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Hooked On A Feeling

by

B.J. Thomas



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was written by Mark James, who also wrote Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." B.J. Thomas was signed to Scepter Records and had some hits with his group The Triumphs before Scepter producer Chips Moman convinced him to leave Texas and come to American Studios in Memphis, where he recorded some of the songs James wrote for his album On My Way. The first single from the album was the James-penned "The Eyes of a New York Woman," which reached #28 in the US. The next single was "Hooked On A Feeling," which was a big hit for Thomas but not nearly as successful as his next one, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," which stayed at US #1 for four weeks. "Hooked" was produced by Moman with session musicians that included Tommy Cogbill (guitar) Reggie Young (guitar), Mike Leech (bass) and Buddy Emmons (drums).
Drug references were big in 1968, and this song has plenty of them, but the context is love as a drug; Thomas is "high on believin'" and will "just stay addicted" to the girl who can "turn me on." All very innocent.
About those Oooonga Chackas:
There's a good chance you've heard this song with the famous jungle chant, and it was most likely the 1974 Blue Swede version, which was featured in the Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs. The first use of the chant in this song, however, was in the 1971 version by the English singer and Pop mogul Jonathan King, who added the Oooonga Chackas which were based on the chant in Johnny Preston's 1959 hit "Running Bear." King's version was a UK hit - the only version of the song to chart there - reaching #23. Blue Swede recorded their own version with more aggressive jungle sounds in 1974, and it was a massive hit, reaching #1 in the US, Holland, Australia, and Canada. Blue Swede was a Swedish band, and they would perform the Jonathan King version in concert, getting the crowd to chant along. It went to #1 in Sweden, and according to a Rolling Stone article from 1974, a few copies made their way to the United States, where a woman in Connecticut played the song in her record store. This led to some local airplay and the song quickly spread, eventually becoming a #1 hit.

And what about Jonathan King, who put the chant on the song in 1971? King was a university student in the UK when he recorded his debut hit "Everyone's Gone To The Moon" in 1965, which reached #4 in the UK and #17 in the US. He went on to become a successful singer, songwriter, producer (he produced the first Genesis album, From Genesis to Revelation), broadcaster and record company executive (in 1972 he formed UK Records). In November 2000 he was accused of sex attacks on boys dating back to 1970, and in January 2001, he was charged with 7 counts of assaults against underage youths. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
The Blue Swede version was the first #1 hit in the US by a Swedish act. It reached the top the same week ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo" and introduced themselves to an international audience. The 7-member Blue Swede had more hits in Sweden, but never again cracked the American market, even though their songs were all in English.
According to Billboard & The Mercury Records Story, the backing vocal/chant which was first used in "Running Bear," was performed by J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and George Jones, which in turn inspired the Blue Swede version. Jones was either co-producing for Johnny Preston or was just there, perhaps for another session.
In 1998, the Blue Swede version was used in episodes of the TV show Ally McBeal when the "Dancing Baby" appeared. As Ally got older, the she would get visions of a baby who would dance to the Blue Swede version of this song, reminding her that her biological clock was ticking. Vonda Shepard recorded it for her album Songs From Ally McBeal.
The "oogachaka!" chant from Blue Swede's version could be heard in the trailer for the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy movie during a montage of fiery action scenes. A portion of the song is then played at the end.
B.J. Thomas
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Comments (20):

