Hooked On A Feeling

Album: On My Way (1968)
Charted: 5


  • 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, 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, priming audiences for a superhero movie filled with incongruent '70s hits. In the film, Chris Pratt's character carries around a Walkman with a cassette tape his mother made for him: the Awesome Mix Vol. 1. When the Walkman is impounded and a guard listens to this song, Pratt confronts him. Even after getting zapped, Pratt remains indignant, telling the guard, "'Hooked On A Feeling,' Blue Swede, 1973. That song belongs to me!," before getting another jolt as the song comes full in the mix.

    The song leads off the soundtrack to the movie, which went to #1 in America, reviving this song and several others from the era.

Comments: 23

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 1, 1969, B.J. Thomas performed "Hooked On A Feeling"* on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #8 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, three weeks earlier it had peaked at #5 {for 2 weeks} and it spent sixteen weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    Between 1966 and 1983 the Oklahoma native had twenty-seven records on the Top 100 chart, five made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Rain Drops Keep Fallin' On My Head" for 4 weeks on December 28th, 1969 and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" for 1 week on April 20th, 1975...
    Billy Joe Thomas will celebrate his 76th birthday come next August 7th {2018}...
    *Five years later the Swedish rock band Blue Swede covered "Hooked On A Feeling", and on March 31st, 1974 their version peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 10th 1974, "Hooked On A Feeling" by Blue Swede entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and seven weeks later on March 31st, 1974 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    The Swedish group had three other Top 100 records and they also charted in 1974; "Silly Milly" {#71}, "Never My Love" {#7}, and "Hush/I'm Alive" {#61}...
    And four years later on December 23rd, 1978 Canadian Carroll Baker's covered version of "Hooked On A Feeling" reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian RPM Top Country Singles chart.
  • Ove Lartelius from SwedenThere is another beautiful version of this song that Heart of Stones has done https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLBYTns4KmA
  • Martin from Fresno, CaI love B.J.'s version of it.
  • Meocyber from Alma, CoAn excellent song, BJ version. Nice lyrics and sitar sound. As far as the ooga chaga who cares?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxSince I never cared for the original, I got a perverse pleasure listening to Blue Suede's butchery of it.
  • Mike from Norwalk, CtThis is one of those "reach for the dial to change the station" songs.
  • Michael from Delbarton, WvA 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...
  • Joycemorrison from Phi 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.
  • Tony from Brooklyn, NyDennis 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.
  • Dj from Los Angeles, CaThe "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.
  • Kathy from Karben, Germany:D go to youtube.com and watch david hasselhoffs version....its hilarious....the video, omg, just watch it^^
  • Henry from Kingston, NyUgh. 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?
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI prefer the "ooga chucka" version but still a great song, period.
  • Paul from Tucson, AzThe "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!").
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrWhat in the world is an Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga?
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI 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.
  • Dennis from Cebu, Philippines(nat. Swedish, Other"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.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnB.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."
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyRegarding 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"?
  • Kurt from Gothenburg, SwedenThis 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.
  • Marty from Perth, AustraliaJonathan King got to number 23 in the British charts with the song in Nov 1971.
  • Eric from Salt Lake City, UtSongwriter Mark James also had a hand in writing "Moody Blue" (Elvis Presley) and "Always on My Mind" (Elvis, Willie Nelson, Pet Shop Boys).
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