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The Bee’s Knees: Illustrated Songs

Song Slides

Hello, and welcome to the Bee’s Knees, the weekly special here at Comic Booked where I take a look at some of the different ways people combine words and pictures. This week we’re taking a look at music, songs in particular, and the old fad that led to the modern music video.

Music videos have been around to some degree ever since there was the video to film them, and in the past few decades they have become more popular than ever. But the thought of illustrated songs goes back much further. Now, with the advent of the home video and YouTube, anyone can record a music video with very little effort and supplies. But even as early as the late 1890s, people would flock to theatres to watch actors posing to the latest hit, such as “My Honey Lamb” seen below.


My Honey Lamb CineWiki


It was an elaborate setup, considering the fact that this was in the silent film era and the music couldn’t even be a part of the film itself. Photographers had to work with the actors and models to get the perfect feel of the song and then incorporate it in the hand-colored pictures. Then the slides had to be executed right in time to the music, which would be sung and played live in the theater—there was a lot more to it than the jumping around and mouthing lyrics that we see today. These were illustrations, music in pictures.

Song Pictures

And that’s the bee’s knees for this week! Please join me next Friday for another way people blend words and pictures to create all-new forms of art. In the meantime, feel free to tell me in the comments section if there’s something you know of I should write about. How would you go about to put a song into a picture? Please share! The possibilities are endless!

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Comments (3)

I don't think My Honey Lamb had quite the same effect as Video Killed the Radio Star. Thoughts?


Sounds exhausting. Interesting read, as always!


yeah, nowadays we would just CGI it.

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