Waikiki Man – Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones hailed from Glamorgan in Wales, but made her way to South Africa and decided to stay. Perhaps scoring a number 1 hit with ‘Sunday Monday Tuesday’ persuaded her to make SA her home. Her second hit, ‘Wake Up Wake Up’ went to 9 and ‘Waikiki Man’, which was produced by none other than David Gresham, made it to 13.
Despite the title referring to Waikiki, a beachfront neighbourhood of Honolulu in Hawaii, the sound of the song does not conjure up images of white sands, blue seas and flowery garlands, it is too much of a glam pop stomp to do this, starting as it does with a guitar intro that Damon Albarn and the boys from Blur surely must have heard before they wrote the intro to ‘Parklife’.
The song was written by Dutch producer and song writer Peter Koelewijn who also penned Maria’s ‘Clap Your Hands And Stamp You Feet’ and its quite appropriate becase this is a song designed to clap your hands and stamp your feet to. It was a European hit for Bonnie St Clair, going to 4 in Belgium, 5 in Holland, 14 in Austria and 30 in Germany. Not to be outdone, Jessica’s version was also a hit beyond our borders, getting to number 1 in what was then Rhodesia and managing to keep David Bowie’s ‘Sorrow’ off the top spot there. It also managed to get to 12 in New Zeland according to the information I have found although the sleeve notes to ‘Yesterday’s Best Vol 1’ say that it topped the charts there, but I have not been able to verify that.
Jessica has since returned to the UK, but she certainly made her mark on the SA pop scene in the 1970s and ‘Waikiki Man’ was one of those noticeable marks.
Where to find it:
Yesterday’s Best Vol 1, 1995, Teal, MORCD502