(Robbie van Leeuwen)
Song written by Robbie van Leeuwen which was an adaptation of Tim Rose’s “The Banjo Song” from 1964. The Dutch group Shocking Blue, who he performed with as their producer, backing singer, sitarist and guitarist, released it in 1969. It appeared on their At Home with the single being released in 1969. Before long it was topping charts all over the world and became a gold record in January 1970 after it had sold in excess of a million in the United States, making it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970. It was also very popular in the U.S.S.R. where it became known as “Shizgarah”, which was unusual for Western music at the time.
It was then adapted again, under the same title, by Simon Luca in 1970 when it was recorded and released by Augusto Righetti.
Catching the attention of the British group Bananarama during the 1980s, they expressed a wish to record a dance version, but their current producers weren’t keen on the idea. They took it the eminent producers Stock Aitken Waterman who also had doubts about it, but after they managed to persuade them it was a good idea they recorded it in December 1985 and released the single the following May. After all of the opposition to their idea of a dance version, they went out and proved they knew what they were talking about when the single topped the charts in numerous countries and entered the Top 10 in many more. It has since been remixed and re-released by the group on “Megarama ‘89”, which just came out in France and Germany, and made further appearances on their albums Exotica and Drama which were released in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
1986 also saw it being used by Weird Al Yankovich in his “Polka Party”.
The popularity of the song was such that it was brought to the fore 21 years after it’s original release when The BHF Team re-released it as a dance track after remixing it in 1990. Once again it rose up the charts and hit the Top 10 in both Australia and the UK.
Other artists and groups that have recorded it include Alvin & The Chipmunks, Tom Jones, Olympians, Seduced, Stars on 45, Yoko Nagayama along with many more.
Over the life of the song and in its various incarnations to date it has appeared on countless movies and TV shows that include American Dad, American Wedding, The Brady Bunch Movie, Grumpier Old Men, Life on Mars, The Muppets, Otis, Remember the Titans, Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion among others.
Stars on 45 recordings
Medley: Intro “Venus” – Sugar Sugar – No Reply – I’ll Be Back – Drive My Car – Do You Want to Know a Secret – We Can Work it Out – I Should Have Known Better – Nowhere Man – You’re Going to Lose That Girl – Stars on 45 (Jeff Barry/Martin Duiser/Jaap Eggermont/Andy Kim/Robert Van Leeuwen/John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
Radio Records RR 3810 ST-RR-39788-SP