Mar 16

DJ OTZI – “Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh)”

Popular100 comments • 9,606 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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  1. 31
    Pink champale on 9 Mar 2016 #

    I can’t quite imagine ever choosing to listen to this, but I’ve got no problem with it existing and am surprised by how negative everyone’s reaction is.
    You all hate fun, etc.

  2. 32
    Rory on 9 Mar 2016 #

    @31: Maybe it’s the juxtaposition in the top banner of DJ Otzi’s mug and a young David Bowie which casts this in such a poor light. Speaking of which, what did you make of post-2000 Bowie, Tom?

  3. 33
    Pink champale on 9 Mar 2016 #

    Well, I am to Tom what DJ Otzi is to Bowie, but fwiw over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself starting to understand the claims people make for Heathen. Goodnight Uncle Floyd in particular has been on loop in my head.

  4. 34
    23 Daves on 9 Mar 2016 #

    #29 What’s also strange is how enthusiastically German audiences took to Sailor. Here they were just two-hit wonders, but their customes and songs about trips abroad and ladies made them perfect for the German Schlager scene (Here’s MKII Sailor performing happily to lots of Germans in the sun: https://youtu.be/COBIXAYczy4) And of course, Scooter copped the chorus for “Jumping All Over The World”.

    I have a German friend who constantly sends me Schlager YouTube clips, purely because she gets a kick out of my bemused reactions, I think. This is the one that stays with me most, Die Flippers “Ay Ay Herr Kapitän”: https://youtu.be/QKrzkwMCI-I

    It’s the way the drummer keeps gleefully ringing the bell, the Ted-and-Dougal-at-Eurovision suits, the sauntering ladies with telescopes – the whole thing is simultaneously hideous and fascinating. And horribly catchy.

    And every other Schlager song is about going on holiday as well, or going on a boating cruise. No wonder Sailor did so well.

  5. 35
    Tom on 9 Mar 2016 #

    I posted my “Bowie best to worst” list on FB and should replicate it here (well not HERE, but somewhere on the site). I really ought to go into more detail on the 90s and 00s stuff, I will try and make a last post on the thread if I have time (the next Popular entry is fairly big, not So Solid big, but big)

  6. 36
    Tom on 9 Mar 2016 #

    #29 That DJ Otzi clip is great – it makes him look like some kind of grizzled elder statesman of the scene, the Johnny Cash of Schlager.

  7. 37
    Phil on 9 Mar 2016 #

    Has Schlager changed its meaning over time? For me the word’s associated with those awful oompah Euro-hits from the 60s and 70s where the chorus invariably went BOMP, bomp, BOMP, bomp… What did the Casuals’ Jesamine (1968) have in common with Chiquitita (1979)? Listen to the chorus and sing along: BOMP, bomp, BOMP, bomp… I heard the Spanish-language release of Chiquitita on holiday in 1979, and had a (nightmarish? utopian?) vision of the whole of Europe united, millions of people across hundreds of miles singing along to a multi-lingual refrain. Which sounds like pretty much what happens with contemporary Schlager; one nation under a groove, indeed . Just a shame about the groove.

  8. 38
    lonepilgrim on 9 Mar 2016 #

    a song in this vein that I did get to hear at work parties soon after it came out was the Fast Food Song by the Fast Food Rockers (the one that goes “a Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut” etc.) which is even more soul destroying than this song – and which fortunately only got to number 2. Wiki informs me that DJ Otzi did a version which I can’t bring myself to check out. It also mentions the chorus was based on a Moroccan folk tune FWIW.

  9. 39
    katstevens on 9 Mar 2016 #

    ARGH of COURSE. Thanks to the comments above I have just realised that my utter revulsion towards this song actually stems not from Otzi (though he doesn’t help matters), but from it being linked to Dirty Dancing. My subconscious obviously remembered, even if my memory didn’t. I have age-old beef with that soundtrack.

  10. 40
    Sausagebrain on 9 Mar 2016 #


    Ah yes, I remember the Fast Food Rockers. When I were a lad I the early 90s, we used to do the ‘Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut’ song at Cub Scouts. Thinking back, it was mildly scandalous that our Akela was gently indoctrinating us to be junk food consumers.

    During those fateful days in early autumn 2001, I was on a family holiday on the Costa del Sol. My two main memories were hearing this wretched song five times a night in various bars, and the attacks in New York.

    I remember the afternoon of 9/11 so clearly. Whilst the horror was unfolding over the Atlantic, we all had a drive up to Valencia and were completely oblivious at first. It seemed bizarre that the streets were empty there – I thought ‘oh, it must be siesta time – fair enough!’ When we drove back to our base in Benidorm, the streets were dead quiet too – ‘man, people round these parts sure like their siesta!’

