Ellen Feiss: The Musical
You may remember Ellen Feiss as the most famous of the original “switchers”. Her 2002 Switch ad in which many thought Ellen appeared to be high spawned much controversy and internet fame for the then 14-year-old. I tracked Ellen down last year and interviewed her about the ad and life in general, but one thing neither Ellen nor I knew at the time was that her haunting visage had spawned a power-ballad love song of sorts.
I came across the song “Ellen Feiss Makes Me Hot” last week, and was so impressed by its awesomeness that I momentarily forgot how creepy this song is if you remember that Ellen was only 14 at the time of the ad, and so I threw together this little video tribute. Unfortunately I only had 40 seconds of footage to fill a 3-minute 24 second song, so be kind.
The song is the work of the brilliant Benj Edwards from request-a-song.com, the site that will make any reader-submitted idea into a song. I spoke to Benj about the song’s history, and whether or not he was familiar with Ellen before its creation.
“[The song] was requested by “David” around March 2003, and the song was released August 8th, 2003. I recall that the request was “Ellen Feiss Makes Me Hot” exactly. I kinda thought Ms. Feiss was cute at the time, so the subject seemed natural. I’ve always been a fan of Macs, and I collect them, so it was a good opportunity to weave some Mac lore into my music. (You can see my collection here at vintagecomputing.com)
I knew who Ellen Feiss was when I did the song, and had seen the ad. I kept abreast of the latest Mac news at the time, mostly because I had bought my first Mac ever (aside from having vintage Macs and a Mac SE as a kid) in early 2002 — the 15″ G4 iMac, and I was excited about Apple’s “Switch” campaign. I’ve been paying attention to every major Apple development since Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, and especially since the iMac launch in 1998.
I spent a very long time recording “Ellen Feiss” — I think there are something like 16 simultaneous vocal tracks on it at one point in the song (all me singing), but thanks to my wimpy mix, you can hardly tell. Overall, I wasn’t very satisfied with how the song turned out. Ironically, I was later surprised to learn that a number of our fans really loved the song and ranked it among their favorites, so maybe it’s better than I think.”
Damn straight it is, Benj! This song is stuck in my head, and not just because I had to listen to it for 3 hours while chopping together that video. I liked it so much I decided to send it to Ellen herself and get her take. (Luckily she was not wise enough to change e-mail addresses after our last interview). 🙂
“I think the song is surprisingly well executed,” says Ellen, “and I think it’s one of the most fun expressions of Feiss-love I’ve heard about. I am tentatively flattered, but I think considering the relatively involved orchestral arrangement, why use such obvious lyrics? We get it, my eyes were bloodshot. The best lyric is about how I’m probably freaked out.”
(Yes, it is already my ringtone).