Sunday, March 13, 2005

Weblog Entry - 12/06/2004: "Steve Martin's King Tut": "December 5, 2004
The King and I

IT is fitting that so many major news organizations have asked me to herald the coming to the United States of the artifacts from King Tut's tomb. After all, I'm the one who wrote the silly song about him. I stepped over the backs of many Egyptologists who wanted to write this article, but it's better that they learn their lesson now: silly song writers are powerful and vicious people who will stop at nothing to write an article about subjects they have treated in a silly way.
I know that the song 'King Tut' has become a standard and that many people believe it has been around for three-quarters of a century and was probably written by Cole Porter or Irving Berlin. But no, I wrote it in my car while driving - and you probably won't believe this - I wrote it in less than 15 minutes. The song broke musical ground in that if you look at the sheet music, there are asterisks where the notes should be, because the song has no tune. You will realize this if you hum the song in your head right now. This of course angered many so-called legitimate songwriters who have to make up melodies to go with their lyrics.
It does strike me as ironic that the song has become the standard reference work on the subject of King Tut. Many of the lines in the song are now believed to be fact. In this article I should - as a serious scholar - set the record straight:
King Tut was not 'born in Arizona.'
He did not live in a 'condo made of stone-a.'
King Tut did not 'do the monkey,' nor did he 'move to Babylonia.'
King Tut was not a honky.
He was not 'buried in his jammies.'
The song does, however, make a valid assertion that scholars still regard as a breakthrough: King Tu"

Steve Martin

Note: The line about Arizona and Babylonia is sung "Basso profoundo"
and is hard to make out, but that is what it sounds like

Now when he was a young man he never thought he'd see (King Tut)
People stand in line to see the boy king (King Tut)
How'd you get so funky (funky Tut)
Then you'd do the monkey
(Born in Arizona moved to Babylonia King Tut)
Now if I'd known the line would form to see him (King Tut)
I'd take up all my money and buy me a museum (King Tut)
Buried with a donkey (funky Tut)
He's my favorite honky
(Born in Arizona moved to Babylonia King Tut)
Dancing by the Nile
Ladies loved the style (waltzing Tut)
Rocking for a mile (walking Tut)
He ate a crockodile
He gave his life for tourism
Golden idol
He's an Egyptian!
They're selling you
Now when I die now don't think I'm a nut
Don't want no fancy funeral just one like old King Tut (King Tut)
He coulda won a grammy (King Tut)
Buried in his jammies
(Born in Arizona moved to Babylonia
Born in Arizona got a condo made of stone-a (sic) King Tut)

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