Look, you know what you’re getting here with Blue Swede. One of those ‘throw some guys in the studio’, give it a name and see where it lands on the charts type stuff that dotted the 1970’s music scene.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Blue Swede
ALBUM: Out Of The Blue
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Bjorn Skiffs – lead and backing vocals * Jan Guldback – drums * Bosse Liljedahl – bass * Michael Areklew – guitar * Anders Berglund – keyboards, backing vocals * Tommy Berglund – trumpet, flugelhorn, backing vocals * Hinke Ekestubbe – sax, flute, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hush/I’m Alive * 02 Don’t Be Fooled By The Name * 03 Dr Rock and Roll * 04 Baby, I Need Your Loving * 05 Rock N Roll * 06 Out Of The Blue * 07 Flashback * 08 Halfbreed * 09 Why Don’t You Go Your Own Way * 10 I Didn’t Sing (In The New York Subway)
One of the better and memorable burn-in-your-brain singles of the 1970’s was Blue Swede’s cover of the 1969 B.J Thomas moldy oldie ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ but the ooga-chaka ooga-chaka’s came from somewhere else believe it or not.
Indeed, Jonathan King, the man behind Genesis, 10cc and at the time, numerous underage young boys, recorded a version of the song and released it as a single with the innovative ooga-chaka ooga-chaka’s included. Blue Swede copped the best bits from King’s version and created a golden cash cow that still racks in the dough thanks to ‘Oldies’ radio and the fact it’s undeniably a great tune.
Fast forward a year later to 1975 and Blue Swede, who were originally formed around moderately popular Swedish singer Bjorn Skiffs had to prove their metal so to speak and released ‘Out Of The Blue’ which was followed by an extensive North American tour. Anyone see it? Probably not and fewer bought this album I’m afraid.
As to be expected it’s the cover tunes that dominate the album and ‘Hush’ is predictably nowhere near as cool as the Deep Purple version of the Joe South classic. But surprise, surprise ‘Baby, I Need Your Loving’ is great, done in a soft rock/country style. I like it better than the ever popular The Four Tops take, believe it or not.
But god help me was The Velvet Underground‘s ‘Rock And Roll’ necessary? A mediocre tune, hell the best thing I ever heard from that band was the ‘Squeeze’ album and that didn’t include the boring Lou Reed (who wrote ‘Rock and Roll’), John Cale and most of the Velvet’s. Why does everyone heap so much praise on these guys? Anyway I digress.
The title track is nice and co-written by Skiffs in a neat funky 70’s style along the lines of The Spinners which carries over to ‘Flashback’, another cover co-credited to Alan O’Day: mister ‘Undercover Angel’ – remember him?
Finally ‘Half Breed’, the song that gave Cher a number one hit a couple years earlier is given the Blue Swede treatment with mixed results so I’ll spare everyone my over the top criticism in favor of another Skiffs original ‘Why Don’t You Go Your Way’ which is solid ’70s pop and would have been my choice for a single, but I was 14 when this record was released so what did I know?
Look, you know what you’re getting here. One of those ‘throw some guys in the studio’, give it a name and see where it lands on the charts type stuff that dotted the 1970’s music scene. But guess what? Blue Swede did it better than most and there was some real talent here, plus they really were Swedish.
Where are they now? Who knows but with ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ still as popular as it is, they could easily join Styx and REO Speedwagon on the Casino-State Fair circuit and dazzle the hell out of the 45-60 crowd which includes me I guess!