    It was only when we got back to our apartment block that I twigged something might be up – the pool area, which usually reverberated with the sound of excited Brits, high on freedom and geed up by sun and lager – was deserted.

    We turned into the apartment lobby – a sea of eyes were fixed upon the banner on CNN – ‘America Under Attack’. Watching the ticker tape recounting the world shaking events that had happened while we were out driving – Both World Trade Towers hit by planes and collapsed, a plane crashed into the Pentagon, another plane headed for Washington crashed, buildings evacuated all over the world – I was as incredulous as everyone else at first – ‘this must a movie – but why is everyone here so mesmerized’? Then when I saw the Towers disintegrate into dust, I knew it was much too real to be special effects.

    The world, an my world, would never be the same. Later that month I started University.

  11. 41
    Shiny Dave on 10 Mar 2016 #

    #29 The synth backing on that feels like a hilariously half-baked recreation of a future Guetta bunny…

    (My “where were you on 9/11?” memory, by the way; at school, and I was alerted to it by an English teacher who knew my interest in the stock market and mentioned that the New York Stock Exchange had closed, I think that was the first thing that stuck to me amongst the confused remarks. The visuals, of course, stuck far too easily.)

  12. 42
    Phil on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I was at home, working on my doctorate. My wife phoned and said she was hearing weird stories about planes crashing into buildings in New York and was there anything on the TV about it. I turned on the TV to see the first tower with a smoking hole in it; I was in time to see the second plane hit. Perhaps it was because I saw it happening, but my immediate thought was for the people on the plane – I couldn’t bear the thought that I’d just watched them all being killed, and kept telling myself it might not be like that (was there anyone on the plane, nobody’s actually telling us about that… maybe they hijacked an empty plane?). I watched while the buildings smoked and people jumped – funny how those images have disappeared from the media; they were pretty damned iconic at the time. I kept the TV on, switching between different channels, until I’d seen both the towers collapse; as the dust cloud from the second tower covered everything, I heard one commentator saying it looked like a bomb had gone off, then flicked over to another, more excitable, commentator saying it looked as if a bomb had gone off. By then I’d supped my fill of horrors. I switched the TV off and mailed a couple of friends on the East Coast to check they were OK; I knew they were nowhere near NYC and was pretty sure they were nowhere near the other two crash sites, but I wanted to do something. Bad times.

    Empty planes, explosives in the architecture – the seeds of Trutherism were there from day one. Probably because the actual truth was so f’in horrible. Here’s something genuinely weird, though, and it concerns Captain Scarlet. The first episode – “The Mysterons” – features an immensely tall building called the London Car-Vu; it’s basically a pillar with a spiral ramp around it and some viewing platforms right at the top, so that people could get a panoramic view of London while sitting in their cars, as you would. In the episode, the Mysterons destroy the London Car-Vu by forcing a mind-controlled helicopter pilot to fly into it. I watched the episode with my son when BBC Two repeated it and remember thinking how dark it was – and, specifically, what a terrible, unstoppable threat attackers who didn’t care about their own lives would be.

    “The Mysterons” was shown on BBC Two, on the evening of the 10th of September 2001. Gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories.

  13. 43
    Tom on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I was in Edinburgh visiting Dr T (who some of you know). We’d seen Moulin Rouge the night before, thought it was shit, and after a leisurely morning checking ILE we were planning on an afternoon record shopping and drinking. Stopped in at a newsagent, an American couple were talking, saying something about a bomb. I bought my crisps, Dr T’s phone alert went. His girlfriend texting him – “Get to a TV. New York is on fire.” There was a pub next door, we spent the next few hours there.

    Most of that week – from memory – was spent on ILE, deleting the occasional troll, maintaining the threads: we put a 100 post limit on each one because most people were still on dial-up. It was the first time I’d seen the net used to check people were safe, the first time I’d seen it used as a news aggregator too. Those threads are an amazing time capsule of people trying to piece together what’s happened and how the world is changing – just slow enough that you can follow them. It’s one of the times I was proudest of setting ILX up.

  14. 44
    IP on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I heard about it during a protest – there was an arms fair at the ExCeL centre in Docklands, and about 100 people were protesting outside, or as near as the police would let us, which was about half a mile away. CND’s Bruce Kent was giving a speech, mentioned the twin towers in passsing, and loads of people cheered. I think everyone thought it was some random agit-propper in a one-man biplane, making a doomed strike against a symbol of capitalism – not a jumbo jet with thousands killed. I went home quickly – all the office workers were clearing out of Canary Wharf at high speed – taking the Northern Line up to Edgware – the first image I saw of the towers exploding was on the cover of a commuters’ Evening Standard.

