Apr 18, 2007

All about Cotton Eye Joe

How did we miss this?? Last week on eBay, we could have bought the rights to Rednex, the Swedish group behind Cotton Eye Joe. For only $1.5M, we could have owned the rights to one of the greatest/worst sports anthems of all time.

From MTV News:
"Currently up for bid on eBay: a whole bunch of crap you don't need — and sole ownership of one of the greatest novelty acts of the past 20 years, bizarro Swedish popsters Rednex. That's right: If you've got an extra $1.5 million lying around — you know, under the cushions of the couch or whatever — then you can own the group responsible for the version of the classic song "Cotton Eye Joe" that's currently bumping at Yankee Stadium. It's all completely legit, as the post states the buyer inherits 100 percent of Rednex AB, the partnership that oversees all things related to the band. Or, as the posting states in decidedly sexier verbiage, "The buyer gets it all: the music, the trademark, the band, the tour, the record deals [and] the Web site ... [plus] the catalog ... the opportunities, the future."

Things you probably don't know about Cotton Eye Joe:

  1. Who was Cotton Eye Joe? (Part 1): Cotton Eye Joe is a folk tune dating back at least 150 years. There are plenty of theories of who “Joe” was, including: a “hoodoo” man who rolls into town with the travelling medicine show … a slave, a hired hand, or a talented fiddler … even someone who performed abortions. Source: CULTURE & TRADITION: The Canadian Graduate Student Journal of Folklore & Ethnology

  2. Who was Cotton Eye Joe (Part 2): Cotton Eye Joe may have been the seducer of another man’s woman, he may have suffered from trachoma (making his eyes milky-white), and he may have been black or white, but he definitely was an American Southerner. Source: Get Underground

  3. Repeat after me. The chorus of Cotton Eye Joe is repeated over 8 times, which is a a somewhat high repetition rate for a pop song. Source: The Queen anomaly

  4. We're #1 / wir sind Nr. eine. Rednex have spent more weeks at number 1 in Germany than any other artist in the past 25 years. Source: Blender

  5. We suck. Blender ranked Cotton Eye #38 on its list of 50 Worst Songs Ever. That's just behind Gerardo's Rico Suave, and just ahead of Ricky Martin's She Bangs. (#1 was Starship's We Built This City.)

  6. One hit wonder. Cotton Eye Joe was the only hit for Rednex in the United States, but never hit #1 . It did hit #1 in the U.K. in January 1995, and got as high as #8 in Australia. Source: Wikipedia

  7. Last but not least. From Rori Sarig's review on Amazon: "Leave it to the Swedes to feed us back only the best of American kitsch. The gimmick: Techno as made by country bumpkins, bluegrass house music. Utterly dumb, but thoroughly enjoyable. Even a little subversive, perhaps, given the international smash hit "Cotton-Eye Joe," a helplessly catchy disco reworking of an age-old traditional folk tune, slyly coded, and implying what? ... Rednex is all joke, from the banjos and fiddles to the sequencers and drum loops ... Though Rednex fails when it deviates from the formula, it more often works on the knowledge that bluegrass and techno share a fast and steady beat, and can thus stand fusion."

Know any other fun facts about Cotton Eye Joe? Leave them in the comments below!

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