If you were Haddaway, do you think you would be embarassed that your song became the centerpiece to a Saturday Night Live sketch that was so popular that it was expanded into a nearly unwatchable movie titled Night at the Roxbury?
Or would you be proud?
If I’m Haddaway, I’m completely content to have unleashed a pop song that is so relentless, it enters your brain, sits down on the couch, makes a ham sandwich, orders a pay-per-view movie and doesn’t leave for weeks.
“What is Love” is that relentlessly catchy and obnoxious dance hit that made one-name Haddaway an artist so big (albeit briefly), he didn’t require a last name.
“What is Love” is easily one of the worst one-hit wonders ever. It’s awful. I didn’t like it then. I don’t like it now.
But as always, I was clearly in the minority then since the song became the #1 song in 11 countries and “What is Love” reached #11 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1993, which transformed Haddaway into a one-hit wonder.
Listen to What is Love by Haddaway
“What is Love” sold millions of copies worldwide. Millions!
I doubt many of the song’s millions of owners count “What is Love” as one of their prize possessions. But I can guarantee that if you drop “What is Love” onto a playlist at your neighborhood dance party, people will suddenly bob their heads to the side in some kind of Pavlovian reaction to the incessant disco beat.
Just like the Roxbury Guys (Butabi brothers) in their slightly amusing SNL sketch and their really, really awful Night at the Roxbury movie, which has to rank as one of the worst of all Saturday Night Live movies. That is one impressive accomplishment. Even Will Ferrell in all his comic genius couldn’t freshen the stink on that thing.
As for Haddaway, he drifted away from the United States charts but had a few more hits in Europe. He’s still plugging away at a music career and receiving royalty checks from his one big hit.
Do I think he’s embarrassed about “What is Love.” No more embarrassed than Right Said Fred is for “I’m Too Sexy” or Los del Rios are for “Macarena.” In other words, they’re all completely fine with their fame and their hit song’s infamy. It’s what made them famous after all. And it’s that song that continues to buy groceries or pay mortgages or cover car payments or whatever else these guys want that residual income to cover. Sounds like a pretty brilliant business model to me.
Buy What is Love by Haddaway
Filed under: 1990s, Pop · Tags: 1990s 1 hit wonder, 1990s one hit wonder, 1993, 1993 1 hit wonder, 1993 one hit wonder, disco, disco one hit wonder, Haddaway, I'm Too Sexy, Los Del Rio, Macarena, Right Said Fred, Saturday Night Live, SNL, techno, What is Love, Will Ferrell, worst one hit wonders