All You Zombies: The Hooters Go a-Bible-Thumping

The pride of Philly, the City of Brotherly Love’s own The Hooters were met with disdain from Sir Bob Geldof when they opened the Philadelphia portion of 1985’s Live Aid concert, his “global jukebox” organized to fight the ongoing Ethiopian famine. Sir Bob didn’t take kindly to Bill Graham, the American promoter of Live Aid, shoehorning The Hooters onto the bill, remarking in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Who the fuck are The Hooters?” Maybe he just hated their ill-advised name, supposedly derived from a nickname for the melodica, although that’s about as believable a theory as half the world needing a reminder that it’s Christmas (do they even know, buddy?). Despite Sir Bob’s obvious misgivings, by 1985 The Hooters were quickly becoming a household name in the wake of their sophomore album Nervous Night, which sold over two million copies in the United States alone. While Nervous Night features a few catchy numbers, most notably the anthemic pop rocker “And We Danced”, by “All You Zombies”, the album’s third track, The Hooters were bringing their own grist to Sir Bob’s notorious Hooters hate mill. First released as a live single in 1982 and later included on The Hooters’ 1983 debut album Amore, the bizarre “All You Zombies” was somehow deemed worthy of an extended rerecording for Nervous Night. The song showcases the group’s budding enthusiasm for the Bible, with a particular emphasis on the flood narrative from Genesis. Guitarist Eric Bazilian and keyboardist Rob Hyman share vocals in an embarrassing verse profiling the isolated Noah being ostracized by his doubtful community while “workin’ on his ark, workin’ all by himself.” Poor guy. As if that weren’t enough, the video for “All You Zombies” applies The Hooters’ condemnation of primeval sheeple to a modern context, an authoritarian factory ruled by a Soviet-style official who seeks to crush the band’s colourful suits and perfectly quaffed hair under his iron bootheel. I guess we shouldn’t have expected subtlety from a group calling themselves The Hooters. Glaring flaws notwithstanding, “All You Zombies” still manages to boast a certain hypnotic charm, yet it’s hard not to cringe when Hyman reveals the ultimate fate of Noah and his family after surviving the flood, shouting, “Yeah, they were the Israelites!” Fucking righteous, Noah! Forsooth, with lyrics like these who wouldn’t want to drown in a devastating flood of biblical proportions? Come on in, all you zombies, the water’s fine!

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