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A little something about Taco
Every few years the pop music climate is just right for a song that has absolutely no business being popular becomes a huge hit. Apparently there was something in the air in 1982, as Murray Head had a hit with a number from a Broadway musical, and Taco had a hit with "Puttin' On the Ritz." The song was written of course by Irving Berlin, the mind behind some of the most popular musicals of the 1930s, Hollywood's golden age. "Puttin' On the Ritz" was originally popularized by a man who benefitted as much as anyone from Berlin's songwriting talents, dancer/singer Fred Astaire. '80s pretty boy/copy cat Taco Ockerse did a pretty faithful rendition of the old classic, and in his hands the song became a much bigger hit than it had ever been for Astaire. Taco's reincarnation even included the hit gloves and tails - in fact his whole act hinged on the old musicals, as his "After Eight" album is made up of '30s tunes and original compositions that attempt to recreate the sound. The fact that a song like "Puttin' On the Ritz" - when cleverly done with a bit of style - can become a successful hit in a hostile popular climate is a good sign that music buyers are at a point where they appreciate something fresh and different. As predictable as popular music currently is here in the US (everything either sounds like Alannis Morrisette or grungie punk - shall we call it gunk?), there have been a few surprises in the past year. White Town came up with a suspiciously early '80s sounding take on a 60 year old tune, and both Space's "Female of the Species" and the Squirrel Nut Zipper's "Hell" sound like they should be background noise at a 1950s Club Med. (I should also note how embarrassed I am that I originally put up this page with such obvious errors.)
Puttin' on the Ritz

If you're blue and you don't know where to go towhy don't you go where fashion sits,Puttin' on the ritz.Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripesand cutaway coat, perfect fits,Puttin' on the ritz.Dressed up like a million dollar trouperTrying hard to look like Gary Cooper (super duper)Come let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticksor "umberellas" in their mitts,Puttin' on the ritz.Have you seen the well-to-do up and down Park AvenueOn that famous thoroughfare with their noses in the airHigh hats and Arrow collars white spats and lots of dollarsSpending every dime for a wonderful timeIf you're blue and you don't know where to go towhy don't you go where fashion sits,(Puttin' on the ritz)(Puttin' on the ritz)(Puttin' on the ritz)