Hot Hot Hot

Album: Hot Hot Hot (1982)
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Songfacts®:

  • This Caribbean classic was the signature song of Alphonsus Cassell, who recorded as Arrow. Cassell, who died of brain cancer in 2010 at age 60, was a popular Soca musician from Montserrat, where he was a star. In explaining the difference between Calypso and Soca in a 1996 Associated Press interview, he used this song as an example. "'Feeling Hot Hot Hot' makes you forget that there's a volcano and remember there's fun to be had," he said, adding that Soca was made for dancing and didn't carry any political messages.
  • First released in 1982, this song charted in the UK at #59 in 1984. In 1994, the "World Carnival Mix" of the song made #38 in the UK.
  • In America, this song became a staple of cruise ships, weddings and other festive occasions when it was covered by Buster Poindexter, who was a character portrayed by David Johansen, frontman for the Punk band New York Dolls.

    Johansen did a bit of performance art with Poindexter, conducting interviews as the character, a brash lounge singer with questionable taste. After the New York Dolls broke up in 1977, Johansen released five solo albums, but it was his transformation to Poindexter that earned him his first hit when this song, released on the 1987 album Buster Poindexter, charted at #45 in America.

    The Buster Poindexter act started in 1984, when Johansen was playing at a New York bar called Tramps with pianist Joe Delia and drummer Tony Machine. They had some fun playing party tunes, and put together an act called Buster's Banshees of Blue, which played gigs at the popular club The Bottom Line. Their material was comprised of fun songs Johansen discovered in his record collection, and one that went over very well was "Hot Hot Hot."

    With the act gaining in popularity, an elaborate backstory was created for the Buster Poindexter character: He was raised in an itinerant musical family from Louisiana, and his father was murdered in a bridge game. The name was really a combination of something his mom called him (Buster) and what his classmates called him to tease (Poindexter).

    Johansen became a regular on Saturday Night Live, sitting in with the house band for six episodes from 1986-1987. He refined his act, doing monologues and comedy bits, and released his first album with songs from his stage show. With a modest hit, a mainstream following, and a steady paycheck, Johansen attained what he never could with his seminal Punk band or as a solo artist. Asked about the transition, he would explain that he was a performer, and that he enjoyed entertaining people as Buster.
  • This was a very popular song on MTV. The video opens with Johansen explaining that he was in the New York Dolls, showing off some of their albums. Johansen would sometimes reference his real life when performing as Buster Poindexter, and included his most popular solo song, "Heart Of Gold" in Buster's shows.
  • The Buster Poindexter version of this song was often played to warm up the crowd at Jimmy Buffett shows before Buffett took the stage.
  • The horn section on Buster's version is the Uptown Horns, who got a their big break playing on Iggy Pop's Party album. A New York act, they often played with David Johansen at the club Tramps and backed him at live appearances.
  • In The Office episode "Back From Vacation" (2007), Andy sings and plays this on a steel drum at the luau party. It was also used in these TV shows:

    Chuck ("Chuck Versus The Business Trip" - 2011)
    Entourage ("The Cannes Kids" - 2007)
    Futurama ("Crimes Of The Hot" - 2002)
    The Simpsons ("Blame It On Lisa" - 2002)
    Everybody Loves Raymond ("The Walk To The Door" - 2000)
    Doogie Howser, M.D. ("Oh Very Young" - 1990)

    And in these movies:

    Vampire Killers (2009)
    Four Christmases (2008)
    Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
    Angus (1995)
    Casual Sex? (1988)

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