Saturday, January 12, 2019

"I Can't Wait" by Nu Shooz

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  2646
Date:  03/08/1986
Debut:  92
Peak:  3
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance-Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  Valerie Day and John Smith were teenagers when they happened to meet at a Portland, Oregon, area commune in 1975. A love of music connected them and they eventually started to hone their skills in clubs. At the time their focus was on Latin jazz, but then before the turn of the decade they formed a four-piece band whose focus was more soul oriented. As the band grew in size (to at least nine members), so did their popularity around Portland. They recorded and released an indie soul/jazz album titled Can't Turn It Off, which didn't do much to advance the band's career. After that, the band trimmed down in size and Smith began to work on new material for an EP titled Tha's Right. A local radio station began to play "I Can't Wait" from the EP and soon the track was in the station's Top 10. Yet despite the local success, no major labels were interest in the band. Then they got a lucky break. A Dutch DJ happened upon the track and he decided to do a remix. It started to get attention and soon the import vinyl of the remix became popular in the US. This finally prompted Atlantic Records to sign Nu Shooz. The label issued out the new version of the song, known as the Dutch Mix, and it quickly headed to #1 at Dance. The song then slowly gained momentum at Pop and it finally peaked at #3. It also made it to #2 at R&B and #38 AC. The crossover hit eventually went gold as did their associated Atlantic debut album Poolside (#27). It did well enough to earn the band a Grammy nod for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  The band's original version of this song was quite solid on its own, but the remix took it to a whole other level. It modernized the tune for the 80s and gave it hooks galore. Given the chance, there was no way this song was gonna miss. I remember back in the day all it took was that opening riff and folks ran for the dance floor. It's a great jam and no 80s playlist should be without it. The big joke around our house is that if anyone mentions they need new shoes, someone immediately goes "ba-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum, ba-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum." An everlasting gem from the decade.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  The DJ who came up with the remix for the song was Peter Slaghuis. He felt that the track really needed a hook of some kind and used a sampler on Valerie Day's voice to create the stuttering effect. Slaghuis did many remixes, but this one remained his most famous. In 1984, Slaghuis had his own unusual hit. He along with singer Bianca Bonelli formed the Euro disco duo VideoKids. Their song "Woodpeckers from Space" would be a left-field hit in Europe that got to #1 in Spain and Norway. It would have been a major hit for them in South Africa, but due to the political issues of the country they refused to let the single be released there. A producer named Costa Anadiotis jumped at the chance to do the song and got his studio group CafĂ© Society to record a cover version. It would end up topping the South African music chart for eight weeks.


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