Oh no! Oh yes! Or should it be where is HE now? C’mon everybody, swing your mood and ‘jive’ back to 1989 with Jive Bunny!
I could wrap this one up in one sentence, given that rabbits have an average life expectancy of about four years, which means Jive Bunny (had he been alive) would of died around 1993. Not so this carrot crunching, finger clicking mastermixer. Thirty years ago ‘he’ achieved three consecutive chart toppers with his first three single releases that either delighted or infuriated anyone that owned a pair or ears.
Mr. Bunny was just a front man, however. The star. The face. His team – The Mastermixers – were DJ and producers Les Hemstock, Andy Pickles and Ian Morgan, who hit upon the ‘novel idea’ of taking hits from the 1950’s and 60’s and, well, mixing them all together to create one new dance craze to get everyone on their feet and shimmy, shimmy, shimmy! The year was 1989, the month was June and Jive’s first production “Swing The Mood” was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.
Mashing “Rock Around The Clock” with “Shake, Rattle And Roll” and a little bit of “In The Mood”, the song entered the UK singles chart at No.31. The following week it shot up an astronomical twenty eight places into the top three and seven days later, knocked poor old Sonia (“You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You”) off her perch to claim top dog (or should that be top bunny?!). Jivey B spent the next five weeks there ultimately becoming the second highest seller of the year with over 800,000 copies sold! It was a similar tale elsewhere, topping the charts in a further eleven countries and peaking at number eleven in America.
They were onto something here! “Swing The Mood” was still charting high when, in October, a follow up emerged, “That’s What I Like”, this time bringing together the likes of “Let’s Twist Again”, “Let’s Dance” and the Hawaii Five-O theme, “That’s What I Like” repeated “Swing”s success and rocketed to the top of the charts, although it was less successful in America where it could only reach No.69.
Christmas was soon upon us Bunny lovers and guess what? Yes, Jivey baby was there for us with a collection of Christmas crackers from “Merry Xmas Everybody” to “Another Rock And Roll Christmas” and “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”. “Let’s Party” entered the UK singles chart at number one – boom – three straight chart toppers with the first three singles issued! Not only that but three singles in the top twenty biggest selling records of the year! “Jive Bunny – The Album” was issued at the same time peaking at No.2 in the UK and No.26 in the US as well as topping the Australian album chart (poor Kylie!).
If you thought Bunny music was just for 1989, think again. As a new decade dawned, single number four “That Sounds Good To Me” topped the Irish singles chart in March and reached No.4 in the UK as well as proving a big hit all across Europe. This was followed by “Can Can You Party” (UK No.8) and “Let’s Swing Again” (UK No.19) that same year, all taken from ‘his’ second album “It’s Party Time”.
Releases continued into 1991 and 1992 but by now were missing the charts altogether, even though a “Best Of” collection appeared in 1994. You may think we’ve been spared of further releases but Jive and his team continued to ‘record’ well into the 21st century with a Christmas party album being issued in 2010.
Les Hemstock has since worked with legendary DJ Paul Van Dyk, Ian Morgan became a successful club DJ and Andy Pickles created his own company, U-Explore, that provides career advice to students – presumably in how to have three number singles?(!)