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Nick The Lounge Singer - the origin story of Bill Murray's hit SNL crooner

by Pierce King. Published Tue 02 Feb 2021 02:26

Learning to play the piano proves to be the final piece of the puzzle for Phil Connors when putting together his perfect Groundhog Day and this isn't the first time music came to the rescue for Bill Murray.

In 1977, the comedy hero gave birth to Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live, a crooner whose talents were inversely proportional to his confidence.

Nick was an instant hit with fans on SNL, a sleazy but lovable lounge singer who's party piece was to sing movie theme songs.

Until Nick came along, Murray, who had joined the cast in January of '77 after Chevy Chase's sudden departure, found himself playing second fiddle on the iconic NBC sketch series.

Bill recalled: "I was just dying on the vine,

"Then somebody gave me this shower-soap thing in the shape of a microphone, and I took off with it and wrote this singer sketch."

Murray played the character just 13 times on SNL (including once in 1999 at the 25th anniversary special and again in 2015 for the 40th), always with Paul Shaffer tickling the ivories.

The most memorable of the sketches featured Nick's rendition of the Star Wars theme, with ridiculous lyrics added, inside a crowded ski lodge, which you can watch in the video box here.

(Murray shared an Emmy with the SNL writing staff, his first, when the show won outstanding writing in a variety series in 1977.)

Shaffer returned as musical director on A Very Murray Christmas, which again scooped Emmy honours and which you can still watch on Netflix.

The hourlong special, set inside New York's Carlyle Hotel during a snowstorm, is packed with stars and holiday tunes (Miley Cyrus and George Clooney have duets with Murray).

This is, after all, the same Murray who shattered the fourth wall to lead the cast and crew of 1988's hit Xmas flick Scrooged with a sing-along of 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart' during the film's closing credits.

We just love any moment Bill is allowed to freestyle with a microphone... "Feed me Seymour, Feed me!"


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