One Hit Wonderland: Rednex
Okay, so I know the lyrics go “If it hadn’t been for Cotton-Eye Joe / I’d been married long time ago”. Still, it sounds like Swedish folk song-stealing bastards in Rednex had no intention of pronouncing any of the words, instead favouring the maintenance of a terribly stereotypical American South accent over simple clarity. Oh dear.
In 1994, the Scandinavian eurohouse band decided to take advantage of the song by reinvigorating it with a beat that people in nightclubs surrendered themselves to. It used the fearful musical combination of harmonicas, fiddles and banjos and even had a woman have a guest MC-style breakdown (that was also ridiculously hard to understand) half way through. That’s a 90s recipe for success if ever you see one, you’ve got to admit.
Rednex did well and deservedly so, given the fact they managed to unite most of Europe with it. Alongside the UK, it also managed number one in Austria, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and the tough Swiss market. New Zealand also fell under its spell, even though Australia kept it at number eight despite falling in love with ‘Shaddap You Face’ by Joe Dolce. What a weird world we live in.
For some reason, the song went on to become a massive hit among sports teams in the US, much like recent One Hit Wonderland entry ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ by Baha Men, though this manages to make me personally embarrassed. After all, I’m a Pittsburgh Penguins fan and I’ve endured this song on coverage of Pens games during entire winters (I counted once hearing it four times in five days – a painful experience, and I wasn’t even in the Mellon Arena!).
Still, you have to shrug these kind of things off. Like pretty much every one-hit wonder, it’s something you look back on after a few years and feel guilty for enjoying, but the fact was that you did, and a heavily-suppressed tiny little part of you always will. Give that slice of yourself some love and listen one more time:
By Matt Gardner