by Pierce King. Published Tue 02 Feb 2021 02:26 am
Learning to play the piano is proving to be the final piece of the puzzle for Phil Connors as he puts his perfect Groundhog Day together, and this isn’t the first time music has come to the rescue for Bill Murray.
In 1977, the comedy hero gave birth to Live Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday night, a pop singer whose talents were inversely proportional to his confidence.
Nick was an instant hit with fans of SNL, a dingy but lovable lounge singer whose party piece was singing movie theme songs.
Until Nick caught up, Murray, who had joined the cast in January 1977 after Chevy Chase’s sudden departure, played second fiddle on the legendary NBC sketch series.
Bill remembered, “I just died on the vine,
“Then someone gave me this shower soap thing in the shape of a microphone and I took it off and wrote this singer sketch.”
Murray only played the character 13 times on SNL (including once in 1999 for the 25th anniversary special and again in 2015 for the 40th anniversary), always with Paul Shaffer, who tickled the ivory.
The most memorable of the sketches featured Nick’s rendition of the Star Wars theme with ridiculous text in a crowded ski lodge, which you can see in the video box here.
(Murray shared an Emmy with the SNL writing staff, his first when the show won outstanding writing on a variety show in 1977.)
Shaffer returned as musical director for A Very Murray Christmas, which again earned Emmy honors and which you can still watch on Netflix.
Set at New York’s Carlyle Hotel during a snowstorm, the hour-long special is packed with stars and Christmas music (Miley Cyrus and George Clooney do duets with Murray).
This is the same Murray, after all, who smashed the fourth wall to lead the cast and crew of 1988 hit Xmas Flick Scrooged with a sing along to “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” during the credits of the film.
We love every moment when Bill gets to play freestyle with a microphone … “Feed me Seymour, Feed me!”