What IS love? Haddaway knows. Have you ‘missed’ him?
The answers to those questions and more lie further on…! So you cannot fail to know who Nestor Alexander Haddaway (b.1965) is? In 1993, his debut single “What Is Love?” was HUGE. A number one in 13 countries and a top ten hit in over 30. Haddaway, as he preferred to be called professionally, spent the early-mid 90’s clocking up a string of smash hits, and then…well, what happened then…?
“What Is Love?” was released in May 1993 and immediately took the European dancefloors by storm, although America was initially lukewarm to it. It peaked at No.6 on the dance chart and No.11 on the singles chart, while the rest of the world made it of the ten biggest sellers on the year in dozens on countries. Haddaway had been signed by Coconut Records back in 1992 and began writing and recording a skip full of songs, twelve of which would make the final pressing, released very soon after “What Is Love?”. The album was a slow burner, making the top ten’s on most album charts across a fifteen month period.
During that time, four other singles were released, including “Life”, another number one and a top ten hit in 15 countries, making No.41 in the US and becoming his last chart appearance over there. The December ballad, “I Miss You”, was another big hit, particularly in the UK, where it took eight weeks to peak in the early weeks on 1994 and became his third consecutive top ten hit there. And it didn’t stop there, Haddaway added a fourth that Spring with “Rock My Heart”, which did scrape to No.25 on the US dance chart, while it completed a quartet of top five chart positions in Finland, of all places!
By now his material was two years old and Haddaway spent the second half of 1994 recording new music, the first single from which came in May 1995. “Fly Away” was pretty much more of the same, but new! The song was not so much of a grand re-entrance as many may of hoped for, although Finland once again came up trumps with a third chart topper! His second album, “The Drive”, was a blink and you miss it affair, only making the chart in five European countries. It featured two other single releases, “Lover Be Thy Name” and “Catch A Fire”, his last UK top 40 entry. Generally, interest in Haddaway fell away at this point. His third album, “Now Let’s Do It” went completely unnoticed, as did the lead single, “What About Me?”.
There was a renewed interest in “What Is Love?” in 1998 when the producers of the US TV show Saturday Night Live released the film ‘A Night At The Roxbury’ starring Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell as a pair of brothers brought together with their love for “What Is Love?”! It was not a massive success at the box office, but it’s a personal favourite and the scenes where they play “What Is Love?” over and over are both hilarious and great to hear the song. It did leave to a short revival in the song on both the charts and in popular culture, but it wasn’t so big that it afforded “What Is Love? a full blown renaissance.
Haddaway has released studio albums in 2001, 2005 and 2011 but without much success. A new remixed version of “What Is Love?” came in 2003 and in 2008 he teamed up with Dr. Alban (remember him from “It’s My Life” in 1992?, what happened to him?!) for the song “I Love The 90’s”. He teamed up with another 90’s ‘relic’, The Mad Stuntman (the one who likes to “Move It, Move It”) in 2012 for the song “Up And Up” and, hoorah, it broke the top twenty on the US dance chart, his highest charting position there in nineteen years! In recent years, Haddaway has toured with Londonbeat, Snap and Ace Of Base as part of a 90’s revival tour and has just released a new single, “I Wanna Be For You”!
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