Tuesday, July 24, 2018

"Born in East L.A." by Cheech & Chong

Song#:  2474
Date:  09/21/1985
Debut:  73
Peak:  48
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Comedy, Novelty, Parody

Pop Bits:  The comedy duo of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong had been performing their stoner standup routines since the late 60s. As their popularity grew, the branched out to TV, records, and movies, including their 1979 cult classic film Up in Smoke. Their comedy albums resulted in six Grammy nominations including one win for Best Comedy Recording (for 1973's Los Cochinos) and a Top 10 hit with 1974's "Earache My Eye" (#9). In the 80s, they focused less on recording comedy albums, but they did get one out in 1985 titled Get Out of My Room. It was released around the same time as a mockumentary-style video of the same name that featured tracks from the album. One of the songs they recorded was this parody of Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born in the U.S.A." It was issued out as a single and nearly cracked the Pop Top 40, thanks in part to the song's associated video that got heavily played on MTV. The popular track would earn the duo their sixth and final (to-date) Grammy nod for Best Comedy Recording. It would also be their last single to reach the Pop chart. By this point in time the duo was experiencing some turmoil and it wasn't long before they separated and went their own ways. Later in the 90s, the pair reconciled and began making appearances together and have even done tours.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that I didn't much care for Cheech & Chong. They did their characters well, but for me the whole stoner thing quickly wore thin. They had a couple of other routines that were solid like "Earache My Eye" and "Sister Mary Elephant," but a lot of their stuff I didn't relate to, especially when the movies came out. I actually like both of them better now as actors on their own. This particular song had a good premise and a funny video. Like most novelties tunes, I'd rather watch the video than just hear the record. One listen and I'm pretty much done. However, I think Marin had a good idea here and apparently others though so to and it soon became a movie (see below).

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The duo basically wrote all of their material together, but this is one song where Marin wrote all the lyrics on his own (music was obviously by Springsteen). After the split, Marin got an offer to turn the song into a full-length feature film - without Chong. With their partnership already soured and nearly over, Marin decided to take on the project. He would write, direct and star in Born in East L.A., which was released to mixed reviews in the summer of '87. It initially did well its first week out, but then quickly died off. Yet when its run was done, it ended up being a small money maker for the studio.


1 comment:

  1. I’m back to commenting. 5/10 for me as well. Not one of my favorite novelty songs of this decade, but still ok. One ridiculous but awesome one is “Ronnie’s Rapp” by Ron & the D.C. Crew (1987). It peaked at No. 93 on the Hot 100 and even got some dance club playtime.