Down The Dumper – The 80s Part 9.

Here’s a look back at another pop star from the 80s who didn’t have as many hits as they should’ve. Toni Basil is as well-known for being a choreographer as a singer, and she also worked behind the scenes on several films, as well as appearing in some as an actress. Toni released her first single as early as 1966, but it wasn’t until about 15 years later that she had some chart success.

“Mickey” was first released in 1981, but it wasn’t a hit. But then it was re-released in 1982, and Toni and her song suddenly became a big success, reaching no. 2 in the UK, along with being a chart-topper in America and Australia, soon Toni was doing her thing on Top Of The Pops and in March 1982 she also appeared on the cover of Record Mirror. 50305322427_6037fd8056_k

“Mickey” did well, not just because it was so catchy, but also because of the famous video where Toni dressed as a cheerleader, with no-one realising she was about 39 at the time, and “Mickey” would be a Top Ten hit all over again about two decades later when it was covered by Lolly. Also in 1982, Toni’s first album “Word Of Mouth” was released and reached no. 15 in the UK. vlcsnap-00071

And there was also The Toni Basil Special. Most of the songs from “Word Of Mouth” had a video made, and all of these featured performances from Toni among many others. It looked to be rather big-budget stuff. The credits also mostly consisted of “performed by Toni Basil, choreographed by Toni Basil, produced by Toni Basil, directed by Toni Basil, a Toni Basil Production for Toni Basil Enterprises”-style credits, so this was clearly someone with a strong hold on their look and sound who was determined to succeed. vlcsnap-00063

So you would think that there would be much anticipation for what Toni would do next. In May 1982 the next single “Nobody” was released, but despite another memorable video and dance routine, this reached only no. 52, although it did spend four weeks on the chart. This turned out to be Toni’s second and final hit single in the UK, which must’ve been a disappointment. It seems that “nobody” by comparison was really interested in any follow-ups (I’m awfully sorry). vlcsnap-00070

Toni did release some more singles into the mid-80s including “Over My Head” and “Shoppin’ From A To Z” which had a rather amusing video, but “Mickey” will always be considered to be the peak of her career though. The special was eventually shown rather late at night on BBC1 in 1984, although the performance of “Mickey” was different, and instead of featuring cheerleaders, Toni was accompanied by her band, with what seemed to be Vyvyan from The Young Ones on guitar. Her moment of fame had long since passed even by this point though. vlcsnap-00068

Toni does remain a respected figure though for her pioneering work of choreography in music videos, and all these years on she can still do those dance moves that she is famous for, which the average septuagenarian probably can’t.

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