ooga chaka – hooked on a feeling history
Hooked on a Feeling (sans ooga chaka’s) was a #5 US hit for B.J. Thomas in 1968. It featured the backing of an electric sitar and, I gotta say, shows that whatever else you think of him, B.J. could sing.
The song’s next chart success was in 1972 when Englishman Jonathan King took it to #23 on the UK charts. It was Jonathan who added the ooga chaka chants – apparently B.J. just never thought of it!
Then, in 1974 Blue Swede, a Swedish band, perfected the art of ooga chaka chanting, accentuated them profoundly and took the song to #1.
jonathan or the swedes?
This week the initial dilemma for me was whether to drag you back to 1972 or 1974. Sure Jonathan King’s version didn’t get as high up the charts, but he’s such an interesting guy that he merits some attention. Ultimately two things swung me in the Swedish direction, however; first, some of Jonathan’s background is more than just a little suspect. Second, Jonathan’s version is pretty bad but Blue Swede’s version is even worse – a million times worse – so bad it would be a pity not to talk about it!
but first – a bit about jonathan
Jonathan King is one of those guys few people have heard of but who was huge in the UK music scene as a singer, songwriter, promoter and producer. He’s authored three successful novels and his autobiography was released last year.
As a singer, 13 of Jonathan’s 18 singles got to at least #29 in the UK singles chart. He wrote and had a hit with one of the great songs of the 60s; Everyone’s Gone to the Moon.
As a manager/producer he’s credited with discovering Genesis, The Bay City Rollers, and 10CC. He produced many of their hits.
In 1997 he was awarded the British Phonographic Industry Man of the Year Award.
In 2001 Jonathan was sentenced to seven years in prison for the sexual assault of five teenage boys between 1983 and 1989. He was very vocal in protesting his innocence and released on parole in 2005.
blue swede – not so tarnished but not so talented either!
Blue Swede formed in 1973. Björn Skifs, a top Swedish vocalist, was looking for a band to accompany him during his concerts and Blue Swede was the best he could find! They had a few hits, all of them covers of previous hits – you see, nowhere near as interesting as Jonathan… but, wait ’til I remind you of the song!!
The worrying part is that Björn Skifs is still producing the odd album and, yes, he still performs Hooked on a Feeling from time to time.
hooked on a feeling fax:
- Hooked on a feeling was written by B.J. Thomas’ childhood friend, American Mark James. Mark James was a professional song writer turning out some pretty well-known stuff including, The Eyes Of A New York Woman, Suspicious Minds (yep, Elvis!), Moody Blue and Always on My Mind. The latter was a hit for Elvis, Willy Nelson and The Pet Shop Boys, and won Mark James a Grammy.
- Hooked on a Feeling has been recorded by B.J. Thomas, Jonathan King, Blue Swede, Carroll Baker (a Canadian who did a country version and had a #1 hit), David Hasselhoff, and The Offspring (well, they used a sample in their song Special Delivery – just the ooga chaka part).
- Hooked on a Feeling sung by Vonda Shepherd appears in an episode of Ally McBeal.
- More significantly, The Blue Swede version is featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs movie Soundtrack (1992). See also blog entry for Little Green Bag.
- The ooga chaka bit comes from a song by Johnny Preston named Running Bear – a hit in 1959.
- Hooked on a Feeling lyrics.
a special treat – just for seventiesmusic fans.
Here, assembled together for the first time in one place, are the videos for the Hooked on a Feeling versions by B.J. Thomas, Blue Swede, and David Hasselhoff. You have to watch and see what happens when bad songs go badder! At least make sure you see the Blue Swede version – ooga chaka!!