Hooked On A Feeling by Blue Swede (EMI, 1974)

Imagine you’re in a band and decide to do a cover of a popular song. Imagine then that you feel that you need to take the piece in a new direction with a different hook. Imagine that you think that the hook should be “ooga-chucka” over & over again. Now imagine that that crappy idea wasn’t even your own; it was someone else’s. Now imagine that your band name has been changed from Blue Denim to Blue Swede. You are now in hell or in the US during the Spring of 1974 when that song went to #1. Also, the “ooga-chucka” riff isn’t even original. It’s ripped off from Jonathan King’s 1971 version. Uff da.

If they left out that caveman mantra, the song might have been fine on its own, a brassy slice of Swedish soul sung in over-pronounced English. But instead, I was frightened as a child every time I heard this, which was plenty. I can imagine all of my brain synapses performing a simultaneous shutdown to never have the memory of hearing that song enter my cortex. Maybe this can be therapy for both of us. Listen and let go.

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  1. W.B.

     /  September 18, 2021

    This arrangement wasn’t even original (never mind the song itself); Jonathan King (of “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon” fame) first sprung those “ooga-chugga’s” on an unsuspecting public in Britain in 1971, taking it all the way to #23. (Neither B.J. Thomas’ original, nor Blue Swede’s cover, ever charted in the UK). But this is the version I’ve long preferred.

    There was also a time when people were banking on Blue Swede to have the long career over the long haul, and fellow Swedes ABBA – having trouble with follow-ups to their 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winner (and first U.S. Top 10 hit) “Waterloo” – were being written off as the proverbial “one-hit wonder”; this belief was validated when, later in ’74, Blue Swede would have another Top 10 hit with a sprightly cover of another oldie – The Association’s “Never My Love.” Alas, by the time ABBA finally got “the plot” in late 1975 with “S.O.S.” (followed by a string of hits in Europe through the early ’80’s, some of which made it here in the States, most notably “Dancing Queen”), Blue Swede was finished, and frontman/lead singer Bjorn Skifs went on to other things in his native Sweden.

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