Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Mickey" by Toni Basil

#1 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  1167
Date:  09/04/1982
Debut:  83
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Sometimes when an artist hits big with their first major single, it seems like they came out of nowhere. Toni Basil just showed up on MTV with a cool video and boom - #1 hit! Who the heck was she? There were plenty of folks (like myself) back then who had no idea she already had a long-standing career as a dancer/choreographer/singer/director/actor. I'd see plenty of things she had done (and seen her in them without knowing), but there is no way I would have connect them to the cheerleader in that video. Prior to "Mickey" Basil did plenty. She was a choreographer and dancer on TV music shows like "Shindig!" and appeared in major films like The Monkees' "Head," "Easy Rider," and "Five Easy Pieces." She even had a shot at a solo singing career with the 1966 single "Breakaway." But it wasn't until "Mickey" showed up that people really knew who she was. The song was actually recorded in 1980 for a UK label with the video done even before MTV began. It wasn't until she signed with Chrysalis and got a US release that the song and video broke. It was a massive, memorable hit that would go platinum. Her album, "Word of Mouth," would also do well reaching #22 and going gold. Basil also would do a "Word of Mouth" video album that would receive a Grammy nomination. Unfortunately, the lack of another Top 40 single got her labeled a one-hit wonder and years later she and the song would be placed at #5 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders list.

ReduxReview:  Yup. Loved it. The song was just hard to resist. Even haters of the song would still do the chant. I had no idea who she was but I loved the song and really love the album. She had a very distinct look and I ended up recognizing her on TV reruns and older movies. I think the first time I saw something older she did was on a rerun of "Laverne & Shirley." It was the 1978 episode when Laverne and Carmine were trying out for "West Side Story." Basil was in the episode and get this - her character's name was Mickie! I recognized her right away. And then I saw "Easy Rider" and noticed her again. She is still around mainly doing choreography. I saw her as a guest judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" a couple seasons ago. Anyway, most anyone alive in the early 80s knew this song. It's lost a little of its luster in later years, but the song is still fun.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song is actually a remake. The song, originally titled "Kitty," was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn and recorded by the UK group Racey. It was included on their hit debut album but not released as a single. Racey's original does not include the cheerleader chant heard on "Mickey." That was an addition provided by Toni Basil (as was the new title).  2) This song was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "Hey Ricky" for his debut album in 1983. It was released as a single and became his first single to chart reaching #63.


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