Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Hot Hot Hot" by Buster Poindexter

Song#:  3357
Date:  12/12/1987
Debut:  95
Peak:  45
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Soca, Calypso, Pop

Pop Bits:  In the 70s, David Johansen was the lead singer/songwriter of the hard rock band New York Dolls. With their androgynous look and glam/punk sound, which predated the existence of those two genres, the band proved to be highly influential. They were able to record two albums in '73 and '74 that were critically acclaimed, but sold very little. Inner struggles led to the band breaking up 1976. Johansen then set out for a solo career and issued out a well-reviewed self-titled debut in 1978, but like the LPs from the Dolls, it hardly sold. Still, he'd continue to record and perform with his band over the next several years. At some point following his 1984 album Sweet Revenge, Johansen started listening to early rock 'n' roll and jump blues records. He also frequented a New York club called Tramps where many blues artists performed. It wasn't long before Johansen got the itch to perform some of the old tunes he had been hearing. However, he didn't want to perform them in his own shows because it wasn't what people would want to hear if they bought a ticket to see David Johansen. Therefore, he developed a show around a new persona named Buster Poindexter, a pompadour sporting, joke telling, martini swilling bandleader. Johansan's regular band would join in as the Banshees of Blues. Johansen booked a few nights at Tramps and debuted his new creation. The show was a success and it eventually led to a contract with RCA. A self-titled debut album was recorded and this first single released. Thanks in part to promo appearances and a popular MTV video, the song started to catch on. It got to #11 on the Dance chart and nearly cracked the Pop Top 40. The album would sell well and reach #40. The song and album would end up being Johansen's biggest chart successes. Johansen would record three more albums under the Buster Poindexter name and has continued to perform shows as the character. In 2004, the New York Dolls reformed and recorded a new album that was well received. Two more LPs would follow.

ReduxReview:  I just didn't get the whole Buster Poindexter thing back in the day. I found the character annoying, the video goofy, and the song a bit ridiculous. Yet the tune attracted people to the dance floor and soon it was being played at about every wedding reception. A friend of mine bought the album and I had to endure listing to the whole thing for a period of time as they loved it. These days I have a better appreciation for what Johnasen was trying to do. Spurred on by his love of these songs, he developed a way to perform them and yet keep it separate from his day job, so to speak. He actually did do a nice job with the songs and I kind of dig the records now. This tune still kind of remains a party classic and I don't mind joining a conga line if the song come on.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally written and recorded by soca/calypso artist Arrow (aka Alphonsus Cassell). Born on the island of Montserrat, Arrow became a major soca music star following his 1972 debut album. His profile was raised in 1983 when he recorded "Hot Hot Hot." The single did well enough to reach #59 on the UK chart. He would then score a #30 UK hit the following year with "Long Time." While Arrow wouldn't be able to reach the US Pop chart, after the success of Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot," Arrow placed a couple of song on the US Dance chart including the 1988 #23 "Groove Master." Arrow would pass away in 2010 from cerebral cancer.


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