Riff Police! Pull Over! #82: Mercyful Fate Vs Ted Nugent!
A re-written Brats demo that was originally titled “Night Riders” and sees King Diamond at his storytelling finest, “Curse of the Pharaohs” is one of the best known songs from the 1983 debut album “Melissa” by Mercyful Fate. Recorded and mixed at Easy Sounds Studios in Copenhagen with Producer Henrik Lund with lyrics from vocalist King Diamond and music written by guitarist Hank Shermann, in 2017 Rolling Stone Magazine placed it 17th on their “The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time” list.
But wait. Firing up the DeLorean and heading back to 1975 and the debut self titled album from Ted Nugent which features “Stranglehold” as it’s opening cut, an epic near 8 and half minutes cut to just 3 and a half for the single. A guitar driven track with a one take recorded solo and vocals from Derek St. Holmes, except the “Sometimes you wanna get higher” verse is sung by Nugent himself, it’s one that set the stage for not only Nugent’s career but also that of Pantera with the late Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbot both being fans of his music. So much so in fact that they went on to record a cover of “Cat Scratch Fever“. The question is… can you hear the riff from “Stranglehold” in “Curse of the Pharaohs“?! Because we sure as heck can. Influenced? Hank Shermann himself would have to answer that one, but 8 years after the original is plenty of time for it to be heard.