You can’t keep a good cheerleader down.

Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Antonia Christina Basilotta was relocated with her family while her father conducted orchestras in Chicago and Las Vegas, where (significantly) she was a cheerleader at Las Vegas High School. After graduation, and with the adopted stage name, Toni Basil, she made the short leap to L.A., in hopes of becoming a choreographer.

Having danced professionally as a child, Basil managed to land a dancing gig during the first season of Shindig! in 1964 and quickly worked her way up to assistant choreographer.  From there she ventured into film work, both as an actor (with minor roles in Sweet Charity, Easy Rider, Myra Breckinridge, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Movie and (ouch) Mother, Jugs & Speed) and more importantly as a choreographer in the T.A.M.I. Show and that wonderfully adventurous psychedelic comedy (featuring the brazenly out-of-character Monkees) Head.

All of which led to choreographing more mainstream films like: American Graffiti, The Rose, Peggy Sue Got Married, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Legally Blond and Charlie Wilson’s War … and to (brilliantly) choreographing such music videos as Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” and the one that accompanies today’s selection.

Unsurprisingly Basil also sang, mainly for film scores, although she was also a featured solo artist singing  “Wham Rebop Boom Bam” (remember it?) on the first season of Saturday Night Live (me neither).  Still, she is easily best known for a single that was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn and initially entitled “Kitty” when it was performed by the British group, Racey in 1979

Basil proceed to change the song’s title to “Mickey” to make it about a man, and though her version was recorded in 1980 her label didn’t actually issue it until 1982, when it  quickly knocked Lionel Richie from the top of the Billboard Charts (another reason to like it) and reached the Number Two spot in the UK.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Thursday 13 December

After making her recording Basil went on to conceive, direct and choreograph her famous video, wearing a head cheerleader uniform from her alma mater, Las Vegas High School.  Although it is now remembered as one of the most popular videos on early MTV perhaps the most amazing detail about its production is that like the song itself, it was first released (in the UK) in 1980 … nearly a year before MTV’s inception in 1981.

 Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

 Hey Mickey!

You’ve been around all night and that’s a little long

You think you’ve got the right, but I think you’ve got it wrong

Why can’t you say goodnight so you can take me home, Mickey

 ‘Cause when you say you will, it always means you won’t

You’re givin’ me the chills, baby, please baby don’t

Every night you still leave me all alone, Mickey

 Oh Mickey, what a pity you don’t understand

You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand

It’s guys like you Mickey

Oh, what you do Mickey, do Mickey

Don’t break my heart, Mickey

 Hey Mickey!

Now when you take me by the hooves, everyone’s gonna know

Every time you move I let a little more show

There’s somethin’ we can use, so don’t say no, Mickey

 So come on and give it to me any way you can

Any way you wanna’ do it, I’ll treat you like a man

Oh please, baby, please, don’t leave me in a jam, Mickey

 Oh Mickey, what a pity you don’t understand

You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand

It’s guys like you Mickey

Oh, what you do Mickey, do Mickey

Don’t break my heart, Mickey

 Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind,

Hey Mickey, Hey Mickey,

 Oh Mickey, what a pity you don’t understand

You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand

It’s guys like you Mickey

Oh, what you do Mickey, do Mickey

Don’t break my heart, Mickey

 Oh Mickey, what a pity you don’t understand

You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand

It’s guys like you Mickey (Mickey)

Oh, what you do Mickey, do Mickey

Don’t break my heart, Mickey

 Oh Mickey, what a pity you don’t understand

You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand

It’s guys like you Mickey

Oh, what you do Mickey, do Mickey

Don’t break my heart, Mickey

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