged version had less lines for Pilate in The Trial (for example: 'You hypocrites! You hate us more than him!'), lacked the song 'Could we start again, please?' and one other song on side 1, where Caiaphus planned to incite Jesus' death sentence with the Council ('He's just another bible thumping hack from Galilee- The difference is they call him king! That difference frightens me!').

    Love it, love it, love it. My sisters and I can sing every word of every song, not just Herod.

    Michele, so glad to know you like this. It is one of my absolute favorite movies.

    Timmer, you are thinking of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat and the character Pharoh.


    Yeah, I had to check my program to make sure I hadn't came out of a blackout at the wrong show, but it was Herod as Elvis not Pharoh.

    I'm another fan of the entire album. I used to get loaded and put on the headphones when I was young and I thought it was better than going to mass with my folks. I was right. Still do that sometimes.

    Last year in Las Vegas, I went to see the live version of Jesus Christ Superstar. One of the greatest surprises was that Carl Anderson played Judas in the production - and he's still great in the role!

    I have both versions on DVD, but I prefer the original version, filmed in Israel.

    Carl died in February of 2004.

    I LOVE JCS!! I grew up listening to the London stage version, and it was one of the first "grown-up" movies my parents ever took me to. When I was in our high school show choir, various of us were occasionally permitted to perform a "pop" solo as part of our program, and I regularly sang "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Given that I was training for a future career in opera, my rendition was, uh, not so good. And at the age of 15, I really didn't understand the nuances and complications of Mary Magdelene's unrequited love for the Savior of All Mankind. Anyway...great musical. Great songs. Great singers.
    As to the wretchedness that is "Paint Your Wagon"--I was in that in high school as well, in the role of the miner's daughter. I remember having to sing a line in the song "What's Going On Here?" that said something like "I only weigh a hundred nine or ten" when in reality I weighed about 135...I remember having a very real fear that someone in the audience would shout "you LIAR!!! You weigh a LOT more than 110!". Ah, good times. However, "Paint Your Wagon" isn't all bad. Any movie in which Clint Eastwood (whom I actually like) has to sing "I Talk To The Trees" in the sure knowledge that the entire viewing audience is trying not to laugh at him has its redemptive points :)

    Oh Dear Lord
    Three things I pray
    To see thee more clearly
    Love thee more dearly
    Follow thee more nearly
    Day by day

    Al, "Godspell" was a pale imitation of a JCS-wannabe. I'm just saying.

    They came on tour to Philadelphia a few years ago. I went to see it with my school. Carl Anderson was reprising his role as Judas and blew everybody away. The man looked as though he had aged backwards.

    Of course, the "big" name in the show was that Sebastian Bach, formerly of the band Skid Row, was playing Jesus. Oh my God, he was awful.

    He was fired two weeks into the performanace. How 'bout that

    I love that song. Heck, I love the whole soundtrack.

    I was fortunate enough to see Carl Anderson(still!) play Judas when an off-Broadway production came through Richmond a couple of years ago. I say frotunate because he died just a few months later.

    Carl Anderson reminded me a bit of Leonard Nimoy in that he initially resisted how people always associated him with a particular role. Eventually, he came to see it as a good thing and made a career out of playing Judas, and doing it well. Whenever I think of Judas , I picture Carl Anderson in my mind. I don't think I'm the only one, either.

    Jennifer, I know how bad Godspell is. I just like messing with M. and know how much she hates it.

    I LOVED JCS! And my sister and I sing along to the movie version every Good Friday as we drive north to visit relatives for Easter weekend.
    As a musical lover did you happen to see the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that Joss Whedan wrote? Classic. I still get those songs stuck in my head too.
    Take care, great blog.

    I listened to the Ian Gillian album version many times before someone clued me in that it was the lead singer for Deep Purple. When the movie came out, it didn't work for me because all the voices were wrong. One summer in high school I was painting the inside of a manufacturing plant by myself and I sang that album over and over in my head (at least I hope I didn't sing out loud).

    You haven't lived until you've seen the Jesus in "Reefer Madness."




    Too funny for words.