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Mickey by Toni Basil

Album: Word Of MouthReleased: 1981Charted:
1
2
  • This was originally recorded as "Kitty" by a group called Racey. In the original lyrics, Kitty was a girl. Toni Basil changed the lyrics from "Kitty" to "Mickey" and the gender from female to male. She decided on "Mickey" as she was fond of former Monkee Micky Dolenz, who she choreographed in the 1968 Monkees movie Head. Tony Basil can be seen in Head in the surreal sequence where Davy Jones and Tony Basil dance alternately in a white and a black room, wearing a combination of white and black.
  • This was written by the songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who wrote several other pop hits, including "Love Is A Battlefield" and "Ballroom Blitz."
  • Basil got the idea for the video before she found the song to accompany it. The video was produced, directed, and choreographed by Basil - she was the first to do this for her own video. She had made some short films in the past, and had a deal with a European company to make a collection of videos. For one of the videos, she decided to do something with a cheerleader concept, since she had been head cheerleader at Las Vegas High School (now known as Las Vegas Academy - that's why the sweater she wears in the video says, "LVHS"). She made the clip before MTV went on the air, and the video was first established in England, where various TV shows played it and sent the song up the charts, where it peaked at #2 in February, 1982.

    In America, it took a while before MTV got the video and started playing it, but when they did, the song took off, reaching #1 for a week in December, 1982.
  • The cheerleaders in the video were members of a championship squad from Carson high school in Los Angeles. Basil met them at a competition where she was shooting video of cheerleading choreography.
  • Basil is an accomplished choreographer. She worked on dance numbers for many TV shows and movies, and often appeared on camera herself. She worked on the '60s show Shindig and was a guest star on Laverne and Shirley. She has also directed videos, including the Talking Heads "Once In A Lifetime," where she taught David Byrne his wacky dance moves. She did choreography for the movies That Thing You Do and My Best Friend's Wedding, and worked on the Gap commercials that featured swing dancing.
  • Basil appeared in the movie Easy Rider - she played one of the girls in the cemetery drug scene set in New Orleans. She grew up in show business. She is the daughter of Louis Basil, who led what was basically the house band at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas during the '60s. The band was known for its loose, rambunctious shows. (thanks, Jonah - San Francisco, CA)
  • Two years after this was released, Basil tried to follow it up with a song called "Over My Head," which stalled at #81 in the US. Her only other chart entry was "Shoppin' From A To Z," which went to #77 in the US, also in 1983.
  • The Irish teen girl group B*Witched recorded a version of this that was used at the end of the movie Bring It On. (thanks, Caitlin - Upper Township, NJ)
  • Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called "Ricky," which had a Ricky Ricardo/I Love Lucy theme. Al says the video cost about $3000 to make, and at one point, he was supposed to be shaking maracas. Since no maracas were handy, he ended up shaking a bowling pin.
  • Olivia Newton-John (backed-up by her sister, Rona) recorded a highly stylized version of this song for the 2012 movie soundtrack CD A Few Best Men. (thanks, James - Minneapolis, MN)
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Comments: 22

Olivia Newton-John did a crazy fun dance version of "Mickey" in 2012 for the movie soundtrack to Aussie comedy "A Few Best Men."James - Minneapolis, Mn
Love it or not, the song's chorus and cheerleader hand clapping stick in your head long after you've heard it. I like it as it was one of those songs that ushered in the music video era.Camille - Toronto, Oh
In the "Laverne and Shirley" episode "A Chorus Line" Toni Basil's character's name was Mickie!Charles Hollingswort - Leeds, Al
I saw a cover of "OVER MY HEAD" in the Candy Apple Primus single. I heard "KITTY" in the single too.Annie - Lombard, Il
This was on a King of the Hill episode when the kids were "Powder Puff Girls" and were cheerleading.James - Indianapolis, In
One of the top "one hit wonders" of the '80s!Cyberpope - Richmond, Canada
I don't think your body ages as much when you are as active as Toni is - she's a dancer. And she has on SOOO much make-up in this video she could have looked 80 and I doubt anyone would have noticed!Linc - Beaumont, Tx
Toni definitely did make the song about a gay man. In some of her performances of the song, when she says "I'll take it like a man" she points her hands over her shoulders to her back, leaving little question as to what she was referring to with that line. You can see this in her performance on Solid Gold. Check it out on youtube.Brendon - Oklahoma City, Ok
According to Wikipedia, Toni Basil was almost 40 years old when Mickey became a hit....I haven't seen the video in years, but I don't remember her looking that old!Greg - Fayetteville, Nc
b*witched did a cover of this. i think it was cute, but after a while, annoying.Caitlin - Upper Township, Nj
The Weird Al version is better!Mike - Germantown, Md
Fantastic song about a Gay man named Mickey.This song remains in my top 3 favourites of all time by a female solo singer.Its a great sing-a-long and dance number with a brilliant video to go with it.Anybody who refuses to give it to Toni Basil must surely be Gay.Terry - Northampton, England
I hate this song. If I ever run into Toni Basil, I will punch her in the mouth. Good thing I will never run into her.Mickey - Nashville, Tn
Toni Basil also choreographed and appeared in the Daddy's Song segment of the Monkees feature film "HEAD" in 1968David - Chicago, Il
This is a cool song!Jammie - Deckerville, Mi
I believe Dan is right, that she did change the song appropriately to what she wanted it to sound like.
That's my 2 cents
Alicia - Conway, Nh
Toni Basil declined to have a Paul Oakenfold remix version of this song released in 1999 - a decision she must surely have regretted later in the year when teenager Lolly went to No.4 in the UK with a cover often referred to as the worst remake in history.Dave - Cardiff, Wales
Mickey is not gay, sorry. If you listen to the original by Racey, entitled "Kitty", this male group sings about a girl, Toni Basil merely changes all female references to male, and didn't bother to change the lyric about taking it like a man, as taking it like a woman most likely didn't sound as good. Mickey is not Gay.Schuyler - Clearfield, Pa
the 2nd cheerleader from the right in the video clip isn't wearing any underwear!!!!!!!Pete - Nowra, Australia
Dan's comments actually make sense. Now I'll never hear that song the same way ever again!Erik - Davis, Ca
Holy COW!!!! I think Dan hit the nail on the head on this one. I never thought about it that way.M - Merrill, Wi
The singer is complaining because Mickey won't give it to her. I contend that it's because Mickey is GAY and she knows it. Listen to the lyrics and tell me I'm wrong!

"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"

...you're so pretty...guys like you...

Now just think about this line:

"So come on and give it to me anyway you can-Anyway you want to do it, I'll take it like a man"

I'll leave that to your imagination.
Dan - Chicago, Il