Some songs just don’t seem to be good candidates for cover versions. Who would’ve guessed that Kanye West’s “Heartless” could work as a solo acoustic tour-de-force that trumped the original, much less by a contestant on American Idol? (Yay, Kris!)
So until quite recently, I would have thought Yello’s “Oh Yeah” also off limits. How the heck do you take that sample-heavy Swiss-made piece of idiosyncrasy (“The moon… even more beautiful”), made famous by its prominent usage in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and put a unique new spin on a song forever linked to the forbidden fruit that was Cameron’s dad’s cherry-red 1961 Ferrari 250 GT convertible?
Well, back in 1998, Daniel Pemberton gave it a shot, recording “Oh Yeah” (as Crazy Glue) for the compilation, In Their Eyes: ’90s Teen Bands vs. ’80s Teen Movies. I picked up the CD, now relegated to the bargain bin, a few weeks ago because of my deep appreciation for the John Hughes era and its soundtrack music. Though seeing “Oh Yeah” among the covers was definitely intriguing, still I cued Track 7 with pretty low expectations. But this updated model (itself now ten years old) totally works. Oh yeah.
In the liner notes to In Their Eyes, Pemberton say this about the tune-up:
“I love the way ‘Oh Yeah’ is so in your face — it always reminded me of beered-up frat boys in bad Hawaiian shirts. I decided against doing anything particularly abstract or ‘intelligent’ and instead plump for something a bit more lowest-common-denominator to retain this flavor. Incidentally, it was recorded in my bedroom on exactly the same make of sampler (an Emulator) that Ferris has in his bedroom. I guess I wish I could be like Ferris, but I’ve a nasty feeling I’m probably more like his dorky friend.”
[Stream no longer available]
Dorky or not, Daniel Pemberton has since gone on to much acclaim under his own name as a TV/film composer in the UK. Most recently, he contributed about 40% of the soundtrack for the Sony PS3 video game, Little Big Planet.
Oh, and if in the years since Ferris Bueller was released you’ve made enough dough to purchase your very own Ferrari convertible, the perfect parking space just became available.
Unavailable for download, Crazy Glue’s “Oh Yeah” can be found on In Their Eyes: ’90s Teen Bands vs. ’80s Teen Movies, which also features Phantom Planet, Ben Lee, and The Donnas. Purchase the CD via resellers on Amazon.