Writing and recording
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" was recorded "live in the studio" in a single take during a six-hour session at Beck Studios in Wellingborough on 26 January 1979. Four additional songs were also recorded: "Boys"; "Bite My Hip"; the reggae tune "Harry", which was about Deborah Harry, the lead singer of Blondie; and "Some Faces". Of these recordings, only two were released. "Harry" surfaced in 1982 as a B-side to the single "Kick in the Eye", while "Boys" served as a B-side to "Bela Lugosi's Dead", and later was re-recorded at Beck Studios in 1979. Alternate versions of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" also included a portion of the early demo recording of their next single, "Dark Entries".
All four band members are credited as writers of the song: vocalist Peter Murphy, guitarist Daniel Ash, drummer Kevin Haskins and bassist David J (as David Haskins). David J has claimed that he wrote the lyrics.