The Popstream: Cindy & Bert, "Der Hund von Baskerville"


There are few certainties in life, but I know this much: the Lamborghini Miura is the most beautiful car ever built, there'll never be a martial arts movie better than Drunken Master II, and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" kicks total fuckin' ass. Not just because it's got one of the best riffs and one of the best solos in early metal's history, and not just because it's Ozzy doing what he does best -- sing about his state of mental distress with that sneering wail of his -- but because it was done so effortlessly. "Paranoid" only came into being because Warner Brothers thought their second album (originally titled War Pigs) was too short for an LP, so Sabbath went back into the studio, cranked out three minutes of articulately-fuming angst and had themselves their first UK top 5 hit.

And then it got covered by the German equivalent of Sonny and Cher.

The arrangement of "Der Hund von Baskerville" sounds like they dialed the clock back to 1966, which is absurd enough (though I can't say I don't like the snazzy organ they decided to throw in to the mix). It got more ridiculous when they brought it to TV: they apparently decided it wasn't good television to have someone singing about having completely given up on enjoying life, and that they should instead sing about the scary dog from that one Sherlock Holmes mystery. Then they can't even hold to that half-hearted sense of menace, since their depiction of the sinister Hund von Baskerville is a dopey-looking Pekingese. And even with all the misery and loathing drained from the song and replaced with a campy b-movie faux-creepiness, you can tell when the camera cuts from the film of Cindy und Bert to the footage of the crowd in the studio that nobody seems particularly enthusiastic about getting down to it. Swear to god, I've seen more enthusiastic dancing at a Pavement show.

I will note that there is at least one thing about this clip that is legitimately as creepy as anything Sabbath's done: Bert's expression, which hovers directly at the midpoint between bored and murderous. He looks like some long-lost member of the Schrute family.