Beat Street

Ask the king

June 28 - July 5, 2006
Gulf Weekly Ask the king

Calling Elvis,
I was recently looking for a Manfred Mann Greatest Hits album, and found one.

There was, however, a rather strange song on it entitled Quinn the Eskimo. On listening to it, I realised it was none other than The Mighty Quinn. So why on earth is it called Quinn the Eskimo? Is that the original title? And who wrote the song originally?
Brian Hassle

Dear Brian,
The original title of the song is Quinn the Eskimo, but is now popularly called the Mighty Quinn. In fact it’s actually quite rare to see it being referred to by its original name. The song was written by Bob Dylan who released it in 1970 on his album Self Portrait. As for how the song came about, there’s quite an intriguing story doing the rounds: It seems the Grateful Dead had a wild LSD party in a New York City hotel during a tour. Allegedly, one of the party guests was Bob Dylan. One of the other guests at the hotel didn’t appreciate the noise and voiced several complaints. It was actor Anthony Quinn who’d played an Eskimo in The Savage Innocents. So the story goes that it was that which inspired a partying Dylan to write the song. Believe it or not…it’s still a great yarn.

Calling Elvis,
I’m a huge Meat Loaf fan, and I was absolutely aghast when my boyfriend told me that Paradise by the Dashboard Light (my favourite Big Marvin tune) was produced by that sissy boy Todd Rundgren. Please tell me he’s wrong. And also can you explain to him that the woman’s voice is Karla DeVito’s.
Ethel Monella

Dear Ethel,
Oh dear I guess you’re going to have to live with this one, because Todd Rundgren did produce Paradise. As for Karla DeVito you’re wrong or right depending on whether you’re listening to the live or studio version. In the studio version the woman’s voice is done by Ellen Foley, but she was replaced on tour by Karla (hence Karla’s voice is on all the live versions). Also did you know that two members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band played on this? They were pianist Roy Bittan and drummer Max Weinberg.
Also in case you give a damn, the baseball announcer is former New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto.

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