Needs More Cowbell

Needs More Cowbell

Part of a series on Saturday Night Live. [View Related Entries]

Updated Nov 13, 2011 at 10:15PM EST by Brad.

Added Jul 08, 2009 at 11:04PM EDT by Triper.

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About

Needs More Cowbell is a catchphrase originally quoted in a Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell. This expression is typically used to indicate something needs more emphasis--or literally, when it needs more cowbell.



Origin

Aired on April 8th, 2000, the comedy sketch parodied VH!‘s music documentary series “Behind the Music” fictionalizing the studio recording of the 1976 song "(Don’t Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer Bruce Dickinson and Will Ferrell as fictional cowbell player, Gene Frenkle.

In the sketch, which is transcribed here, Dickinson (played by Christopher Walken) says “Well, guess what! I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!”

While the song actually includes a cowbell, Frenkle is a fictional character. In 2005, Washington Post reported that fans, even five years later, still asked the band about Frenkle.

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In July 2004, “more cowbell” made its first appearance on Urban Dictionary. A year later, Wired posted a timeline of the need for cowbell.

The Kansas City chapter of Paul Green School of Rock Music attempted to break the world record for most cowbells in a in December 2008. Also that year, MoreCowbell.dj was registered, with a program that would add cowbell (and Christopher Walken) to any song a user uploads.

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, an app called Cowbell2010 was sold on iTunes. The app gave users a virtual cowbell wrapped in the flag of the country of their choice.

Both Guild Wars and World of Warcraft have quests called “More Cowbell.” The phrase has been used as a band name and a title of a music blog. There is also a Christopher Walken Cowbell Soundboard.

Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays use cowbells to cheer on the team during games, a promotional tool that directly stemmed from the SNL skit.



Derivatives

How to Play the Cowbell (November 2006) 216,000+ views

More Cowbell – A Cowbell-only song (August 2007) 1,769,000+ views

Cowbell Hero (December 2007) 179,000+ views

The Beatles – “Drive My Car” cowbell remix (November 2008) 9000+ views

6 minutes of Will Ferrell playing the cowbell (May 2009) 214,000+ views

This is Cowbell/Sparta Remix (November 2009) 11,000+ views

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