Bela Lugosi's Dead (8:47)

Cover of Crackle

From Crackle and 34 other releases

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is a gothic rock song written by the band Bauhaus. The song was the band’s first single, released in August 1979, and is often considered to be the first gothic rock record released. It did not enter the UK pop charts, but remained on sale for many years thereafter. The b-side features the song “Boys” and some versions also include an early demo recording of what would be their next single, “Dark Entries”. It was released on CD in 1988 and was compiled on the 1998 album, Crackle - The Best of Bauhaus. The original sleeve art was taken from a still of the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.


The song is over nine minutes in length and was recorded “live in the studio” in a single take. David J, the band’s bassist, claims on his website to have written the lyrics. The singing does not start (in the studio version) until several minutes into the track. The dub-influenced guitar sound was achieved by using partial barre chords and leaving the top E and B strings open.

The title references horror film star Béla Lugosi (1882-1956), who did much to establish the modern vampire image as the title character in the 1931 film Dracula.

Recording session

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” was recorded during a six-hour session at Beck Studios in Wellingborough on 26 January 1979. Four more songs were recorded (“Boys”, “Harry”, “Dark Entries” and the unreleased “Some Faces”) but not used; only “Harry” surfaced in 1982 as a single B-side to “Kick In The Eye”.

The song “Boys” was re-recorded at Beck Studios in spring 1979.

Use in film and television


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