Suicide: Painless? or The Sword Of Time Will Pierce Our Skins

:: Song From M*A*S*H* (Disco) ::

I think it's a reasonable assumption that many people don't know that the theme song from the M*A*S*H* TV show is actually a fleshed out instrumental version of a strange little acoustic song, from a strange scene in the Robert Altman M*A*S*H* movie. I didn't know the song had words until I heard a torchy piano version at a Howard Johnson's lounge in the early 80's, sandwiched between "Three Times A Lady" and "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." The song was penned by Altman's 14 year old son Michael, who I read actually gets more royalty money from it than his dad did from the movie, because M*A*S*H* the TV show has been in syndication for eons.

The New Marketts were a group of studio musicians who did instrumentals. They replaced the old Marketts, who were also studio musicians who did instrumentals. The main difference between the two Marketts is that the old Marketts worked with better material and actually charted some hits. They started out making surf music seemingly based on The Ventures and maybe even Joe Meek's Tornadoes -- not strictly surf music, but sort of space-lounge surf. They did a version of the Batman theme that did well. The New Marketts did little of note, but they did manage to take the M*A*S*H* theme and turn it into something slightly bumpy that might have gotten your coke spoon shaking in your chest hair, and your bellbottoms swooshing around the dance floor like funky shark fins, were you extremely lame. They also did a version of the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman theme.

Here's the lyrics to this song, in case you find an unguarded moment where want to sing into your hairbrush and go all Gloria Gaynor on it and shit.

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...


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.


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.


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 it grin, but...


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?'


'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.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006 11:52:00 PM

I had a friend in college who was friends with Mike Altman. He was a stoner, and he was always "brah" and "don't harsh my mellow" and "did you know that there are words to the M*A*S*H* theme?"    

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