This Week In The 80’s: Toni Basil Sues ‘Em All!
It’s 1983. It’s 1983. Men At Work supplant Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “Maneater” in the #1 spot (which has been there for the past four weeks) with “Down Under” where it will stay for four weeks as well. Before MTV was a household name (which it was on it’s way to becoming at this point), local affiliates started seeing that music videos were the future and started producing their own local video shows. This weeks countdown contains a handful of videos I remember seeing on these types of shows including “Down Under” and “Maneater”, “Goody Two Shoes” by Adam Ant, “Allentown” by Billy Joel and “Stray Cat Strut” by The Stray Cats. The biggest video, however, was “Mickey” from Toni Basil. The video took local video shows and MTV by storm. Basil was the first person to produce, direct and choreograph her own video and she even wore her own high school cheerleading outfit in the video. It reached #1 in late ’82 and this week it sits at #6.
Basil is considered one of the biggest one hit wonders to come out of the 80’s but, unlike a lot of other one hit wonders, she didn’t make a hefty sum of money from her single. Why? She didn’t write the song. “Mickey” is a cover of the 1979 song “Kitty” from a group called Racey. Basil changed the name from Kitty to Mickey and added the famous “hey Mickey” chant as well. The changes weren’t big enough to consider it an original composition so some of the proceeds of the record sales went to the original writers. While Basil did see some money, the rest stayed with the record company. Basil has filed a good number of law suits trying to recoup the money she believes she’s earned and owed but, to date, none have panned out. While her music career never panned out, she did have a successful career as a dancer and choreographer even doing the choreography for Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do as well as worked on the famous Gap commercials that featured swing dancing.
This Week In The 80’s is a weekly look at the Top 40 charts with Eric Vardeman. His Twitter handle is @ericvardeman.