Who played the guitar in Suicide is Painless from MASH?

I know Johnny Mandel wrote the tune and Robert Altman’s 14-year-old son wrote the lyrics but I can’t for the life of me find out who played the strings so beautifully …

Tommy Tedesco.

I believe it was written for Ken Prymus to sing and play in the movie.

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Moving thread from General Questions to Cafe Society (and one of my favorite songs of all time, btw).

That’s the guy:


Selbstmord ist schmerzlos?

Nah, too faint a trace, running down the leg…

During the “Last Supper” sequence, Ken Prymus sang it but Corey Fischer played the guitar (good chance he was overdubbed, though).

Yeah, I was assuming Tedesco, from the Wrecking Crew of LA studio musicians. Co-written by Robert Altman’s son. As I recall the story, dad got a flat seventy grand for directing, while in the space of a decade Mike made “over a million” in royalties, as of 1980. Which was before syndication.

How ironic that nearly all those royalties came from the TV show, which used an instrumental version of the song.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. :slight_smile:

That’s why Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics for the Star Wars theme from TOS. Royalties!!! If you’ve ever read them, they’re incredibly inane.

I struggle to believe the son wrote the lyrics. They are rather more world weary, literary and worldly than I would expect from a fourteen yr old. I wonder rather if there wasn’t some financial or taxation reason for saying he did.

Johnny Carson is credited with co-writing “Johnny’s Theme” with Paul Anka although I suspect his actual contribution was writing his name. Apparently the song generates $400,000 a year in royalties which the Carson estate gets half.

Nitpick: That would be Star Trek. Not Star Wars.

Bill Murray wrote lyrics for the Star Wars theme.

Maybe, maybe not … He was evidently a creative kid, going by the fact he went on to become an artist (still checking this out) rather than something more prosaic.

And the lyrics profound? Not to me - his dad wanted something inane for the priceless Last Supper scene, and got it.

But shit, we all find meaning in different ways. You will never know believe the ways Blue Oyster Cult have spoken to me over the years.

Or the Bee Gees