Mark James / B. J. Thomas: “Hooked On A Feeling”

Posted: March 17, 2015 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “Hooked On A Feeling” – B.J. Thomas
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Slugs vs. Trudbol
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)


I'm Hooked On The Ceiling I'm High On Believing That You're In Love With Me

I’m Hooked On The Ceiling
I’m High On Believing
That You’re In Love With Me

Hooked On A Feeling was written by Mark James and released in 1968 by B.J. Thomas. As we all know, Thomas’ version is best know for including an electric sitar. 1969 was obviously ripe for a pop song featuring an electric sitar as it was in that year Thomas’ Hooked On A Feeling charted number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Musical scholars have long differed on the reason the electric sitar was ready to take the States by storm. RDubbs has long posited that it dates back to Tug McGraw’s alcohol-inspired, electric sitar rendition of Luck Be A Lady on Kiner’s Korner immediately following one of the New York Mets’ many seemingly implausible victories down the stretch of the miraculous ’69 baseball season. (Oh, if the Tugger’s musical talents had only been passed on to his unfortunate son…). 

In 1971, the now famous Jonathan King released his own version of Hooked On A Feeling. Desiring “a reggae rhythm by male voices” – whatever the heck that means – King added the signature hooga chaka chants to the song (because nothing embodies “a reggae rhythm by male voices” like a couple of pasty white Brits chanting hooga chaka).

And that my friends brings us to Blue Swede, who in fact were not blue but were apparently from Sweden. Released in 1974, the Swede’s cover of Hooked On A Feeling, which retained the now beloved reggae rhythm of male voices chants, reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Swede did commit the unforgivable sin of  stripping out from the original lyrics some minor references to drug use, replacing it with some pathetic, bubble-gum, tripe-inspired chorus. Yet, even so, many years later they were bestowed the ultimate honor of having their version of Hooked On A Feeling included in the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s phenomenal 1992 first film Reservoir Dogs.

The Original

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B.J. Thomas:

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The “Turning Point”

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Jonathan King:

First known successful infusion of “reggae rhythm by male voices” into modern-day music!

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The Most Popular

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Blue Swede:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Slugs vs. Trudbol

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The Slugs:


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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Arnie Plotnick says:

    Hmmm…. the video refers to the group as Trudbol, but the voting panel lists them as Trudbeau. It’s this kind of inconsistency that leads teenage girls to leave their safe American homes and join Isis. I had (and still have, oddly enough) the vinyl 45 of Blue Swede’s version of this song, which I bought as a highly impressionable young Tug McGraw fan. The Slugs’ version of this song is garbage. Trudbol/beau’s version is a little better, but the annoying, uncreative video knocks it down a notch. They should have had the Residents direct their video.

  2. Cuspid says:

    Between Jonathan King, Blue Swede, The Slugs and Trudbol I think i’ve heard “Ooga-Chaka” enough today to last the rest of my life. How annoying. The Slugs do a nice mother-and-child-reunion-pseudo-reggae rhythm. But their version is virtually identical to King’s and Blue Swede’s. So they get zero points for musical creativity. Trudbol has a good voice. But his video is a direct cop of Mike Tompkins’ video of his acapella cover of Taio Cruz’ Dynamite. (Did ya follow all that?) So he gets zero point for video creativity. So in a choice of lightweights I’m going with the Slugs because there is less “Ooga-Chaka” in their’s than in Trudbol’s.

  3. Kerry Black says:

    I had a 45 of B.J. Thomas’ version when I was about ten years old. I remember when the Blue Swede version came out; I thought it was a joke at first. That chanting is extremely annoying and unnecessary. What a stupid freakin’ gimmick! I voted for Trudbol even though only half them guys are cute.

  4. RDubbs says:

    Slugs, enough said.

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