Another Burroughs weekend. We’re doing a lot of William Burroughs posts here on the Ginsberg blog – unapologetic – it being the Burroughs Centennial. Today, Wiliam Burroughs Sings! (We’ve already posted a Jack Kerouac Sings! – Allen Ginsberg Singing is, of course, pretty ubiquitous!)
As he explains at the outset of another musical encounter…”just something I picked up, a knack of going along with somebody’s song, putting myself into it..”..”Marlene Dietrich, not one of my favorite people, but..” -William Burroughs’ spirited rendition of Dietrich’s classic torch-song, “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss Auf Liebe eingestellt” (literally, “I’m head to toe ready for love” – perhaps better known in its English transformation as “Falling in Love Again“) is not something to be missed, and, once heard, unlikely to be forgotten.
It appears as the last track on the 1990 Hal Willner-produced Dead City Radio album of recordings made in Lawrence, Kansas.
Here’s Dietrich’s version (in German)
and Dietrich in English
Dietrich in The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel).
Here, incidentally, is her extraordinary (infamous) screen-test for that movie
Dietrich doesn’t “own” the song (we will now heretically suggest Burroughs now “owns” the song!). There have been numerous versions made. Among them, Billie Holiday in a typically personalized version here – and Nina Simone does a haunting version
It was even covered by a little English group in the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 – listen to it here (and for a digitally-remastered version of that same recording – see here)