Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Shoppin' from A to Z" by Toni Basil

Song#:  1354
Date:  02/26/1983
Debut:  83
Peak:  77
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Novelty

Pop Bits:  Basil's single "Mickey" was a unexpected platinum #1 hit that ended up becoming an 80s classic. With its famous cheerleader refrain and choreographed video, the unconventional song was going to be tough to follow-up. The label could either go with a straight pop song or they could try to replicate the success of "Mickey" with another quirky single. They chose to do the latter and this track from the US version of Basil's album "Word of Mouth" was released. The oddball tune featured more chanting (of a grocery list) and moved Basil towards the novelty category. Despite a comedic dance video and push from the label, folks weren't buying it and the song quickly disappeared.

ReduxReview:  I will admit that I liked this song back in the day. I thought it was fun and I'd bop around shouting out the list. However, I do think this was probably the worst song they could have chosen to follow-up "Mickey." I mean, I can kind of understand their reasoning - it's another offbeat song with chanting that could be the basis for another hit MTV video. But in reality, this song A...awful, B...bad, C...crappy, D...desperate. The song may be cute for a kids album, but as a legit single, I don't think it works at all. And when put next to a powerhouse single like "Mickey," it sounds even worse. This song was mainly for the US market and it did hit the chart for a few weeks. So you'd think that on a Toni Basil "best of" collection, the song would be included. Nope. The US version of her BO collection does not include the song. I doubt it had anything to do with rights or publishing since Basil co-wrote it. So it leads me to believe that someone would rather forget this song happened. I imaging others would too. Basil had several other solid single contenders on "Word of Mouth" (which is a great album by the way), so the release of this one still baffles me. I think it killed her recording career. Again, the tune is silly fun and I don't mind hearing it, but as a single, N...NO!

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  In 1971, Basil would form a dance group with Don "Campbellock" Campbell call The Lockers. They were proponents of street dance and the sub-style called locking (developed by Campbell). Their performances got a lot of attention and soon they were making appearances on TV shows like "Saturday Night Live," the "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson, "The Carol Burnett Show," and "Soul Train." They are credited with changing dance and for helping to make street dance an art form. Basil stayed with the group until 1976 as did Fred Berry (aka Rerun from the TV show "What's Happening!!"). For this song's video, Basil got Berry to make an appearance. You can see him in the clip above.



  1. I knew it! When you said a song was coming up that you gave a three for "sentimental reasons," I said "he's going to give that awful Toni Basil song a three??!!" Come on!! You expect me to believe that this song is better than "Backfired" by Debbie Harry, or "Back To School" by the Four Tops? This thing is so bad, it's almost indescribable. One ridiculous thing about it that I will mention, is she couldn't even be bothered to buy something that starts with 'x'. "X....nothing!" Unbelievable. Thankfully, her next, and last, Hot 100 hit was exponentially better.

    1. Yeah, this was it! Yes it is horrible, but we had a lot of fun with it back in the day. Do I think it is better than the ones by Blondie and The Four Tops? Yeah, I do. The main reason is because this tune was meant to be ridiculous. The other two weren't... X...xanthan gum?

    2. It didn't even need to be a food...she clearly doesn't eat zippers....or does she?

  2. #2 on my list of worst charting songs of the decade. "X. Nothing" makes me angry.

    1. It is truly awful, but I admit that I have some kind of weird nostalgic feeling for the track. I think because back when I first heard it I thought it was funny and quirky. But the later what a dog it was. Plus the fact that I still joke about this song today means it stayed with me. I even quoted it not long ago. We were at the store and I couldn't find the coupons I thought I brought and I just went "someone stole my coupon so I said forget the flour..."