Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Take Off" by Bob & Doug McKenzie

Song#:  0896
Date:  01/30/1982
Debut:  84
Peak:  16
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Novelty

Pop Bits:  Bob & Doug McKenzie were characters from the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV. Played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, the duo hosted a segment called "Great White North" for the show. Initially intended as a 2-minute filler tacked onto the end of the show for its Canadian broadcast, Moranis and Thomas mostly improvised a little talk show segment that played on a bunch of Canadian stereotypes. Audiences responded well and although not initially shown in the US, the duo caught on there too and soon they were basically required to perform a new sketch on most every SCTV show. Their popularity then moved to the recording studio where they cut an album called "The Great White North." It included this single that made it into the Top 20. The album got as high as #8 on the chart. A movie called "Strange Brew" followed doing moderate business. As normally happens, interest fell and the next Bob & Doug McKenzie album fizzled. After 41 segments on the show, 2 albums, and a movie, the fad had run its course. Moranis and Thomas would go on to revive the McKenzie's over the years in TV commercials, an animated series, and other appearances.

ReduxReview:  I think I just didn't know enough about Canadian culture to appreciate the McKenzie's. I couldn't figure out why they were so popular. I got real sick of people saying "take off" and calling each other "hosers." Pretty annoying, eh? I think the comedy parts of this song are weak, but the addition of a decent backing track and a good chorus featuring Geddy Lee (see below) made this novelty hit a big more tolerable than the norm. But not by much. Now I'm gonna grab my toque and take off to get a two-four, eh?

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Fellow Canadian and lead singer of Rush, Geddy Lee, provides vocals on this track. Oddly, it would be Lee's best chart showing in the US beating any single that Rush issued (their best being "New World Man" in 1982 which hit #21).  2) The album got a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Recording.


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