In Jesus Christ Superstar, King Herod's song has a very particular music style.

I see also that it slightly changes from one version of the musical to another.

Which music style is King Herod's song in 1973 Jesus Christ Superstar? Is it the same style in other versions, like the 2018's?

Youtube videos as reference: 1973 version, 2018 version

1 Answer 1


It's Ragtime, though there's a dependence on how much the piano dominates the arrangement over the horns. Once the horns & woods [clarinet etc] start to take over, then it becomes more Trad Jazz, which some might term Dixieland. [If I remember my musical history correctly, dixieland doesn't have to have a piano at all, it's sometimes banjo instead.]

A 1920's early jazz style, epitomised by Scott Joplin. Its trademark is stride piano where the left hand is busy playing octaves in large leaps & takes quite some skill to perform

Popularised additionally in such movies as The Sting, which also brought the style back to a modern-day audience.

It may not be complete coincidence as the two movies were popular at the same time - JCS was written in about 1969/70 so the producers of The Sting may have heard it used in that & brought it even more to the fore.
Perhaps just zeitgeist.

Just for fun, a bit of live ragtime - this YouTube video is a friend of mine, Paul "Harry" Harris, playing The Beatles' Lady Madonna at Abbey Road Studios... on the original piano.


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