Hangin’ Tough

What most of my readers would do if I were to feature any New Kids on the Block music.

What most of my readers would do if I were to feature any New Kids on the Block music.

Today we all turn our squirrel calendars to the merry month of June.  My oh my, where has the year gone?  If only time dragged out as long as my special features do here at The Nest.  We aren’t even to the halfway mark of the countdown that has everyone choosing sides over my shitty music, but we’ll get another step closer today with the next installment of my Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time!  Go on, Scratchy, and drop that next platinum platter so we can all dance, dance, dance!!!


#18. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” – Kim Wilde

In the mid 60’s, a trio of ladies who dubbed themselves The Supremes came out of Motown to dominate the charts with hit after soulful hit.  Their lead singer was some chick named Diana Ross, who you may or may not have heard of before.  Among the songs she belted out for The Supremes before she set out on her own to ease on down the road with the King of Pop was a song about a clingy lover called “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.

Get out, get out of my life!

Get out, get out of my life!

Kim Wilde came along a couple decades later and made a nice little musical career for herself in her homeland, the UK, during the 80’s.  America didn’t go as gaga for her… but she did manage to leave her mark in the States before we deposited her in the disposable pop star recycling bin.  And one of her most indelible marks was this 1986 cover of The Supremes classic that, like Diana and the gals, she managed to take to the top spot on the US pop charts…

Wow… talk about blowing a past version out of the water!  This is a song you can really get down to!

Oh yeah!  Gotta get up and dance to the beat of the creepy boyfriend!

Oh yeah! Gotta get up and dance to the beat of the creepy boyfriend!

To illustrate just how meaningless the term “one hit wonder” is, Kim has a unique distinction in my experience.  She is the only artist I have ever seen classified as a OHW on two different lists for two different songs!  Of course, one was this amazing cover, and the other was her 1981 breakout single that has also managed to become the hit she is best remembered for due to the status it gained as an 80’s anthem… and that would be “Kids in America.”

We're the kids in America! Baaaaa!!!

We’re the kids in America! Baaaaa!!!

And while I like “Kids” (an ironic song given Kim wasn’t from America) better than the cover I am honoring today, that is neither here nor there as far as its ranking in my countdown.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that a third version of this song also became a hit in between Diana and Kim, making it the rare song to have become a Top 10 hit thrice.  Vanilla Fudge did a psychedelic take on “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” that went to #6 just two years after The Supremes’ original.

Groovy, man, groovy!

Groovy, man, groovy!

And this won’t be the last three-time pop hit to appear in the countdown, as you’ll see in a couple weeks.  In the meantime, however, I’ll be back with the seventeenth best cover of all time next Monday!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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26 Responses to Hangin’ Tough

  1. Kim Wilde was our idol as we were teens, we all copied her hairstyle with tons of aquanet and we wore striped shirts and buttons with freaky messages :o) She sadly found a place on my blacklist a couple of years ago as she performed some of her greatest hits ina halfarsed way together with Nena, the pesky 99 air ballons-chick …ewwww…

  2. fanrosa says:

    I still vote OHW, since up unti not long ago to me Kim Wilde was that dude that did Kids in America. After that, Kim Wilde was that chick that did Kids in America. Now it’s that chick that did Kids in America and, apparently, a Vanilla Fudge song.,….

    Ha! After I saw Diana Ross in the tags I felt sure this was Vanilla Fudge and I was going to post another how weird response beacause I almost mentioned them in relation to Blue Swede, was it only last week? Seems like a long time ago.

    Anyway, Hooked on a Feeling and You Keep Me Hangin’ On for some reason get tangled up in my mind. Before I gave it an extra minute of thought, I was going to chastise you last week for giving BJT the credit for Hooked when the Supremes did it first….Ha!

    • I would have to think you have to forfeit the OHW tiara if one of your “other songs” just happens to hit #1. You can’t get more of a hit than that (though as I said in a previous post, ’87 was a weird year for Billboard where there was almost literally a new #1 song every week).

      I was only faintly familiar with the VF version before I did this post, so I gave it a re-listen yesterday to get a better idea what I thought of it. Didn’t even make it halfway through before I pounded the stop button…

  3. draliman says:

    She was actually more than a OHW this side of the pond, I’d say. Or maybe I just bought her album ‘cos I had a crush on her…
    Anyhew, I’ve heard hers and the original versions of this song, and I give Kim’s (see, we’re on first name terms) version a big thumbs up!

    • From what I read, she had quite a few hits in the UK. Oddly enough, next week’s entry features an artist in a very similar situation to Kim Wilde… right down to being huge on your side of the Atlantic, but basically only known for 2 songs in the US!

  4. PigLove says:

    “It has a great beat Dick – you can dance to it” That’s what daddy says anyway. He’s weird like that. Of course, I’m off to listen to it since it’s way before this piggy’s time – snorts with laughter. XOXO – Bacon

  5. Trisha says:

    Hey, I remember this one and It was one of the few pop songs I didn’t hate. (I was more of a hard rock girl in the 80’s and early 90’s) Good choice!

  6. The Cutter says:

    I’m sure I have, but I can’t recall ever hearing this version before now.

  7. markbialczak says:

    Sorry, Bill, I have to go with Diana and the Supremes this week as much as I bow to Kim for her epic “Kids in America,” which classifed her as my favorite 80s Wilde Child. Little bit of crush, yes, I did. I was only two years out of college, after all, and still considered myself a kid! Baaa.

    • I would have been far too shocked had it been three in a row. I’m too young to have remembered “Kids” when it first came out, but picked it up on the wave of 80’s nostalgia that began while I was in college in the 90’s. It’s an awesome piece of the decade… and I’d say Kim would have still classified you as one of the kids at the time. Not sure what she’d think about the crush….

  8. gentlestitches says:

    put Vanilla Fudge out of their misery and set them free. I never heard the VI cover before. It is awful. :-D. Perhaps if one was was anesthetized they would sound better. Now who does it better Diana Ross or Kim Wilde? That is hard! I have to stay up on the fence and say both are excellent!

    • I think most psychadelic rock from the late 60’d was meant to be enjoyed while thoroughly stoned out of one’s mind. When totally sober, it’s just mind numbingly bad! Way to stay on the fence and keep both of the divas happy!

  9. Ally Bean says:

    I have no opinion about the music, but this post has made it clear to me that I want a lava lamp. And a tie-dyed t-shirt. How is it that I don’t own either of those things… anymore?

    • Besides the cruel passage of time?

      Lava lamps must have come back into vogue about a decade ago, because for a short while, we had a large selection of them at Mecca. I think we may still sell a stray one or two for sale if you’re in the mood to get your groovy on…

  10. So — a one hit wonder with two big hits in the U.S., but many more in the U.K. That’s a very BIG OHW. Better than average 🙂

    • I can think of so many other artists that have been slapped with the OHW label that were even more successful than Kim was. It just gets thrown around so often when people can only “remember” one song someone did… and there are so many great songs that were wildly popular in their day that have nevertheless been forgotten about today because they never get played anymore!

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