Exquisite Dead Guy

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Exquisite Dead Guy
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Factory Showroom, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, John Henry + Factory Showroom
year 1996
first played September 8, 1996 (153 known performances)
run time 2:02
sung by John Linnell

The puppets used in live performances of "Exquisite Dead Guy"


A song of admiration for a departed hero. The title is inspired by the name of a parlor game of the Surrealists, "The Exquisite Corpse", in which players take turns constructing a sentence word by word without seeing what has already been written.
  • "Exquisite Corpse" is a game surrealists used to play at parties. See exquisitecorpse.com[1] for more information.
  • In a 1997 interview, John Linnell mentioned an unknown (likely unreleased) song that served as inspiration for Exquisite Dead Guy:
    Both of us have these multi-track tape recorders. One of us would record, much like the [Exquisite Corpse] game, and then pass the tape to the other. We recorded one song roughly in that manner. It didn't make it on any of our records, and so the idea kind of surfaced lyrically in the tune "Exquisite Dead Guy".
  • The band would perform this live accompanied by a recording of John and John's vocals while They moved two ventriloquist dummy heads on mic stands around a dimly-lit stage. Flansburgh referred to it as "a fucked up part of the show. Fun to do something like that."[2] A few years later, they would "perform" "Counterfeit Faker" in the same manner.
  • The original heads were stolen along with an entire van of equipment in Albany on December 7, 1996 (the day after a show elsewhere in New York). The band found replacement heads, though according to Flansburgh, "the original heads disappearance just seemed like collateral damage compared to the impossible amount of more crucial musical stuff that was lost in the theft. The second set of heads might have actually been initially more normal looking but they were 'styled' by our long-time LD Iggy Ingoglia who managed to give them more 'depth of character.'"[3]
  • In the early 2000s, the puppets (named "Skunk" and "The Morning Maniac") were given away in a contest through eMusic called "Who's the Dummy Anyway?".

Song Themes

A Capella, Death, Nonsense Words, People (Imaginary), Questions, Real Estate, Zombies Or The Undead


Current Rating

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Exquisite Dead Guy is currently ranked #429 out of 1009. (121 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.39)