I love B.J.'s version of it.
- Martin, Fresno, CA
An excellent song, BJ version. Nice lyrics and sitar sound. As far as the ooga chaga who cares?
- meocyber, alma, CO
Since I never cared for the original, I got a perverse pleasure listening to Blue Suede's butchery of it.
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
This is one of those "reach for the dial to change the station" songs.
- Mike, Norwalk, CT
A somewhat similar "Ooga Chugga Ooga Ooga" background chant appears on the Beach Boys "Bicycle Rider" section of "Heroes and Villains" which predates both the Jonathan King & Blue Swede choruses by several years...
- Michael, Delbarton, WV
i first heard Vonda's version before i did BJ's. although both are pretty good (nice to hear a guy's voice singing it), i have to say that twas Vonda's soulfulness that made me like the song so much. plus that it is used as a soundtrack in one of my all-time fave tv shows.
- joycemorrison, PH
Dennis as a kid who had botha cowboy and indian outfit in the 60's I can assure you that it was spoken as Cowboys and Indians NOT Indians and Cowboys. "Livestock Corralpersons and Indigenous Peoples" would not have inspired me as a 5 year old. Regarding the Swedes: let them bask on their misconceptions - it may be all they have left.
To me it comically mimics an African tribal, drug-induced, fireside mating mantric-tantric chant - "Ooga chacka ooga ooga" I am almost shure this is it's intent.
- Tony, Brooklyn, NY
The "Ooga Chucka" chorus first appeared in Johnny Preston's version of "Running Bear" (Mercury,1959)as mentioned... which was written by J.P. Preston (aka The Big Bopper) and featured Preston and George Jones on backing vocal/chant.
- DJ, Los Angeles, CA
:D go to youtube.com and watch david hasselhoffs version....its hilarious....the video, omg, just watch it^^
- Kathy, Karben, Germany
Ugh. Now, I don't like the B.J. Thomas version, but I loathe Blue Swede's version. "OOGA CHAKA! OOGA CHAKA!" How obnoxious can you get?
- Henry, Kingston, NY
I prefer the "ooga chucka" version but still a great song, period.
- Jon, Oakridge, OR
The "Ooga Chucka" thing from Blue Swede always reminded of me of the guards at the Wicked Witch of the West's castle in The Wizard of Oz.
You remember... the ones that chanted "The old one..oh we love..the old one...." (or, if you prefer, "YO-WUM..YO-WEE-UMM!").
- Paul, Tucson, AZ
What in the world is an Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga?
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
I always thought that recording this song with ooga-shakas was meant to contrast the slightly treacly idealism of the lyrics with a caveman approach not only to love but to rock and roll. But then I tend to over-interpret things and to see meaning where none possibly exists. A more realistic view might be: Why ooga-shakas? Why not? It got them onto the charts, didn't it, and here we are writing about them over thirty years later.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
"Ooga Chacka!"
Playing "Indians and cowboys" is, for some unknown reason, very popular among Swedish kids. Or at least was, before Nintendo polluted their minds. (Sorry for the political incorrectness, but it was just never called "Native Americans and cowboys?).
Anyway, after a tribe catches a cowboy, in Swedish kids? minds, they tie him to the totem pole and do a tribal dance around him singing "Ooga chacka".
Björn Schiffs, being a very funny and childish person, in Sweden likely as known for his comedy acting as his music, probably remembered his childhood as he wrote the intro.
- Dennis, Cebu, Philippines(nat. Swedish, Other
B.J. Thomas' version was more of a love song. Blue Swede's version was more of a rock and roll song. The correct chant at the opening and near the end was "Ooga chacka ooga ooga."
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
Regarding the Blue Swede cover -- what's up with the "ooga chucka ooga ooga!" ? Where did that come from? Actually, this version is not all that bad, but "ooga chucka"?
- Jerry, Brooklyn, NY
This song was such a huge hit in Sweden that it has become part of the cultural fabric. People become distraught and bewildered when they are told that its origin is not Swedish. In the minds of Swedish people, the song is as inseparable from their own identity as it is from its most famous troubadour, Björn Skifs.
Most have no clue about B.J. Thomas. Sad, really.
- Kurt, Gothenburg, Sweden
Jonathan King got to number 23 in the British charts with the song in Nov 1971.
- marty, perth, Australia
Songwriter Mark James also had a hand in writing "Moody Blue" (Elvis Presley) and "Always on My Mind" (Elvis, Willie Nelson, Pet Shop Boys).
- Eric, Salt Lake City, UT
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