Friday, April 13, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Toni Basil

Artist:Toni Basil
Album:Big Hits Of The 80s

Toni Basil is a choreographer and dancer who had one of the biggest hits of the 80s with Mickey. Of course she wasn't much of a singer so she only recorded two albums. She was born Antonia Basilotta Sept. 22, 1943 in Philadelphia. Her mom was an acrobatic comedian in her family's vaudeville act. Her dad was orchestra leader Louis Basil. The family moved to Las Vegas when dad took a job at The Sahara Hotel. Toni went to high school in Las Vegas. She moved to Los Angeles and started out as a go-go dancer. Toni was a dancer and choreographer on the TV series Shindig and the 1964 films The T.A.M.I. Show and Pajama Party. She appeared as a hooker in the landmark 1969 film Easy Rider along with appearances in Five Easy Pieces and The Last Movie. Toni worked consistently as a choreographer in the 70s. She was the leader of the pioneering street dance group The Lockers. In the late 70s, she got into directing and staging music videos. Her work on the Talking Heads video Once In A Lifetime attracted the British songwriting and production team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. They produced Sweet and Suzi Quatro among others. Toni's debut album Word Of Mouth was recorded and released in England in 1980. Chrysalis Records picked up the album and released it in 1982 after some changes. Mickey topped the charts in 1982. Chapman and Chinn wrote the song as Kitty and it was recorded by the British pop group Racey  in 1979 but not released as a single. Toni changed the title to Mickey as a tribute to Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees. Toni also directed and choreographed the music video. The backup band on the song is Devo who would soon have a big hit with Whip It. Toni recorded a second album but her music needed to change for her to have any kind of longevity and she was a very limited singer. You can get Mickey on this Capitol Records various artists budget comp. Toni Basil continues to work as a choreographer for artists like David Bowie and Tina Turner. She has been a guest judge on the FOX competition series So You Think You Can Dance. Here's the director's cut of the video for Mickey by Toni Basil. The opening segment was cut from the version you saw in the 80s.

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