• jeffstinson1972

The Theme To M.A.S.H. - Suicide Is Painless

Hi All


You may find this interesting…


In anticipation of the song being sung and played at the May filming of “A Very Special Poetry Reading and Dance Party with Jimmy Broccoli”, I thought it would be fun to share the unexpected history of the song “Suicide is Painless” – better known as the theme to the hit TV series “M.A.S.H.”.


The links below connect you to the song (both the version with lyrics and the instrumental version). Regardless of your age, I suspect you’ll recognize the tune, even if you previously weren’t aware of the title and/or didn’t know the song has lyrics.


The song became the main theme for the movie version of “M.A.S.H.”, released two years before the TV series first aired. Director Robert Altman had two requirements for the song: 1. It had to be called “Suicide is Painless” and 2. It had to be the “stupidest song ever written”.


To increase the chances of the song being “stupid”, Altman gave the responsibility of writing the lyrics to his 14 year old son, Mike, who reportedly wrote the lyrics in 5 minutes.


“Suicide is Painless”, to the surprise of both Altmans (father and son), became a hit, became a #1 song in England (strangely, 10 years later), and has been covered by various popular artists throughout the years; to include, Marilyn Manson (whose haunting version is the third link below) and Manic Street Preachers. Robert Altman was paid $70,000 to direct the movie version of “M.A.S.H.”, whereas the theme song, to date, has garnished over $1 in royalties to Mike Altman for writing the lyrics.


“Suicide is Painless” – Lyrics:


Through early morning fog I see

Visions of the things to be

The pains that are withheld for me

I realize and I can see


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


I try to find a way to make

All our little joys relate

Without that ever-present hate

But now I know that it's too late, and


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


The game of life is hard to play

I'm gonna lose it anyway

The losing card I'll someday lay

So this is all I have to say


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


The only way to win is cheat

And lay it down before I'm beat

And to another give my seat

For that's the only painless feat


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


The sword of time will pierce our skins

It doesn't hurt when it begins

But as it works its way on in

The pain grows stronger watch it grin, but


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


A brave man once requested me

To answer questions that are key

Is it to be or not to be

And I replied 'Oh, why ask me?'


That suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


'Cause suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

And I can take or leave it if I please


And you can do the same thing if you please


Links:

Original Theme to “M.A.S.H.”, with lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODV6mxVVRZk

Original Theme to “M.A.S.H.”, instrumental version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAY4CXH73GA

Marilyn Manson’s cover, with lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbmgYimoUFo


#jimmybroccoli

#suicideispainless


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