Hear H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Nemesis’ Sung to the Tune of ‘Piano Man’
The horror and science-fiction work of H.P. Lovecraft has inspired many metal bands, most famously Metallica, who have referenced the author's famous beast Cthulhu twice in song. But as it turns out, a poem Lovecraft wrote, "Nemesis," fits the meter of Billy Joel's "Piano Man."
A mash-up of the two works was recently made by singer-songwriter Julian Velard, and you can hear it above.
As Velard tells us, it was the result of a dare. "My friend Bex Schwartz had replied to me on a feed from comedian Mike Drucker about a tweet noticing that the lyrics to 'Piano Man' scan perfectly to H.P. Lovecraft's 'Nemesis,'" he says. "She told me I should do it."
At that moment, he had a brief window to have some fun making music while his 9-month-old daughter was taking a nap. "I figured this was something I could get finished quickly," he recalls. "Plus, I could turn all the horrible hours I've suffered playing 'Piano Man' at karaoke bars into something positive. That tickled me beyond belief."
Velard, who covered Joel's "Where's the Orchestra" on 2014's If You Don't Like It, You Can Leave, recorded the whole thing in his home in about 30 minutes, although he had to cut out a few lines to make it fit. He uploaded it to Soundcloud and tweeted it out, figuring little would come of it. But the numbers after the first day were far beyond anything he had anticipated, so he uploaded it to YouTube, where it's taken off even further.
The track has already been played more times than anything he's written for Howard Stern's Wrap-Up show, and it will soon eclipse his previous viral video, 2012's "The Mighty Lin," about the sudden rise to fame of then-New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin. "I've always known the internet had a thing for Cthulhu," Velard explains, "but this whole thing has caught me 100 percent by surprise."
Last year, Velard released Fancy Words for Failure, which he called a "concept album inspired by the frustration of being a lifelong piano man and staring deep in the face of your fears." Coincidentally, Velard is currently an artist-in-residence at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in New York, where he's developing a show called "Pianoman." He added that he might have no choice but to work his new hit into the production.
"If HP Joelcraft isn't a great closer," he says, "I don't know what is."