Americanos

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For people of the United States of America, see Americans.
"Americanos"
Single by Holly Johnson
from the album Blast
Released 1989
Format 7" single, 12" single and CD single
Genre Pop
Length 3:35
Label MCA Records
Writer(s) Holly Johnson
Producer(s) Andy Richards, Steve Lovell
Holly Johnson singles chronology
"Love Train"
(1989)
"Americanos"
(1989)
"Atomic City"
(1989)

"Americanos" is a song by former Frankie Goes to Hollywood singer Holly Johnson, released as the second single from his 1989 debut album Blast. The song was written by Holly Johnson and was recorded at Studio Guillaume Tell, Townhouse, London and Battery, London.[1]

Background[edit]

In the MCA press release for the Blast album, the release stated "Besides "Love Train" and "Americanos," key tracks include "Heavens Here" and "Atomic City."[2]

Music video[edit]

In a 1989 issue of the German Bravo magazine, an article based on the music video was published under the headline "Holly Johnson plays lotto fairy". The article revealed the music video's storyline and stated "Living across America you see so called "game-show" games of all kinds, which are the biggest business in the American live television. Everybody takes everyone dreams, and insert the big win. Therefore Holly Johnson chose this topic for his new video "Americanos". Together with photographer Eric Watson, who was already responsible for some Pet Shop Boys videos and for Holly's "Americanos". Directed by Holly, he thought of a fictional television show called "Solid Gold Lottery Show" from where he himself the moderator in a gold lamé suit plays. Superimposed is a typical Mexican-American average family that watches during the broadcast virtually on the screen and have a burning desire to make a big profit in the guessing game. In the lyrics of "Americanos", Holly goes all All-American at the best stockings: How you can become president without a penny, where you wearing nothing but blue jeans or chinos and only Coke and Pepsi drinks?"[3]

In a 1989 article based on Johnson's favourite TV show, he spoke of America and the music video for the "Americanos" song. "Americans are much better at producing sitcoms than the British. They seem to have a much bigger budget than our TV companies, so can afford to spend more on sets and story lines. But I think that British dramas are much better than American ones. The telly is always on at home if I'm in. I read or eat or chat with my friends while it's on, but unless I really want to watch something I basically ignore it. And there's one thing I refuse to watch on telly - American-style game shows. They're absolutely mindless and a real subject of ridicule. But I used them in my Americanos video to show how intrinsic they are to the American way of life. Videos are very important to a song because they represent your image worldwide. It's all very well doing Top Of The Pops here, but that won't get your song played elsewhere. An impressive video will. I always have lots of meetings with the record company over how a video will look and it really pays off."[4]

Relating to the idea behind the video, Johnson spoke of watching TV in an article/interview with Record Mirror on 23 September, 1989, written by Johnny Dee. The article quoted Johnson, stating "Last night I was crying over an Australian mini-series, it was terribly tragic. In my house the TV goes on at about six and stays on for the rest of the night whether you watch it or not. I don't watch Saturday night TV 'cause I'm not really a fan of game shows. I watch them in America because they're so over the top and sicko. Here, the prizes are so insulting. You become the laughing stock of your neighbourhood if you win. A week in Yugoslavia for two - is it worth it?"[5]

Critical reception[edit]

In a UK magazine review of the Blast video release, containing the album's four music videos and one remix video, the author Duncan Webster spoke of the song's video, stating "Elsewhere Holly goes "ridin' the love train" with some unoriginal animation, while "Americanos" shows less imagination than most ads for "blue jeans and chinos", with some tame satire about TV game shows."[6]

A UK magazine review of the Blast video release, spoke of the song and referenced the video, with author Stephen Dalton stating "Heaven's Here" aims to be the sophisticated slowie, scraping through on a combination of sepia-tinted monochrome shots of snogging couples and a spine-tingling chorus. But best of all is "Americanos", Holly perfectly at home as a camp game show host in John Waters-style '50s America, redistributing wealth against a soundtrack of galloping Latin beats and glossily ironic lyrics."[7]

In a July 1990 review of the Blast video release by Melody Maker, the author Caren Myers spoke of the song's music video, stating "Americanos" has the advantage of a social conscience - that is, it is set in a Fifties kitsch world where poor families have better luck at the lottery than rich families. A gold-suited Holly pops up as a game show host and delivers enough "onhonhonhons" to see us through the winter."[8]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "Americanos" - 3:34
  2. "Americanos (Mambo Dub Mix)" - 4:11
12" Single
  1. "Americanos (Liberty Mix)" - 5:32
  2. "Americanos (Radio 7" Mix)" - 3:34
  3. "Americanos (Mambo Dub Mix)" - 4:11
12" Single (UK promo)
  1. "Americanos (Liberty Mix)" - 5:32
  2. "Americanos (Radio 7" Mix)" - 3:34
  3. "Americanos (Mambo Dub Mix)" - 4:11
12" Remix Single ("Magimix" release)
  1. "Americanos (Magimix)" - 6:38
  2. "Americanos (Magimix Dub)" - 4:09
12" Remix Single (American/Canadian Extended Version release)
  1. "Americanos (Extended Version)" - 6:44
  2. "Americanos (P.W.L. Extended Version)" - 5:10
12" Remix Single ("Like an Americanos" release - Not on Label)
  1. "Americanos (House Piano Remix)" - 6:44
  2. "Americanos (Bonus Piano And Effects)" - 5:10
CD Single
  1. "Americanos (Radio 7 Inch)" - 3:37
  2. "Americanos (Liberty Mix)" - 5:32
  3. "Americanos (Mambo Dub Mix)" - 4:14
CD Single (German release)
  1. "Americanos (Radio 7" Mix)" - 3:37
  2. "Americanos (Liberty Mix)" - 5:32
  3. "Americanos (Mambo Dub Mix)" - 4:14
CD Single (American Extended Version promo release)
  1. "Americanos" - 3:30
  2. "Americanos (Extended Version)" - 6:44

