My Chemical Romance’s 2004 sophomore record Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge catapulted the band to new heights and not only put them at the forefront of the emo scene, but also rewarded the band with mainstream success. With anticipation through the roof by the time it came for them to release The Black Parade, the band took full advantage of by persuading Liza Minelli to make a surprise appearance on the record.
It was 2006 by the time My Chemical Romance would eventually release the album and, in the years that had passed, the group had established their position as now one of the hottest properties in the world of music. With the army of adoring fans waiting in the wings for new material, they didn’t disappoint with The Black Parade which featured hits such as ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ and ‘Teenagers’ which would help the album to sell over three million copies in the United States alone.
Despite the fan favourites, My Chemical Romance managed to secure a hidden gem on the record which arrived as the often-overlooked that is Liza Minelli cameo on ‘Mama’. Producing a golden moment on the album, the Hollywood star delivers the emphatic line: “And if you would call me your sweetheart, I’d maybe then sing you a song.”
In the years that followed their unlikely collaboration, Speaking My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way reflected on Minelli’s contribution in an interview with the New York Times: “I love Liza Minnelli,” he said. “The Black Parade was very theatrical, and we had this song ‘Mama’, and I said, ‘You know, it would be really great in this one part to get Liza’.”
He continued: “Rob Cavallo, the producer, made a couple of calls and she said she would love to do it. We recorded that remotely — we were in Los Angeles, at Capitol, and she was in New York with a different engineer. It was really cool. The first time I got to speak to her was through the mixing board.”
In 2011 during a conversation with Village Voice, MCR’s charismatic leaderdivulged more information about the left-field collaboration, saying: “I wanted a voice to finally talk back to me, and I wanted somebody kind of motherly, but who was also a survivor, had been through a lot, but was rooted in theatre. She was the first person that came to mind, and then [producer Rob] Cavallo had made a phone call to her assistant, and that was it. She did it for free and she was happy to do it.”
Listen to ‘Mama’, below.