Sunday, August 9, 2020

"Oh Yeah" by Yello

Song#:  3220
Date:  08/08/1987
Debut:  88
Peak:  51
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Synthpop, Electronic

Pop Bits:  This Swiss group was originally formed by Boris Blank and Carlos Perón in the late 70s. By 1979, they brought on board Dieter Meier and the trio became Yello. Their sound, which included a lot of samples (created sounds, not samples of other music/songs), danceable rhythms, and the unique voice of Meier, attracted Mercury Records. They would record two albums that didn't attract much attention except for a couple of minor entries on the US Dance chart. Their third album, You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, did better with two tracks reaching the US Dance Top 20 and one song hitting the Swiss Top 10. After that step forward, Perón left. Blank and Meier continued on and recorded their fourth LP, 1985's Stella. That album topped the Swiss chart and would contain their second Swiss Top 10 and first US Dance Top 10, "Vicious." Also on that album was the track "Oh Yeah." That song got picked up for use in the comedy flick Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but there was no soundtrack album released. Due to the song getting attention from the film, it got released as a 12" single in the fall of '86 and got to #35 on the US Dance chart. Then the tune ended up in the 1987 film The Secret of My Success, which helped garner it more attention. It wasn't put on the movie's soundtrack, but since its popularity increased, a slightly updated version was pushed out as a single. It made the US Pop chart and just missed out on the Top 50. The song would then be included on the US version of Yello's 1987 album One Second, which topped out at #82. The duo wouldn't reach the Pop chart again, but through the 90s they would have several songs on the Dance chart including two more Top 10s. They would also score a #1 Dance hit in 2006 when a remix of this song titled "Oh Yeah 'Oh Six" got released.

ReduxReview:  For a long while I thought this song was put together by Art of Noise. The sound of the track went right along with what that group was doing at the time. It took a while before I figured out it was Yello. While it wasn't a big chart hit, the song has had a long life of its own. Pretty much everyone knows it. Just go up to someone and go "bonk-bonk, chk-a-chk-a-chk-ahhhh" and they know exactly what you are referring to. They may not know the name of the performer, but they know that catchy little riff and groove. I'm guessing it didn't become a chart hit because it is one of those little ditties that is fun for a party or one-time listen. You don't really want to have it repeated every hour on the radio as it would become annoying. Still, it didn't need to be a hit. I'd describe it as a musical catchphrase. Once it entered pop culture, it had a place to live and thrive. As a single, the track is a fun listen once in a great while. The genius of it is how well it worked in other areas of entertainment and marketing.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Due to its use in movies, this song has been associated with lust. Not just for a person, but even products such as when the Ferrari is first seen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It has been used in many films, TV shows, and ad campaigns including She's Out of Control, Opportunity Knocks, South Park, American Dad, The Simpsons, The Office, Glee, The Goldbergs, Twix candy, Honda cars, and Dominoes Pizza. The prolific use of the tune made it instantly recognizable for decades. It's one of those tracks that you'd swear was a hit, yet it barely made it halfway up the Pop chart. Blank and Meier smartly pushed their recordings out for movie/TV/ad use early on, including this song, and it paid off well for them. The duo are still together as of this posting date and making music. In 2020, they released their first album in eight years, Pulse. Its first single "Waba Duba" has a vertigo-inducing video to go along with it.

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