I know that I have said before that I am not really interested in the rock or metal music genres, but I felt that I had to do a piece on this group because this was one of those moments in the 90s that made me (and probably many others) simply go “huh?”. Whale (not to be confused with later group Noah And The Whale) were a rock group from Sweden.
In March 1994 “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” was released. This was a song about, it says here, “effluent women who bring homeless men home to have their way with them”. The video was soon saturated by MTV, which meant that this was shown rather frequently, and this was also a winner at the 1994 MTV Europe Music Awards. I bet Beavis and Butt-Head were fans. This reached no. 46 in the UK, and no. 102 in the US.
In July 1995, “I’ll Do Ya” was released, which reached no. 53, and in August 1995, their debut album “We Care” just missed the Top 40. But for some reason, somebody clearly felt that “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” still had the potential to be their big breakthrough hit that would make them stars. So this was then re-released in November 1995, and this time reached no. 15.
This turned out to be their first and only Top 40 hit single in the UK. But this did lead to a memorably shambolic performance on Top Of The Pops, and they must be the only act in that show’s history to attempt some crowdsurfing, although they weren’t having any of it. I don’t know if this was intended to be amusing, but I remember just laughing at all of this, it was definitely one of the more bizarre hits of this era.
As far as Swedish rock groups go, it was rather unlikely they were going to be as successful as Roxette or The Cardigans. Whale returned in July 1998 with “Four Big Speakers”, which reached no. 69, and in August 1998 “Crying At Airports” reached no. 94. Both of these were a collaboration with Bus 75. Whale split not long after, but they definitely did something rather different.