Since I’m going to see Australian singer Kylie Minogue at the Fox Theater tonight, I’m featuring her cover the Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion.” I saw her in concert for the first time in Las Vegas about two years ago, and I will be rejoining the original gang tonight.
It seems funny for Kylie Minogue to come to Atlanta to perform and seem so accessible, after following her music career for the past 23-years. I usually had to buy her CDs by mail order or via import shops, and I have a lot of memories of different people, places, and events that come to mind when I play her music. In fact, Kylie and I are the same age, so it seems like we’ve grown up together. She also shares a birthday with my late best friend, Kent, on May 28.
Named after the Aboriginal word for boomerang, Minogue and her sister Dannii appeared on a variety of TV programs in Australia. However, it wasn’t until Minogue joined the cast of Neighbours, a soap opera about the inhabitants of suburb of Melbourne. Minogue played a tomboy mechanic named Charlene.
While at a charity event, Minogue gave an impromptu performance of the song, backed by the cast of her show. Mushroom Records offered her a contract to record the song as a single. “The Locomotion” was released on July 28, 1987 and topped the Australian charts for seven weeks, eventually becoming the biggest selling record of the 80s.
Minogue was eventually brought to the attention of Stock/Aitken/Waterman, who had already written and/or produced “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” for Dead or Alive, “Venus” for Bananarama, and “Never Gonna Give You Up” for Rick Astley, among other hits. They had forgotten they had agreed to work with her until Minogue showed up at PWL Studios in London. SAW ducked into a studio and wrote and “I Should Be So Lucky” for her, ushered her inside, and recorded it in under an hour. Released on December 29, 1987, the song eventually spent five weeks at #1 in the UK, followed by a second single, “Got to Be Certain,” which peaked at #2. In August of 1988, Minogue released a re-recorded version of “The Loco-Motion,” which was produced by SAW. It charted at #2 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S., becoming Minogue’s last top 10 hit in the States until 2002’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head.”
1987 Australian Versions
The Locomotion 3’17
The Locomotion [Chugga-Motion Mix] 7’38
The Locomotion [Girl Meets Boy Mix] 3’15
1988 Stock/Aitken/Waterman Versions
The Loco-Motion [LP Version] 3’17
The Loco-Motion [Kohaku Mix] 5’59
The Loco-Motion [Sankie Mix] 6’35
The original music video for “The Locomotion” was filmed at Essendon Airport and ABC Studios in Melbourne. Minogue, in various outfits, dances with three young women and three young men in a studio. The video for “The Loco-Motion” used the footage from the original video, and added footage of Minogue singing in PWL Studios. All in all, it’s a pretty cheesy affair.
I don’t particularly have a memory of “The Loco-Motion,” but I do remember catching the music video for “I Should Be So Lucky” on MTV earlier that year. On a whim, I bought the 7″ single at Sound Warehouse. When Kylie Minogue released her album, Kylie, later that summer, I bought it because it had a cover of “The Locomotion,” which was a favorite song of mine as a child. It was one of the first CDs that I purchased. I made a 60-minute mix tape that had the singles from Bananrama’s WOW! album, Rick Astley’s Whenever You Need Somebody album, Mel & Kim’s F.L.M. album, and Kylie Minogue’s Kylie album. I played it that late summer and fall as I drove around in my 1971 VW Superbeetle with a factory sunroof. Good times …
Do you have any memories of Kylie Minogue’s cover of “The Loco-Motion”?