The Vaselines’ most famous song, mainly thanks to Nirvana’s memorable cover on their MTV Uplugged Live performance in 1993. Released in 1988 on the EP “Dying for It,” the song is a bitter answer to the traditional children’s hymn “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” on par with XTC’s “Dear God” and Patti Smith’s psycho-sexual “Gloria” in terms of its anti-religious sentiment. However, “Sunbeam” may be more powerful because the music is so deceptively mellow, the lyrics hit like a fist. You can now find it on the excellent Sup Pop released compilation “The Way of the Vaselines.”
Oddly, the song is called “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” on all the Vaselines’ recordings even though the lyrics say “Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam.” Nirvana’s cover is titled the same way as the lyrics.
I’ve included Nirvana’s version below:
Trivia note: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love named their daughter Frances after the Vaselines’ Frances McKee.
In honor of the new documentary “I Am Divine,” here’s everyone’s favorite 300-pound transvestite from Baltimore … Divine … singing his/her biggest hit. This was a Top 10 hit in Australia and a Top 20 hit in Great Britain. The producers were Stock Aitken Waterman, the evil bastards behind “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” the Bananarama remake of “Venus,” and worst of all … Rick Astley. Before you start calling for the death penalty for these three, “You Think You’re a Man” is extremely catchy. In fact, I defy anyone not to let their freak flag fly to this. The fact that an underground legend such as Divine managed to score such mainstream success also brings a huge grin to my face. Sadly, Divine passed on when he/she was on the cusp of major mainstream success in the late 1980s. The villainess in “The Little Mermaid” was based on Divine … a nice tribute to a comedy legend.
Memorably covered by the Vaselines (one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite bands) in the late 1980s, which … oddly … is how I first heard this song. Their cover is included below: