The Five Best Bauhaus Songs That Aren't 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'

David J and Peter Murphy will bring 40 years of Bauhaus music to the Van Buren on January 25.
David J and Peter Murphy will bring 40 years of Bauhaus music to the Van Buren on January 25. Gabriel Edvy
Touring is one sure-fire way for aging rock and rollers to make a buck these days. For vocalist Peter Murphy and bassist David J (a.k.a. David John Haskins), being part of the legendary band Bauhaus has probably provided a nice living at times, but not nearly enough to retire on. The band, along with guitarist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Haskins, were hugely responsible for the underground popularity of goth music in the 1980s, as well as having success in their subsequent solo and team ups in the 1990s and beyond.

On Friday, January 25, Murphy and J, along with a backing band, will celebrate 40 years of Bauhaus by playing their 1980 album In The Flat Field in its entirety, followed by a collection of other Bauhaus material. Although it's too bad the entire band couldn't get together, two out of four is still better than none. Murphy still has his fantastic gloomy baritone that, for the uninitiated, is often reminiscent of the late David Bowie, and David J is one of the more inventive bassists in rock and roll.

Speaking of inventive basslines, Bauhaus is probably best known for their 1979 single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" which clocks in at a lofty nine minutes and 36 seconds. Featured most prominently in the 1983 vampire film The Hunger, which starred, among others, the aforementioned Bowie, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is instantly recognizable to just about anyone who was a teenager in the '80s. It is the Bauhaus song, the one that everybody knows. But what about the rest of the band's catalog? 

We decided to share five other Bauhaus songs you should know, in no particular order of importance. Hopefully the band will play some or all of them at their show on Friday, January 25, at The Van Buren.

1. "Terror Couple Kill Colonel"
Sadly, "Terror Couple Kill Colonel" hasn't been in the regular rotation of songs Murphy and David J have been playing on this tour. Too bad, because the early standalone single is certainly one of the band's more interesting songs. Murphy is definitely channeling Bowie on this one, as he often does, but the instrumentation is really what steals the show. Haskins is a master of the syncopated drum beat and he drives the song forward as Ash and David J provide atmospheric guitar and bass, respectively.

2. "Stigmata Martyr"
This one from In the Flat Field will most definitely be played when J and Murphy take the stage, and it's J's bass that drives this one from the get-go. The penultimate song on the previously discussed record, "Stigmata Martyr" is creepy cool and watching the crowd try to sing along with the Latin part in the latter section of the song will be worth the price of admission. Maybe one in 100 true disciples of Bauhaus have taken the time to learn that Murphy was repeating the Latin for "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

3. "Rose Garden Funeral of Sores"
The Bauhaus take on this John Cale track first appeared as the B-side to their cover of T. Rex's "Telegram Sam" in 1980. For our money, the Cale cover is the far more interesting song of the two.  This was the perfect song for pissing off one's parents in the '80s, and in many households, we're sure it would still do the trick quite nicely today.

4. "Kick in the Eye"
David J has definitely had some pretty groovy bass lines over the years, whether in Bauhaus, Love And Rockets, or his solo project The Jazz Butcher, but when he and brother Kevin locked in as the Bauhaus rhythm section, it was pretty iconic — so much so that it inspired a legion of fans clad primarily in black to obsess over their sound and style

5. "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything"
One of the things Bauhaus probably has not gotten enough credit for is the slower, more measured approach the band created for songs like "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" off their 1982 LP The Sky's Gone Out. The song is a beautiful meditation on childhood dissatisfaction, full of longing for something better than what you had growing up. Murphy steals the show on this one with his powerful, yet simple vocals over Ash's subtle acoustic guitar and David J's slightly-out-of-tune bass riff. Turn off the lights, maybe light a candle, and listen to this one with a glass of red wine.

Peter Murphy: 40 Years of Bauhaus. With David J and Desert Mountain Tribe. 8 p.m. Friday, January 25, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street; 480-659-1641; Tickets are $40 to 45 via Ticketfly.
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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon