Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fleetwod Mac - "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)" (the song remains the same)

"Now, when the day goes to sleep and the full moon looks..." If you know the next line, chances are good that you are a Judas Priest fan. If you're a knowledgeable Priest fan, you also know that "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)" is a cover of a 1970 Fleetwood Mac song. If you're more than a casual Fleetwood Mac fan, you know that FM released nine LPs prior to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joining in 1975 and releasing the breakthrough LP "Fleetwood Mac".

A non-LP single, "The Green Manalishi" was the last song written by Fleetwood Mac founder, guitarist and vocalist Peter Green before leaving the band. The Green Manalishi can be a symbol for drugs, monetary greed, evil, or perhaps even Peter Green himself. Green was dealing with drug-induced schizophrenia at the time and the lyrics reflect this: they don't strictly make sense, but they do paint a picture that is menacing, paranoid and erotic.

The original version is nearly a heavy metal song (especially when compared to their Rumours-era sound), so it should not be a complete surprise that Judas Priest covered the song on their 1978 LP "Hell Bent for Leather" (the US title, the UK title was "Killing Machine"). Judas Priest did not become big in the US until after their 1980 LP "British Steel" (corresponding with the NWOBHM), so casual fans might not be familiar with the song. Interestingly enough Judas Priest, at the height of their popularity, did choose "The Green Manalishi" as one of the three songs for their Live Aid set in 1985.

The song has been covered by numerous (but mostly obscure) metal bands. The only one that deserves mention here is the cover by Corrosion of Conformity (COC) on their 1983 debut LP, "An Eye for an Eye". COC became more metal with each successive LP, but their first is strictly hardcore.

Fleetwood Mac: Studio version; Live version (note Christine McVie as one of the keyboard players; she went from session player to official member during this time); live 1970 (with Peter Green), live 1974 (with Bob Welch), live 1975 (with Lindsey Buckingham)

Judas Priest: Studio version; Live Aid version, 1982 live version (where it appears Rob Halford has gone off his meds, but good nonetheless)

COC: Live version (ca. 1983, with vocalist Eric Eycke, approximately 1:35 into the video).

Bonus Link: The B-side to the original FM 7", World in Harmony.

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