The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #23
Thu., Dec. 8. 2022 2:22pm EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 23rd single of 2022:
I'd been wanting for while to do a parody about the Jewish scribe and priest Ezra and the biblical book that bears his name. By the way, did you know that he doesn't show up until chapter 7? That's the chapter number where he first appears in the Book of Nehemiah, too.
Anyway, on September 28, 2019, I was driving and listening to a sports show on SiriusXM satellite radio, and they used Billy Joel's "Pressure" as bumper music. It brought back fond memories of my freshman year in college, and I suddenly realized I'd stumbled upon the right song for Ezra, so I started a document for it.
Other things came along in the meantime, however, including two additional Billy Joel parodies I wanted to do first. I don't know if I'd ever mentioned my idea to Rich Mannion before, but he brought up "Pressure" as a possibility on September 20, 2022. I wasn't sure the time was right yet, but I finally gave him the green light to do the instrumentation on November 21.
Jimmy was recuperating from his motorcycle accident, and Keith was going to be in Nashville awhile for Thanksgiving and the arrival of his third grandchild. So that meant Rich would be doing keyboards, drums, and bass electronically.
He had all his parts done by November 27 (Tom Tincha did the guitars), and then the pressure was on me to write the lyrics (all I had was "Ezra"), because I had to sing it five days later. As always, God came through, but I was still tweaking the lyrics that morning.
Play Fair Delilah (2022)
I've always loved the audience reaction on our 2009 live rendition of "Play Fair Delilah," the only version available until this one. It was a brand new parody back then, so everybody at that concert was hearing it for the first time, kind of like Johnny Cash's recording of "A Boy Named Sue" at San Quentin State Prison, which was released as single and became the hit version.
However, when I listened to "Play Fair Delilah" a number of years later, I cringed at my vocals. Consequently, when we made the decision in 2022 to do a rock opera about Samson, I was only too glad to have a chance to record a nice studio version with better vocals. Wayne Bartley volunteered to do the guitars this time around.
I then discovered there was a later version of "Hey There Delilah" with added string instrumentation, so we got Rich Mannion to do all that. The whole idea of a rough-and-tumble he-man like Samson singing a tender ballad was already funny enough, but embellishing it with orchestration upped the ante.
I also changed a few lyrics to inject a little more variety into the choruses. It amused me to have Samson use a fancy word like "impunity." Furthermore, I moved things around so his first references to UFC and WWE would be at the very end of the song to maximize comedic effect.
Meanwhile, I eliminated the reference to Halo 3, which was fairly current in 2009 but has since been superseded by Halo 4 (2012), Halo 5 (2015), Halo Infinite (2021), etc.