Tuesday, 19 August 2003

Great One Hit Wonders

#5 - Chumbawamba - Tubthumping (1998)

What a bloody irritating song this was. Even worse that it was by a bunch of British hippies who were destined never to be seen in the charts again. You might, if you've got a good memory (and are somewhat sad like me), remember it as the theme song to the first season of the NRL with different, team related lyrics ("We love the Rams!" "We love the Raiders!" "We love the Storm!") and a shot of Kim Beazley waving a Newcastle Knights jersey around as if the Perth Reds had never existed.

Anyway, everyone seemed to fall in love with it. Maybe it was just because it gave pissed people all over Australia something else other than Khe Sanh to sing with complete strangers at 3:45am on a Sunday morning. You'd even see groups of schoolkiddies wailing it on television (usually on something rancid like the Midday show) with conveniently replaced lyrics to mask the bits about drinking and pissing. It topped the chart for an ungodly amount of weeks (well, three anyway) between modern classics (ha!) Barbie Girl and Dr. Jones by Aqua. Dr. Jones actually stayed on top for 7 weeks but it's almost certain that the amount of play it got during that near two month period was one tenth of what Chumba got in their three weeks. Even the people who were queing up to buy the single in the first week were wishing it away after three.

Of course this was a period of undoubted slump for the Australian charts when you would struggle to find a half decent #1 song anywhere between "Don't Speak" by No Doubt (February 16th, 1998) and "No Scrubs" by TLC (May 16th, 1999 - hey, I said we were struggling here ok?) so it's no surprise that this song had it's chart success buried by the sheer amount of mediocre tracks going around at the time.

You'll still hear this on pretty much every radio station going around. It's one of those songs that the pop wankers will claim to fit their key demographic but that the rocking rock music stations (and Triple M, who pose as one) know will cause fat builders to dance around and sing as well.

Where Are They Now? When not writing left-wing protest music and picketing shit they've got a homepage that is helpfully "supplemented with links to anarchist websites." You can download a selection of wanky protest songs on topics like the war, sweat shops and almost certainly gay Eskimo rights. Sadly their lefty credentials are sort of shot to pieces when there's a huge banner reading "Online shopping now accepts credit cards!" all over the page though. I thought capitalism was evil? "But the profits all go to saving the oppressed Greek communist fishermen!" they probably said. Lies - we all know it goes to paying for another bong.

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