You should know by now that I am rather fond of 80s pop music, and I am always on the look for some lost gems from that decade. I recently looked at some old singles charts, which helped me to determine if there are any more interesting songs out there, and this is definitely one of them. This is a song that I remember hearing a while back, and I never realised that this was from the 80s until recently.
Laid Back are a Danish duo consisting of Tim and John, who formed in the late-70s. Their first single was released in 1980, and their first album in 1981. But the song that caught my attention was “White Horse”. This features some rather minimal lyrics, including “don’t ride the white horse“, which is supposed to be slang for cocaine use, although they have always denied that this song is about that (many years later, Goldfrapp released a single called “Ride A White Horse”).
By the end, the lyrics change to “ride the white pony“. It seems that a lot of people couldn’t believe that this rather funky song was made by two men from Denmark, not really a country known for pioneering songs in this genre. The rather strange video must’ve helped to give this a boost too. This was also the song that led to their breakthrough in America, when in 1984 “White Horse” topped the Dance Chart, and also reached no. 26 on the Hot 100.
It was said that Prince was very fond of this, and influenced some of his songs around this time. This meant that they were briefly rather big stateside. As for the UK, in March 1984, “White Horse” reached an unofficial no. 90. After a quiet period, they returned in September 1989, when this was given another go, this time in remix form, although this was rather disappointing by comparison.
This version featured so many late-80s dance music clichés that you could almost cross them off as they came along. And it seemed that not too many people did want to dig this, as “White Horse ’89” reached an unofficial no. 81. Their biggest hit single in the UK actually came in the 90s, when in March 1990 “Bakerman” reached no. 44, and this also had a rather unusual video.
I’m fairly sure that around the late-2000s I heard “White Horse” on the radio, and I presumed that this was a new song, but I can’t find any evidence for there being remixes or samples of this on the chart at that time. I’m very pleased to have finally tracked this down. Laid Back have gone on to release many more singles and albums, and they recently celebrated their 40th anniversary together.