This was originally recorded as "Kitty" by a group called Racey, which released it in 1979. In the original lyric, Kitty is a girl. Toni Basil changed the title from "Kitty" to "Mickey" and the gender from female to male. Basil choreographed the 1968 Monkees movie Head
, but insists the song is not named after group member Micky Dolenz. She also says there's nothing dirty about the song - it's just a chipper tune about a girl who really digs a guy.
If you do decide to watch Head
, keep an eye out for Basil in a surreal sequence
where she and Davy Jones dance alternately in a white and a black room wearing a combination of white and black.
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, so the video was first established in the UK, where various TV shows played it and sent the song up the charts; it peaked at #2 in the UK 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.
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
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
James - Minneapolis, MN
At UFC 189 held in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 11, 2015, fighter Mickey Gall walked out to his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut to this song. UFC president Dana White tried to talk him out of it and at one point even threatened to ban it, but Gall did it anyway. The crowd loved it, and it's been Gall's signature song ever since. It probably helped that the fight was also the debut of WWE star CM Punk, and that Gall dominated the fight from the very opening seconds to go on to win by submission victory.
In the Friends episode "The One Where They're Up All Night," Phoebe distracts herself from her beeping smoke alarm by singing this, only it gets stuck in her head.
It was also used in these TV series:
Doctor Who ("Death In Heaven" – 2014; "The Magician's Apprentice" – 2015)
Glee ("We Built This Glee Club" – 2015), sung by Max George and Caitlynn Lawson
South Park ("About Last Night" – 2008)
My Name Is Earl ("Early Release" – 2007)
King Of The Hill ("Three Days Of The Kahndo")
And these movies:
The Kissing Booth (2018)
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Man On Fire (2004)
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
Bring It On (2000)
Wayne's World (1992)