Friday, January 25, 2008

Back to the 80's: Jimmy The Hoover

Where else but in the 80s could Sex Pistols Svengali Malcolm McLaren and Culture Club producer Steve Levine hook up with a group that featured a Zambian bassist?

That's the story of Jimmy The Hoover, a group that had its one and only hit in June 1983 with the infectious "Tantalise (Wo Wo Ee Yeh Yeh)," which hit No. 18 on the charts. Released on the small Innervision label (Wham was once the label's other act), the single was produced by Levine and the band was managed by McLaren, who also thought up the band's name.

Download "Tantalise (Wo Wo Ee Yeh Yeh)" by Jimmy the Hoover

Among the band's members was Flinto Chandia, a Zambian studying in London who met vocalist Derek Dunbar. Dunbar had briefly lived in Zambia while his father worked there. And while he was passionate about punk rock, he apparently didn't bat an eye when Chandia introduced the African sounds such as the box guitar into their jam sessions. Their first record was "Tantalise" and as it was shooting up the charts, Chandia was contacted by British authorities. Because he was a college student from a foreign country, he was not permitted to work in England. So they told him he had to go back to Zambia and apply for a work visa. It was initially refused – and that apparently was the last straw for the band, already rife with internal tensions.

Back in his native land, Chandia turned to sculpture. And apparently he's quite successful.

So there you go. Another story of rock 'n' roll heartache. But this time, it resulted in one of the most unique singles of the 80s. As always, enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Daniel Dawson

Beleive it or not this is my uncle's band! Bit cheesey but i love him! Don't believe me? Reply to this comment and ill get back to ya!

Rob said...

OK, I'll bite. Which group member is your uncle? And what additional things can you tell us about his group that will augment this blog post?

Becci Aryal said...

I have spent forever looing for this song - but I remember it being accredited to Jaluka. Me and my mates at boarding school used to bop along to it in the early 80's in Harare! I am so happy to have found the MP3 so I can put it on my MP3 player - music for running to.

drummergirl said...

I luv u. This was a fave track in my early teens & have searched for it everywhere. Thank God or u & YouTube.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to hear this great song again. It's been years since I've last heard it (KROQ in LA used to ocassionally play it) although I was searching for years. The Internet has changed that for good!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob, blooming marvellous to hear this again! Irresistable beat that had me bopping with delight. Thanks :)

what_about_her said...

Hi Rob,

I ran across something fairly interesting that involves Jimmy the Hoover and I was wondering if you'd be able to shed some light on it since you're the only person I can contact who has written anything about Jimmy the Hoover.

There is a Sri Lankan band called Gypsies who have been around since the 70's and they released a song called "Ojaaye" back in 1989. This song is basically a Sinhalese version of Jimmy the Hoover's song Tantalize - have a look

The Gypsies song is pretty much a Sri Lankan classic now and the band is widely famous and in no small part due to this song which pretty much boosted their careers in the 90's. There isn't much information on either of these bands online especially when it comes to ownership rights and whether or not this song was a cover or just a blatant rip-off

So here's my question - which came first? Jimmy's was released in 1983, and Gypsies released theirs in 1989, but it's worth noting that proper recording studios and equipment weren't available in the country till the mid-80's.
Are they both covers? Another poster has mentioned the band Jaluka...