Toni Basil

Toni Basil. A Guilty Pleasure – or is she?

In the early 80’s Toni Basil had a smash hit that is often seen as a total novelty song Mickey. Whilst that Number 2 record was novelty pretty much personified there was a lot more to Toni Basil than initially met the eye / ears.

Choreography on a level that was just too strong for novelty Pop, Toni Basil had New Wave Pop nailed so well that I still scratch my head as to why she did not achieve much, much more success.

Ask anyone of a certain age to name a Toni Basil record and they will pretty much guaranteed say ‘Mickey‘ – ask them to name another and they will look at you blank.

In the early 80’s I stayed over a Bank Holiday at my Uncle & Aunts house. They had a hallowed VHS player and over the duration of my stay rented the Toni Basil VHS from their local video store. The videotape was rich with ideas and lost Pop gems.

If Lady Gaga, today released something like You Gotta Problem it would probably be hailed as Pop genius, the choreography, the outfits, the kitsch, the tune. This material came out when Madonna was still a student. I’m pretty sure she took a cue from Toni Basil and developed the style to world conquering effect.

I’m not going to get carried away and say Toni Basil was groundbreaking – but she really did do something very new in the early 80’s that seldom gets the kudos it actually really does deserve…


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