Deadsplinter Up! All Night: The Phantom

Jerry (aka Marty) Lott was an eighteen year old country singer from Mobile, Alabama when his world was tuned upside down upon hearing Elvis for the first time. So he went into a local studio and, according to him, spent three months working on a Love Me Tender-esque ballad called “Whisper Your Love.” When it was finally done and recorded, the engineer asked him what he was going to do for the b-side. Jerry hadn’t even thought of it, so he came up with a little tune in 10 minutes and spent a little over a minute and a half recording it. The result was one of the wildest, most chaotic and furious rockabilly tracks of all time, “Love Me.” Jerry’s voice is like drugged out Elvis being electrocuted.

As Lott told it, ”Me and Johnny Blackburn worked the controls in the studio, as we didn’t want it to sound like a commercial record, that was for sure. I put all the fire and fury I could utter into. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, ‘let’s try it one more time’. I didn’t yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall. I’m telling ya, it was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player’s glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes, he looked like he was hypnotized”.

As the story goes, Jerry then took the tapes out to L.A. and hounded Pat Boone of all people to put the single. Boone liked the record and his Dot label put it out in 1960. Pat apparently came up with the idea of the mysterious pseudonym, The Phantom thinking the kids would love it. Jerry Was pictured on the sleeve wearing a black Lone Ranger mask and looking rather sheepish. The record didn’t take off and “The Phantom” was never heard from again. The song became a cult classic, though, and was later covered by the Cramps giving it new life.

Jerry, unfortunately, fared much worse. He never recorded again and died at 45, seventeen years after being paralyzed in a car accident. But this song is one of a kind and will live forever.

The Phantom – Love Me

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17 Comments

    • Glad you like it, Elliecoo. I saw those guys play back when Jason Schwartzman was still in the band because my girlfriend loved him. They were pretty good.

  1. I know that song, it’s a rockabilly classic!

    Doomsday Outlaw – Blues for a Phantom Hand

    I lost the upper hand and all I had was the blues

     

    And since it’s toofer Tuesday

     

    Tom Waits – Big Joe and Phantom 309

     

     

     

  2. Very good stuff, @Jonee
    The Highwaymen – Sunday Morning Coming Down (Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1990)

    Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson

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