    The song? The song is possibly my least favourite song ever recorded. That summer I was living in Edinburgh just off the Cowgate, and every drunken pisshead used to sing it walking home after the clubs closed. Horrible.

  15. 45
    Andrew on 10 Mar 2016 #

    #43 I had never seen the footage of people jumping/falling before. There is a lot on YouTube. It’s distressing, but it’s odd that it appears to have been censored (presumably out of respect to the individuals, but the footage of the planes hitting the Towers is just as distressing when you think of the people inside)

  16. 46
    thefatgit on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I remember it being a hot day. I had a day off to do some groundwork in my front garden, in preparation for a new fence. My wife was at work and daughter at school, and I had help that day from my mum who was helping me clear away vegetation, digging up roots and suchlike. We had been outside all day, and oblivious to everything until a van drove past with the windows open, I could hear a snippet of a news report of a plane crash. I asked Mum to go inside and turn the TV on, and a couple of minutes later she called me in… “You’ve got to see this.”

    After that, we both stood open-mouthed as the full horror unfolded before us. When my wife and daughter came home, we all watched as the 2nd tower fell. We needed to get out of the house and get as far away from a TV screen as possible, so we drove around and found a café, ordered tea and cake and sat in relative silence, trying to process what horrors we had just witnessed, feeling utter bewilderment and a creeping sense of fear.

  17. 47
    Chelovek na lune on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I’d wandered off to “Tie Rack” in Liverpool Street station to buy a white bowtie for my Master’s graduation ceremony on the Thursday. (My degree had ended over a year earlier, I was already well into my first proper job.) Sushi lunch from the place that used to be next to Moorgate tube, eaten on the Barbican highwalk.

    Back at my desk, one of my flatmates phoned me to say a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. I really thought nothing of it – little bi-plane, whatever. Not least as she’d phoned me the day before (from her desk at somewhere in the City) to express surprise/shock at a sudden drop in share prices – my response being, that happens, they go up and down, a few % in a few minutes is neither here not there,. As it wasn’t. Stop wasting my time being hysterical about trivia. As she had been on the Monday.

    Only when the 2nd plane hit, of course, did it start to make sense, of a sort. Remember checking through news-sites online to try and find explanations. The Russian media, in particular, was wide of the mark. Collective silence, shock, horror, disbelief. Journey home not helped by seeing someone suddenly run out of a church on the Finchley Road wearing a satanist t-shirt. We had a friend from the US (over for the graduation ceremony) staying with us (her stay was prolonged after the skies were shut down), and we made a point of saying we were “standing shoulder to shoulder” with her a la Blair and Bush. Another from New York, who lost a friend in the WTC, of course, couldn’t make it. Such an intensely shocking day.

  18. 48
    Cumbrian on 10 Mar 2016 #

    Some time after the fact, during a revision session for my finals, my Middle Eastern Politics tutor confided that, a few days after 9/11, he had been asked to go to Washington – travel still being difficult, he was flown out by private jet. He found himself talking to Bush 43 for an hour at The White House. He was then sent home again. My tutor was brilliant – a world leader in the field (at least as much as a white bloke from Britain can be on Middle Eastern Politics). Sometimes I wonder what would have been the outcome if he’d been given a few days instead of an hour.

    A large number of the books I was reading contained analyses that became essentially redundant. Not that that is in any way consequential given what actually happened. Still, it did throw accepted wisdom on its ear somewhat in a variety of sub sectors of the field, as I am sure you can imagine. In a lot of respects, western academia on the subject (what little of it I still keep my eye on) is still catching up.

  19. 49
    Billy Hicks on 10 Mar 2016 #

    I’ve mentioned before how, for most of 2001, I’d dreaded my forthcoming 13th birthday. Maybe because I’d spent most of my life wanting to be a “grown up” and now this new era of my life was about to begin I suddenly realised I was perfectly happy still being a child, thank you very much. I imagined turning into a ‘Kevin’ in the Harry Enfield style and had these awful future visions of long hair and swaying limbs, telling everyone how much I hated them. But I’d had an enjoyable summer and as September began I was a little more hopeful. It’s not like the world was going to change or anything.

    It happened thirteen days before my thirteenth birthday.

    I was off school, with nothing to do, watching a dull soap opera on ITV. Halfway through when the adbreak was supposed to begin, a still image of the station logo appeared on a black background – a calm, sombre announcement that they were interrupting the programme to go to the news studio. I remember finding the use of the words “We interrupt this programme” rather odd and old-fashioned even then, like a fake report in a TV show, and straight away I realised what must have happened – Queen Mother’s snuffed it, right? Newsreader fades in wearing black. Yep, definitely. And then announces that two planes have hit two towers.

