Follow TV Tropes


Music / Head Hunters

Go To

Head Hunters a 1973 album by jazz icon Herbie Hancock, often regarded as his best. It's best known for the popular tracks "Chameleon" and "Watermelon Man", which showed a fusion between Jazz and Funk. The record is one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time. In 2007 Head Hunters was added to the National Recording Registry for being culturally, historically and aesthetically important.


Side 1

  1. "Chameleon" (15:41)
  2. "Watermelon Man (6:29)

Side 2

  1. "Sly" (10:15)
  2. "Vein Melter" (9:09)



  • Herbie Hancock: electric piano, clavinet, synthsizer
  • Bennie Maupin: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, saxello, bass clarinet, alto flute
  • Paul Jackson: electric bass guitar, marimbula
  • Bill Summers: congas, shekere, balafon, agogo, cabasa, hindewhu, tambourine, log drum, surdo, gankogui, beer bottle
  • Harvey Mason: drums

Vein melting tropes:

  • Alliterative Title: "Head Hunters".
  • Cephalothorax: The pianist's head on the album cover is pretty large compared to the rest of his body.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Underground Comics artist Victor Moscoso and shows the golden pianist wearing a mask that is part traditional African, part tape-head demagnetizer.
  • Epic Rocking: The full version of "Chameleon" is over 15 minutes long.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Bill Summers plays the riff from "Watermelon Man" by blowing across the necks of beer bottles tuned to pitch by filling them with different amounts of water.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fruit Cart: "Watermelon Man' was inspired by Hancock's recollection of a local street vendor selling watermelons during his youth.
  • Hot as Hell: "Vein Melter", so hot it melts your veins.
  • Instrumentals: It's an instrumental album.
  • Longest Song Goes First: The album kicks off with the almost 16-minute "Chameleon".
  • Meaningful Name: The album is named after Hancock's band The Headhunters.
  • Non-Appearing Title.: The album title does not appear.
  • One Head Taller: The pianist on the album cover. And what a head! In a case of Fridge Brilliance it may be the head worth hunting for!
  • One-Man Song: "Watermelon Man".
  • Record Producer: Herbie Hancock and David Rubinson.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Watermelon Man" originally appeared on Hancock's Takin' Off in a different version.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Sly" is a homage to Sly and the Family Stone.
    • "Chameleon" has been covered by numerous jazz artists, from Maceo Parker, Buddy Richs, even to reggae musicians Sly & Robbie, sampled by countless rap artists, most famously by Tupac Shakur on 2Pacalypse Now during the tracks "If My Homie Calls" and "Words of Wisdom".
    • "Watermelon Man" has been sampled a lot too, most famously by Madonna on the track "Sanctuary" on Bedtime Stories.
    • "Vein Melter" was sampled by PJ Harvey and John Parish on their album Dance Hall At Louse Point.