National Lampoon

National Lampoon Lemmings (1973 Original Cast)

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Starting on January 25, 1973, and running for 350 performances, National Lampoon magazine sponsored a comedy revue at the off-Broadway Village Gate nightclub in Greenwich Village. National Lampoon Lemmings featured sketch comedy in its first act, but its second act was given over to an elaborate satire of Woodstock that allowed for parodies of popular music figures of the day. Future Saturday Night Live cast members John Belushi and Chevy Chase were featured, Belushi originating the Joe Cocker impersonation he would perform on television ("Lonely at the Bottom"), Chase turning in a wicked takeoff on John Denver ("Colorado"). But the biggest musical talent was Christopher Guest, who would go on to greater fame in This Is Spinal Tap. Guest co-wrote and sang cutting portraits of Bob Dylan ("Positively Wall Street") and James Taylor ("Highway Toes"). At a time when singer/songwriter music was all the rage, the sensitive types came in for special attention (there is also a song by "Freud, Marx, Engels, and Jung"), but the closing song was a general-purpose send-up of heavy metal by a fictional group called Megadeath. (Of course, later on there actually was a heavy metal band called Megadeth.) "Pizza Man," a girl group number, was amusing but seemed out of place, while the black music song "Papa Was a Running-Dog Lackey of the Bourgeoisie" targeted Motown and Curtis Mayfield. Some of the comedy is dated, and the satire depends on familiarity with the Woodstock movie and biographical details of the artists' lives. Some of the material is also visual, and a video would better represent the show than this audio recording. But for rock & roll fans with a black sense of humor, it doesn't get much better than this, especially since a group of future comedy stars are glimpsed at the start of their careers.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
feat: John Belushi
1:50 Amazon
feat: Paul Jacobs
3:09 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
2:07 Amazon
4 2:42 Amazon
1:55 Amazon
6 3:46 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
0:58 Amazon
feat: Chevy Chase
4:12 Amazon
0:21 Amazon
feat: The Lemmings
1:00 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
0:29 Amazon
feat: Paul Jacobs
2:37 Amazon
feat: The Lemmings
1:09 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
0:31 Amazon
15 2:41 Amazon
feat: Chevy Chase
2:19 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
0:19 Amazon
2:16 Amazon
19 5:47 Amazon
1:20 Amazon
feat: John Belushi
3:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick