You have to admit it, we have a tendency to love all things cheesy and I am no exception to the rule. Although I have a very varied taste in both books and music I like to think I am a little more forgiving when it comes to cheesy pop songs.
What is it about certain tastless songs that makes us secretly love them? I personally believe life can be a very serious place for many of us and we enjoy these songs because they make us smile and fill us with a moment of pure happiness. I’m positive that at times when you turn on your radio and hear a ‘blast from the past’ a certain song will fill you with nostalgia and perhaps remind you of a more contented time.
My Top 3 Cheesiest Pop Songs of The 80/90’s
At No 3: Right Said Fred’s – “I’m too Sexy”
This single topped the American charts for 3 weeks in early 1992 however in the UK the song equaled the record for the most weeks at No 2 for six weeks in a row! Unfortunately the song never reached No 1 due to Bryan Adam’s “(Everything I do) I do it for you” hit record (which, in my opinion, was a good thing). The song was rated No 49 of the 50 worst songs ever! However, the song was listed as No 80 on the VH1’s 100 greatest songs for the 90’s.
I love this song because it’s just full of fun. I remember listening to it for the very first time and grinning at its simplicity and ability to make everyone get up and dance … I’m too sexy for my hat – what do you think about that? …total cheese! I love it!
At No 2 Joe Dolce – “Shaddap You Face”
Although many believe this song to be from Italy Joe was actually born to an Italian-American family in Painesville, Ohio. His song reached No 1 in the UK in February 1981 and stayed there for three weeks. This cheesy song also made it to No 1 in eleven other countries but only managed to peak to No 3 in the US. Now living in Australia, the National Folk Festival in Canberra featured a ‘Shaddap You Face Contest’ in April 2006 where artists were invited to perform their interpretations of the classic song which is still popular. Even after all these years, his song is most often mentioned in anti-lists of the catchy and the irritating. The words depict an Italian teenager who is being berated for his laziness by his caricature of a domineering Italian mother. Dolce has been know to describe the song as “controversial – saying it’s a record that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it”.
His catchy record kept the popular synthesizer group Ultravox off the No 1 slot with their fantastic hit, Vienna. I think “Shaddap You Face” was a song you could never take serious but I enjoyed the quirky tune a lot as a teenager because it was by a bloke in a hat playing a cute miniature mandolin.
At No 1 Tight Fit – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
This song has more credit than you might first give it credit for and has an extraordinary history. When this tune was first created there were no words to it and marketed to black audiences. By 1948 the song had sold about 100,000 copies in Africa and among black South African immigrants. Great Britain had lent its name to a style of African cappella music that eventually evolved into isicathamiya (also called mbube).
In 1961 this song became a number 1 hit in the US as adapted by a group called The Tokens. The song went on to earn at least US$15 million in royalties from covers and film licensing. Then, in the mid nineties it became a pop “supernova” when Warner Bros promoted it with the Ace Ventura films and licensed the song to Walt Disney for use in the film The Lion King. However things got a little out of hand when its spin off TV series and live musicals prompted a lawsuit on behalf of the impoverished descendants of Solomon Linda who originally wrote the song.
In 1982 The band Tight Fight released the song in the UK the male member dressed only in a leopard print loin cloth and the song became a massive hit and reached No 1 for three weeks in March 1982. The group released other material but due to both female singers leaving over lack of payment of royalties Tight Fit eventually disappeared from the music scene. Undoubtedly, the magic lives on for me and every time I hear the yodeling and “ah-wee-ooh-wee-ooo we-um-um-a-way,” on the radio or TV, I instantly start bopping along to the music and automatically feel a whole lot happier.
I personally think cheesy songs are good for the soul and we should play them a lot more often. Do you have any favourites and which ones come to mind right now?