Wednesday, April 19, 2006

TOWN WITHOUT PITY - 8 Cover Versions

The bump and grind melody was sleazy, and the overwrought lyrics almost burlesque, a barely relevant tune stuck into a movie about a gang started by Gomer Pyle's Sgt. Carter (Frank Sutton) and ended with a guilt-ridden Robert Blake covering the nude body.

The tune is gruesomely fascinating...a song full of self-pity but also raging "like tigers in a cage," a number begging for mercy while the music struts and slinks with a brazen beat. Despite Gene Pitney's brilliant original performance (where most of the lyrics about eager lips and living on a granite planet were as smeared as lipstick on a collar) many have been drawn to cover it.

The music is just that powerful, and the message that dramatic. In the film, towards the end, the reason for the title is finally evident. This IS a town without pity, showing a cruel "she was asking for it, he was an idiot" attitude toward the hapless couple that were fumbling around with their hormones until interrupted by four American soldiers. But mostly the movie is not about the town or the angst of the victims, but about the trial of the soldiers (as defended by Kirk Douglas).

With a life of its own (the film struggled to get a DVD release) the song "Town Without Pity" has a much more rabid following, and here, the multiplying rabbits include
The punkish DICKIES
The doo-wop NYLONS
A big band try from BRIAN SETZER
Slow balladeering by MATHILDE SANTING
A female in heat take from MANDY BARNETT
A strange, almost off key shot by JAMES CHANCE...and 2 more.

Here's a Pitiless Eight Pack

Update November 2011: You can sing the damn song's a Karaoke version, upped individually:

Here's a KARAOKE - TOWN WITHOUT PITY ...version without Pitney

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