    There’s a forum thread still online somewhere and everyone’s discussing the news seriously, only for me to ramble on about ‘The Simpsons’ and whether a forthcoming BBC2 repeat involving Sideshow Bob hijacking a plane was still going to be shown (it wasn’t). Chatrooms that night were full of teens swearing in capital letters and talking about the start of World War 3. Even CBBC’s ‘Newsround’ had the unlikely co-host of Huw Edwards, and links into the likes of Blue Peter and (on the other side) Art Attack were, while not mentioning the events, noticeably sombre than usual.

    My 13th birthday was fairly subdued. I got a free icecream from McDonalds. A couple months later, I find the CD single of this in the bargain bin at Tesco for less than a pound. I didn’t buy it, although my aunt’s 40th birthday three years later had all the 60+ grannies ooh-ahhing on the dancefloor with gusto.

    This childhood ‘era’ of pop music still has a few more bunnies left for me, but by Christmas, Steps had split up, Live & Kicking had finished and the summer of 2001 already felt like a lifetime ago.

    My childhood was over.

  20. 50
    flahr on 11 Mar 2016 #

    I was too young for it to really register. The main thing I remember of the day is being annoyed that whatever it was on CITV that I wanted to watch had been bumped.

  21. 51
    DanH on 11 Mar 2016 #

    Hmmm, I guess I ‘had to be there’ in regards to the revulsion against this cover. The song itself I loved threefold: first for the original Bruce Chanel version, second for the Ringo cover in the ’70s, that is one step closer to the crowd singalong the song eventually became, and third for my College band playing it for years They’d play the opening harmonica riff on the brass, then sing the ‘heeeeey baby!’ chorus. In place of the ‘ooh! ahh!’ they would shout ‘ohhhh baby!’* Never failed to make me smile. For that reason, I can’t be bothered by this version. I would not seek out this cover and it is indeed pointless, but as far as musical nadir goes, it ain’t no “Hollaback Girl” ;-) Will stretch to a 4.

    * I do wonder if the band got the extra notes on ‘I wanna knooooooow’ part from this cover. Far as I know, it didn’t do squat here in America. Right Mapman???? :-)

  22. 52
    DanH on 11 Mar 2016 #

    My 9/11 story….riding to school that day, traffic was backed up much more than usual…the towers were hit by the time I left, I was in the West so I was a few hours behind. Checking in to my 1st period class, my newspaper teacher was glued to the TV. He was usually jovial, but was solemn as a rock. I thought ‘geez, that’s a horrible mistake on the pilot’s part…but I had to go to my other classes (two choirs in a row, yes I was a choir dude), and we had normal rehearsal both times. Not until the break, and the rest of the day, did I find out the magnitude of what happened. Musically, the songs I associate with the aftermath are U2’s “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” (just released in the US) and Elton John’s “I Want Love.” And for some odd reason, another U2 track “Sweetest Thing.”

  23. 53
    mapman132 on 11 Mar 2016 #

    On morning of September 11, I was working at a federal government building in Charleston, South Carolina, about halfway through what turned out to be a five month travel assignment. The first sign something was amiss was when I took a break and tried to access cnn.com to check the morning news. It didn’t come up. Neither did a couple of other news sites I tried. No matter, maybe the building’s internet was down or something. So I decided to get some coffee instead. I walked past a group of my co-workers looking distressed and speaking in hushed tones, and that’s how I found out what was happening in New York. Not quite believing it, I attempted to call my sister who was working in Manhattan at the time. When I got the “all circuits are busy” message on the phone, that’s when I knew it was real. For the next 20 minutes or so, I frantically tried to call my sister over and over again. Making things worse was believing that her office had just moved to someplace near the WTC. Fortunately this was not true – her office was supposed to move from Midtown to Lower Manhattan, but in some last minute change had moved within Midtown instead. Finally around 9:30, I connected with her, and she was the one who told me about the Pentagon. At first, I thought this was just ugly rumor too, but a co-worker in my office quickly confirmed the same “rumor”. It was at this point I started to get really scared wondering what could possibly be coming next. And there were reports of other attacks in Washington, including the headquarters of the department I was currently working in. Fortunately these turned out to be false. People were also saying one of the WTC towers had collapsed. That of course was true.

