â€œAwwwww, yeah! I see a real woman, I need to grab her, she busts out yodelinâ€™â€¦â€
There is just no better way to open a song than that.
In 1988, after hitting #1 with the Gary Glitter/â€Dr. Whoâ€ mash-up â€œDoctorinâ€™ the Tardis,â€ Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty â€“ you might remember him from such WLW posts as â€œJustified Ancients of Mu-Mu, â€˜Itâ€™s Grim Up Northâ€™â€ â€“ wrote a book called The Manual. The bookâ€™s subtitle explains its purpose: â€œHow to Have a Number One the Easy Way.â€ It donâ€™t take money, it donâ€™t take fame, and it sure as hell donâ€™t take musical skill, Drummond and Cauty explain, and they use their â€œsongâ€ â€œTardisâ€ as the case study. If you have a job, forget it; you wonâ€™t be dedicated enough to see it through. Are you a musician? Quit playing your instrument. â€œEven better, sell the junk,â€ they say.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Austria, three remixers read The Manual, and it hits them: ABBA + Indeepâ€™s â€œLast Night a DJ Saved My Lifeâ€ = gold, baby! Edelweiss was born, and five million records were about to be sold. Drummond and Cauty may have had their tongues firmly planted in cheek when they wrote this, but they werenâ€™t joking; The Manual worked, and Edelweiss were the first of many bands to prove it. Even the Pipettes and Klaxons were allegedly inspired by The Manual. Who knew?
Less a song than a collection of bits from other songs â€“ the assembly of the track owes more to â€œPump Up the Volumeâ€ and Bomb the Bassâ€™ â€œBeat â€˜Disâ€ than â€œTardisâ€ â€“ Edelweiss swiped the first half of the chorus to ABBAâ€™s â€œSOSâ€ and changed the words to â€œSo if you really love me, you should bring me Edelweiss,â€ referring to the pretty flower that grows in the alpine region. If a man wanted to impress a woman, he would get her one of those flowers, even though it meant quite possibly falling to his death in the process. Those Austrians, theyâ€™re a hardcore bunch.
But not too hardcore. Between the ABBA-cribbing bits are yodeling girls, King Ad Rockâ€™s â€œYeah!â€ from Beastie Boys’ â€œFight for Your Right,â€ that ubiquitous â€œAw, yeah!â€ that appeared in every club mix released between 1989 and 1990, and even an accordion riff scratched to the heavens, â€œBring Me Edelweissâ€ is sixteen different flavors of silly. And speaking of King Ad Rock, two guys do their best Beastie Boys impression in the break, though even though Iâ€™ve heard this song a million times, I couldnâ€™t tell you a single thing theyâ€™re saying other than what I quoted in the intro.
As you might expect from a byproduct of The Manual, â€œBring Me Edelweissâ€ is almost hilariously stuck in 1989, sporting a shelf life roughly 30 seconds longer than the song itself. But weâ€™re guessing that hardly mattered to the band. They got their hit, which likely never would have happened had Drummond and Cauty not shown them the way. Interesting tidbit: Edelweiss member Walter Wezowa apparently wrote the Intel jingle. Ka, ching.
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