Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for "Zoot Suit Riot"

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

YES! We made it to the final one hit wonder.

Back in late 1997, swing music was on the verge of making a big comeback. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot" was a big part of that wave. The music video was on MTV all the time, and it slowly gained momentum on the radio. It was a big hit here in the States, but didn't go international.

The song refers the Zoot Suit Riots back in 1943 when a Latino youth was killed in Southern California. White servicemen stationed in L.A. and Latino youths often clashed, and the violence spread to cities across the U.S. A zoot suit was an over-sized suit many of the young Latinos wore during the time time, which white military men called "un-patriotic."

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies were known to mix ska and swing out on the West Coast, and "Zoot Suit Riot" was their fourth album. Their follow up was more ska, and it failed. The band broke up in 2000. They got back together in 2002 and released a rockabilly-swing album last summer.

I was never a big fan of the whole swing revival, and the music video for this song really creeps me out. I'm pretty sure it's the evil clown's fault.


16 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Clowns are always evil.
Congratulations on finishing the Challenge!

Pat Dilloway said...

I wasn't a big fan of that song.

Robin said...

I just started taking ballroom dance lessons. I really like swing dancing. I just went to a class last night, matter of fact. So, I like swing music and this song. I don't like evil clowns. I don't know why anyone would put that in a video given so many folks have a negative reaction. The other thing that makes video creepy is the way the camera focuses on people's mouths and tongues. Creepy.

Tamara Narayan said...

Creepy Clowns--boo. I remember the swing revival as well. The Gap did a commercial with a bunch of swing dancers in khaki pants. I actually went in to try some on, but hated them.

Julie Flanders said...

Yeah, clowns are always a no-no in my book.

Your theme was a lot of fun!

Tony Laplume said...

I've always wanted a zoot suit...Here is where I should give a tally, but I lost count. Still, I knew most of them!

farawayeyes said...

Another one I have never heard or seen the video. Strange indeed.

cleemckenzie said...

Ban the clowns. But bring back the Zoot Suit. That was one major fashion statement for the guys.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

And issues on racism are so prevalent right now. What a great topic to cover for A to Z.

Melanie Schulz said...

I love this one!

M Pax said...

Clowns are evil. It was a fun song. Yay on Z.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You really did a lot of work for your challenge theme. I don't remember this one hit but sad history behind the name.

River Fairchild said...

You mentioned evil clown so I didn't want to even click on it! I've never liked swing music anyway.
Congrats on completing the A to Z!

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats on finishing the Challenge! Well, I didn't watch the video due to the clown but I do remember this one. Interesting to learn the story behind it.

Stephanie Faris said...

That's a weird one! But I agree...swing isn't really my thing, either.

Mr. Shife said...

Great work, Jay. Awesome month's work of blog posts. I wasn't a big fan of this song but then again I think Miller High Life is a good beer. Take care buddy.

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