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Mar 16

DJ OTZI – “Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh)”

Popular100 comments • 9,396 views

#909, 22nd September 2001

otzi So the cruddiest number one of 2001 lands at the top in a week when a lot of people were not caring about music. And certainly, spending £1.99 on “Hey Baby” is one of the more aggressive ways you could find to not care about music. The song is a mugging of a rather sweet #2 hit from 1962 by Bruce Channel: his “Hey Baby” was hayseed bubblegum, a bag of folksy candyfloss with a harmonica hook hot enough that people assumed the Beatles swiped his idea.

Channel’s song does nothing to deserve this monkey’s paw resurrection, except be catchy. Otzi preserves that property – “Hey Baby” became an instant terrace hit – and puts the song on steroids, before welding on any 90s sample he can locate. Even our old chum “Uno, Dos, Tres, QUATRO!” gets a turn. Otzi’s main innovation is significant enough to land in the title – “Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh!)” – the two-note crowd participation hook he inserts. Anyone fortunate enough to have been on a bus or train when groups of men give lusty voice to the song will know how effective, and painful, this alteration is.

Crassness isn’t really the problem here though, it’s the marriage of crassness with a total severing of imagination. Add a touch of surreal invention to amped-up cover versions and you have the reliably entertaining Scooter, whose crossover audiences wouldn’t be as distinct from DJ Otzi’s as I’d like to believe. But there’s no invention in “Hey Baby”, just a brute force ramming of song into forebrain in the service of parties you wouldn’t want to be at. This kind of Eurostomp has a heritage (inevitably, Otzi turned in a cover of Opus’ deathless schlager-rocker “Live Is Life”) and a tenacity. People were buying it on the 10th of September. People were buying it on the 12th of September. Like the cockroaches set to survive armageddon, “Hey Baby” was resilient.

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Comments

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  1. 91
    Mark G on 25 May 2016 #

    As in “Wildcat” Gene Vincent?

  2. 92
    Izzy on 25 May 2016 #

    I wish. Actually it’s as in Achy Breaky Heart, the Sloop John B of 2015/16.

  3. 93
    Mark G on 26 May 2016 #

    I did think I was missing something blatantly obvious.

  4. 94
    Izzy on 26 May 2016 #

    It’s weirdly easy to miss. I’ve been in crowds, enjoying a sing-song of it, yet didn’t place it myself until I heard Spurs fans being slated recently for having their own version.

    Thinking about it, I’m not sure I’d’ve placed Sloop John B either. And no doubt ‘by far the greatest team … the world has ever seen’ has a proud lineage too, but if it does I’m none the wiser?

  5. 95
    Erithian on 26 May 2016 #

    It’s The Wild Rover: “And it’s no, nay never / No nay never, no more / Will I play the wild rover / no never no more.”

  6. 96
    Patrick Mexico on 27 May 2016 #

    That “Will Grigg’s on fire / Your defence is terrified” Wigan Athletic/Freed from Desire chant is terrific – not heard as good a football chant since 1995 and “Toon Toon Toon, let me hear you say Geordie.”

    Was convinced it would be based on Kings of Leon’s rather cringeworthy bunny in seven Popular years’ time…

    Also, are we still alive here? I am still very much alive, I wrote a passionate, intense TOTP 81 blog last Thursday that seemed to be mistaken as spam! And TPL is very much resurrected. Can’t wait to read this, been listening to all the Top 100 singles of 1990 and just up to the bit when Thatcher did one.

    Not sure if people share as much love as me for Ways of Love by Claytown Troupe, A Man Called Adam – Barefoot in the Head and Bakerman by Laid Back, mind…

  7. 97
    Izzy on 27 May 2016 #

    That Will Grigg number is tremendous, thank you indeed for bringing it to my attention.

  8. 98
    KUSOTTARE on 24 Aug 2020 #

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-EK91jzsEc

  9. 99
    Gareth Parker on 6 Jun 2021 #

    I actually got some comedy value out of this one! I would go with a very generous 4/10.

  10. 100
    Ospero on 5 Jan 2022 #

    Just saw Sbahnhof’s comment and have to be that guy: the umlaut in Ötzi’s name is not a Motörhead-style Heavy Metal Umlaut. That name – obviously picked before anyone thought he could break through outside the Germanosphere – is a shortening of his place of origin, the Ötztal (also the origin of the name of the most famous Bronze Age corpse, which was found in the area and likely contributed to DJ Ötzi picking that name).

    Anyway, yeah, this one is rubbish, but I’m kind of baffled as to why it generates the hatred it does. It’s terrible, but ultimately harmless. Then again, maybe you have to have lived through the horror that was his 2007 release “Ein Stern”, which (unlike this one, which didn’t even crack the top 10 in Germany) went to #1 here and went four times platinum. If you’ve never heard that one, I envy you. Three words: “DJ Ötzi ballad”.

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