How Alfred Hitchcock inspired a classic Elvis Costello song
“Tome, psychopath was a great comedy. Should be.” – Alfred Hitchcock
1960 cinema psychopath has been credited with inspiring a plethora of different cinematic techniques and characters. It happened as one of the defining moments in the horror genre and never slowed down. The vision of Norman Bates dressed as his mother as he brutally murders guests who stay at his motel is a motif that has been replicated across Hollywood for decades. But Alfred Hitchcock’s film also inspired a few songs.
As well as giving the Beatles the perfect tone for their track “Eleanor Rigby”, providing Bob Dylan with a backdrop for his song “Motorpsycho Nightmare” and giving David Byrne and Talking Heads “their unique bassline for” Psycho Killer, ”the song may also claim to have inspired Elvis Costello to cover Leon Payne’s song“ Psychobilly ”.
A lover of mall music, Elvis Costello was raised in the stereo sounds of The Beatles and therefore was never more interested in covering other people’s songs. When you’re as powerful and sharp as he was at the height of his writing, that’s to be expected. However, Costello was wowed by Payne’s “The Psycho Song” and found room for a cover of his long track repertoire and even a residency on his. Fundamental debates 1981 recording.
at Léon Payne Psychobilly tells the story of a murder from the killer’s perspective and is a bizarre tale that captures all of the unsettling realism that the film brings to the fore. Aside from all the suspense that Hitchcock masters superbly in the film, it’s the psychological side that makes it terrifying.
Rather than disrupting with whimsical tales of the devil incarnate, the director subtly spooked people by playing a bonkers boy next door via Norman Bates. That same psychological depravity makes the lyrics to Leon Payne’s country number work.
This lyrical take on the horror masterpiece has remained the gold standard of the psychobilly genre, being picked up by Costello and more and inspiring people like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. However, it’s easy for us to spot a perfect line of inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock to Leon Payne to Elvis Costello’s remarkable rendition of “The Psycho Song”.