    About mid-morning our building was evacuated and I drove “home” (actually a corporate apartment). Turning on the TV, I saw footage of the second WTC tower collapsing (it had actually occurred a few minutes before). Eventually myself and all of my co-workers regrouped in one of the apartments to watch the rest of the day’s events. The following day we all went to work as normal, although there was a lot more security evident. And the day after that myself and a co-worker drove the 500 miles to get back to our real homes in Virginia as our flight had of course been canceled.

    One of the moments I most remember from the actual day was saying to my parents, “Nothing’s ever going to be the same again, is it?” While everyday life would eventually continue and the day itself has very slowly receded into history, my observation has sadly proven true in ways subtle and not so subtle. There’s a lot more I could say, but I think I’ll leave it here for now.

  24. 54
    mapman132 on 11 Mar 2016 #

    #51 You’re correct. DJ Otzi didn’t have any US impact that I’m aware of. Heard this for the first time a few nights ago. I don’t hate it nearly as much as the consensus here either, but then I’ve only heard it once, have no plans to hear it again, and thinking about it segues right into the more respectable Bruce Channel version in my brain. A highly incongruous #1 for the time, but there’s always been a certain number of people who cope with tragedy and fear by partying as hard or behaving as silly as possible, so who am I to judge?

    A few songs I personally associate with the immediate aftermath of 9/11:

    – “Stuck in a Moment” of course, and also from U2, “Peace On Earth”, an album track that was called into radio service

    – “Only Time” by Enya, which I’ve already mentioned as being used for a newsclip remix on various radio stations

    – “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, the first time I ever remember hearing it in fact – it was used by VH-1 in a montage of scenes from New York from the previous few days

    – “Overcome” by Live – also used by VH-1 IIRC

    – “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” by Five For Fighting, a personal favorite that seemed to fit with the mood at the time

  25. 55
    AMZ1981 on 11 Mar 2016 #

    On the 11th of September I was marking my first week with a company I’ll have been with fifteen years this September. My fumbly socially awkward self was being thrust into the world of work for the first time and I was training at another store for a new department. I remember picking up from snatches of conversation that there was something on the news but it wasn’t until I was waiting for the taxi back to Harrogate with another colleague that I was made aware just how big a story it was. We asked the taxi driver to put the radio on for the journey back at which point I heard for the first time how the day had unfolded. The canteen at my home store had a television and it was on there that I saw the images of ground zero for the first time and I spent most of that night watching the news.

    I read an interesting novel many years later called Love Is The Higher Law by David Levithan, primarily aimed at young adults which describes the day of the attack and the immediate aftermath as seen through the interlocking lives of three protagonists. What interested me was the number of references to artists/ bands and records I remember – one character even starts out at Tower Records buying Love And Theft, not something a college student would be as likely to do now. In that respect it captures a generation.

  26. 56
    Tom on 11 Mar 2016 #

    It’s an odd coincidence that two of the most acclaimed albums of the decade were released on September 11 – almost three, though Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is, in my carefully considered opinion, a bunch of arse so I’m glad it wasn’t. “Love And Theft” and The Blueprint were a lot of what I was listening to in the month or so after 9/11 and both of them felt like they had some distant resonance, or at least fitted aspects of the mood. The gutbucket steamroller aggression of “The Takeover” on the one hand, Dylan’s mordant old man’s apocalypse on “High Water (For Charley Patton)” on the other. The other record I associate with the weeks after is the next number one – more of that soon, of course.

  27. 57
    StringBeanJohn82 on 11 Mar 2016 #

    I first kissed who I thought was the woman of my dreams at the Halls of Residence Christmas Party (2001) while this song was playing very loudly having had a massive and all-consuming crush on her for the first term of my first year at university. It was without a doubt the best moment of my 18 year life up to that point. So every time I hear it I think of the elation and general intensity of emotions I felt at the time.

    Can any of your readers beat this for the shittiest song that reminds them of the best moment of their lives?

  28. 58
    enitharmon on 11 Mar 2016 #

    mapman @ 51: I can think of a lot of Cohen songs that fit with the mood of that event (Stories of the Street seems particularly apposite to me) but Hallelujah isn’t one of them, not in any version. Seems a bit flippant to me I’m afraid, given that it’s one of Lennie’s songs about sex.

  29. 59
    Phil on 11 Mar 2016 #

    Oddly enough, Jesamine by the Casuals – mentioned upthread in the context of Schlager and other Euro-puddings – soundtracked my youthful infatuation with a girl called Jacqueline (it was close enough). But we’re talking really youthful (we moved away shortly after my eighth birthday), so not really a lifetime high-point.

  30. 60
    mapman132 on 11 Mar 2016 #

    #58 Well, “Hallelujah” can be interpreted in many ways, and it’s been used in many tragic montages over the years. It doesn’t always have to be “about sex”.

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