Track of the Day: 'Hooked on a Feeling' by Blue Swede

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

A reader, Joe, adds another great song to the cover series—and the second one to appear from the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack:

I nominate “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede (1974). The original, by B.J. Thomas, was a sappy, unmemorable love song. This cover version is one of the strangest songs ever to hit to the top of the charts. I remember the first time I heard it, when I was a student in middle school. I thought it had to be a joke or a mistake, with its a cappella “ooga chaggas,” and I’m pretty sure it made me laugh. But there’s actually a lot going on here. Once the song gets rolling, the backing horn section is terrific, and when the “ooga chaggas” return, about halfway through, notice how they are shifted so they don’t match up exactly with the vocals. Even after 40+ years, this version still sounds fresh to me.

Update from a reader:

Blue Swede managed to transform a pretty insipid song into something pretty cool. David Hasselhoff took the opposite tact. He doubled down on the cheese factor and turned it into an epic celebration of sap. Long live The Hoff.

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