The Story Behind "The Loco-Motion" by Kylie Minogue


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

Music Video

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”?


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