Made to Torment Man

Very early on in his writing career, Wayne Shanklin wrote the song ‘Jezebel’ in French and then Charles Aznavour translated the English lyrics for it.  Édith Piaf recorded the song first in 1951, and her version was in French.  Next, Frankie Laine recorded this also in 1951 and it reached the #2 on the pop charts and enjoyed a 21-week run.  Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps also recorded the song in 1956.  In 1967, Herman’s Hermits included their version of this song on their LP There’s a Kind of Hush All Over the World.

In 1964, Herman’s Hermits were the #2 British Invasion band, and although they didn’t last too long, they had some great 45’s.  They formed in Manchester in 1963 as Herman & The Hermits and Mickie Most their producer emphasized a simple, non-threatening, clean-cut image for them.  Peter Noone was the frontman and he was the only one that anyone has ever been interested in and he left the band in 1971.  By the time Noone left the group, they had notched up record sales of 51 million (they even outsold The Beatles in 1965) and appeared in several films and he was not even 25.

When you call a woman a “jezebel”, you are labeling her as being sexually promiscuous and seriously lacking in morals.  Men will sometimes call a woman a Jezebel if she brazenly defies society’s norms like painting her face which the real Jezebel did to show defiance.  A Jezebel is usually thought of as a female who seeks attention from everyone and one who is willing to do anything or will use anyone to get what she wants.  She would use her beauty which she knows she has to her advantage to lure in her next victim.

The Old Testament story of Jezebel is fascinating, as she is one of the Bible bad girls and she struggles to bring pagan worship to the kingdom of Israel, where the Hebrew’s worship their God Yahweh.  Jezebel was a Phoenician princess, coming from a place where human sacrifice was common, and in her land Baal the pagan god of fertility was worshiped.  She marries King Ahab and becomes the power behind the throne, instituting many gods, ritual sex, and temple prostitutes.  Baal had a cohort named Asherah, who was his mother and his mistress and their worshipers engaged in immoral sex a “sympathetic magic”, which was one of the oldest and most popular forms of magic which used dolls, candles and other objects to cast spells.  The pagan worshipers believed that their gods would let them have children, provide them with good crops, healthy livestock and other material wealth.  Although these worshipers might have to appease Baal by sacrificing their own child, where the priests of Baal would throw them into a fiery furnace.  Baal appealed to man’s basic inclinations providing his worshiper’s economic promise.  Baal brought the rains, blessed the earth, made the rivers run with honey, mothers gave birth to healthy children, and with his great power, even the dead could be raised.

It was common during this era for the king to establish worship facilities for any of his foreign wives to make them comfortable.  Sacred prostitution was common throughout the ancient world and it was associated with Ashtoreth the chief Canaanite goddesses and the whole idea of temple prostitutes is about women having the power, and they would only fornicate in a temple with others that worshiped the same gods or goddesses that they do.  Stories of sexual degradation and depravity may have made Jezebel’s image overly sexualized, and although she was one evil bitch, there are no accounts of her engaging in sexual promiscuity, especially since she surrounded herself with eunuchs who could not commit adultery with her and she jealously guarded her relationship with her husband.  Jezebel was interested in her own goals. as the source of obsessive sensuality, unbridled witchcraft, hatred of male authority and false teachings

As a three-year drought plagued Israel, Elijah the great prophet went to Ahab to challenge 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to a contest on Mount Carmel to decide who was the true God. Yahweh or Baal.  Elijah triumphed in this fierce contest, by calling on God to send down fire on a water drenched altar.  Elijah then commanded the people to seize the prophets of Baal and they were executed.  God sent the rain he had promised and the drought ended.  Ahab told his wife Jezebel that Elijah had killed the prophets.  Jezebel became enraged after all of the fake prophets were killed, so she vowed to kill Elijah.  She sent a message to Elijah, informing him that she was going to kill him.  In the end, she is thrown from a high window, and her body is devoured by dogs.  Jezebel has become synonymous with evil and licentiousness, but like other powerful women, her reputation is based largely on what her opponents have said about her.

If ever a devil was born
Without a pair of horns it was you
Jezebel it was you
If ever a pair of eyes promised paradise

It was you
Jezebel it was you
If ever a devil’s plan was made to torment man,
It was you

Deceiving me, grieving me, leaving me blue
Jezebel it was you
If ever a devil was born
Without a pair of horns it was you

Jezebel it was you
If ever a pair of eyes promised paradise
It was you
Jezebel it was you

If ever a devil’s plan was made to torment man,
Deceiving me, grieving me, leaving me blue,
Jezebel it was you
Even had I never known a lover such as you

Forsaking dreams and goals
For the silent scorn of your charms
Jezebel
If ever a devil’s plan was made to torment man

Deceiving me, grieving me, leaving me blue
Jezebel it was you
Night and day
Every way

Oh Jezebel
Jezebel
Jezebel

Written for Song Lyric Sunday prompt Anguish/Misery/Torment.

28 thoughts on “Made to Torment Man

  1. Peter Noone was thought to resemblance to the character Sherman in the TV cartoon The Bullwinkle Show, although he misheard the name as Herman and he became Herman after that.

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  2. I remember the Frankie Laine version but not Herman’s Hermits. I featured the Frankie Laine song “Rawhide” on my blog Friday. Good choice for the prompt.

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    1. Thanks Willow. I am writing a post for SLS three weeks from now where this guy makes love with his girl on under the willow, so it is a bit of a coincidence to hear from you at this moment.

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