70’s Pick of the Week
“Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede (1973)
This B.J. Thomas song was good, but it was missing something important – the caveman chant at the beginning! That’s what did it for me on this one.
Written by Mark James this song went to number 5 with B.J. Thomas 1969 version, complete with electronic sitar. Jonathan King, a singer/author/record producer got a hold of it and decided it needed something at the beginning. He decides that “ooga chaka” was the way to go. He said it was kind of “a reggae rhythm by male voices". I like to think of it as more primal – cavemen. His song did reasonably well going to number 23 on the U.K. charts.
Anyway... Björn Skifs the Swedish born vocalist formed his first group in 1963 and called it “Slam Creepers”. I love the band name – it was way ahead of its time! It would seem they did mostly covers and had a modest hit with the Association’s “We Are Happy People”.
In 1969 Björn formed what would become Blue Swede; but at first it was called “Blåblus” meaning ‘blue blouse’ in Swedish; a pun on the blues. O.K. I don’t get the pun, but hey, I’m not Swedish.
The first and biggest hit for Blue Swede was “Hooked on a Feeling”. It was released in Sweden in May 1973 and by February 1974 it was #1 in the U.S., as well as the top of the chart in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands. So, Abba was not the first time we heard rock from Sweden, nor would it be the last – later Europe, Roxette, Ace of Base, the Cardigans, Alcazar, and many others would follow. Not bad for a country which is now only about 9.5 million people.
Blue Swede went on to put out an album by the same name and had a bit of a minor hit with the Association’s “Never My Love”. There was also a version of “Always Something there to Remind Me”, the Sandie Shaw and later Dionne Warwick song. One song I find interesting on this album is “Working in the Coalmine” the Lee Dorsey song (penned by Allen Toussaint).