The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Music "King Tut" by Steve Martin

I remember when the King Tut extravaganza hits the United States, I was living in Alabama in the late 70's when the museum tour arrived.  There was a lot of hype and excitement about the tour partially because the sheer amount of treasure because the tomb was never pillaged by grave robbers.  The sheer craftsmanship of the items on display was incredible.  I had this picture on the wall in my room, I had clipped it off a magazine and pinned it up.

"King Tut" is a novelty song performed by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons (actually members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). It was released as a single in 1978, sold over a million copies,  and reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Martin previewed the song in a live performance during the April 22, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live. The song was also included on Martin's album A Wild and Crazy Guy.
"King Tut" paid homage to Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and presents a caricature of the sensational Treasures of Tutankhamun traveling exhibit that toured seven United States cities from 1976 to 1979. The exhibit attracted approximately eight million visitors. In the Saturday Night Live performance of "King Tut," loyal subjects appease a joyful King Tut with kitchen appliances. An instrumental solo is delivered by saxophone player Lou Marini, who steps out of a sarcophagus—painted gold—to great laughter.

In the book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, authors Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad write that the sketch was one of the most expensive productions the show had attempted up to that point. Martin had brought the song to the show and asked if he could perform it, not expecting the production that occurred—producer Lorne Michaels put everything behind it.
Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers recorded the song in a bluegrass version for their 2011 album, Rare Bird Alert.
The song is the subject of in-depth analysis in Melani McAlister's Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East, 1945–2000.
It is also referenced in a dialogue in the video game The Lost Vikings (1992) at the end of one of the Egyptian themed levels of the game.
Chicago radio superstation WLS-AM, which gave the song much airplay, ranked "King Tut" as the 11th biggest hit of 1978. It spent four weeks at the number-one position on their chart during the time the Tut exhibition was on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in downtown Chicago.


  1. Love that old humor! LOL. Great post and good stuff. I have seen the exhibit. It is quite amazing.

  2. A Classic bit of comedy. I recall going to the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit as a kid, and still have the book I bought from the museum about the exhibit.

    1. Hey Aaron;

      I heard that some college students are raising hell about the video, they are calling it an "insult to all Egyptians and cultural appropriations. Will this crap ever stop?

  3. Replies
    1. Hey Old NFO;

      and they couldn't make a video like this right now...the SJW's would blow their minds.

  4. http://mydailykona.blogspot.com/2017/11/monday-music-king-tut-by-steve-martin.html