Critical reception[edit]

In a 1989 issue of Smash Hits, a review of Blast by Chris Heath stated "If Blast has a single theme it's Holly's insistent optimism, his unusual faith in the human imagination and people's ability to be happy, and he's still got the exuberant Jackanory-storyteller delivery that makes the most cliched lines - "you bring the spring right through my door/you're everything that's worth living for" - sound somehow important. It's a skill used to best effect on his two recent hits, Love Train and Americanos (the latter an '80s update of David Bowie's Young Americans in both its content and its spirit, where he acknowledges the superficiality of the American dream but isn't narrow-minded enough to simply condemn it), and on the annoyingly infectious salsa-pop of Deep in Love. If everything was that good this would be a remarkable return but most of the other songs are routine efforts, not worth the obvious effort and enthusiasm he puts into singing them."[9]

In a 1989 issue of NME, a review of Blast spoke of the song, stating "Anyone with a mind will have loved 'Love Train', a disco anthem of love with its ace lyric 'You're a work of art/You're the Trevi Fountain/You're a golden heart/You're the highest mountain' and will have sussed the acid irony of 'Americanos'. If not, why bother with pop?"[10]

In an April 1989 issue of Melody Maker, a review of Blast by author Steve Sutherland stated "However you look at it, "Blast" is a revelation. The same vengeful confidence which gives a "Blast" to "All the Unbelievers and Deceivers" on the inner sleeve (he also gives the thumbs up to Percy Wyndam Lewis and God) throbs through the hard-on, haughty syncopation of "Atomic City" and the skirt-twirling Latinate sarcasm of "Americanos". "Americanos" is a right miff constructed around the fact that Holly reckons we get conned a lot into buying stuff we don't need which, coming from a man who made a pile selling us umpteen "Two Tribes" remixes and "Frankie Say..." tee shirts, is pretty rich frankly."[11]

In an unknown magazine from 1989, a review of the album stated "No longer with those Frankies, Holly has turned up with an album much better than a lot of people had expected. Of course you'll find "Americanos" and "Love Train" on here and plenty of other hot songs."[12]

In a UK magazine review of the 1989 single "Atomic City", the review stated "It comes as something of a disappointment to find out that "Atomic City" isn't half as breezy as either "Love Train" or "Americanos"."[13]

In a UK magazine, a review of the "Heaven's Here" single was issued, stating "I love Holly Johnson. He's the rudest man in town on his records — he says exactly what he likes. Anyone who can sing what he does in "Love Train" and get it in the Top Five in the charts and still make a fantastic record has a talent. I wish I could be that funny and that outrageous. If I make one record as good as "Relax" I'll be a happy man. I think "Love Train" was superb, I think "Americanos" was great. I think the production could be better on this but I still like it. Ooooooh!"[14]

Jon O'Brien of Allmusic mentioned the song in a review of Johnson's 1991 album Dreams That Money Can't Buy. He stated "It's not a complete write-off. "Boyfriend 65" is a charmingly breezy piece of tropical pop featuring some enchanting backing vocals from the late Kirsty MacColl, the acid-house inspired "When the Party's Over" shows that Johnson was at least aware of the burgeoning rave scene at the time, while "You're a Hit" is a pleasantly melodic affair which sits somewhere between the melodramatic new wave of ABC and the arch synth pop of Pet Shop Boys. But they're only mildly diverting rather than knock-outs and, with nothing here even approaching a "Love Train" or "Americanos," let alone a "Relax" or "Two Tribes," it's a disappointingly bland affair from an artist whose previous career was anything but."[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart[16] 1
Belgian Singles Chart (Vl)[17] 5
Dutch Singles Chart[18] 8
French Singles Chart[citation needed] 2
German Singles Chart[19] 2
Irish Singles Chart[20] 6
Italian Singles Chart[21] 10
New Zealand Singles Chart[22] 10
Norwegian Singles Chart[23] 6
Polish Singles Chart[citation needed] 12
Swedish Singles Chart[24] 7
Swiss Singles Chart[25] 4
UK Singles Chart[26] 4
U.S. Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart[27] 36

In popular culture[edit]

Features in the film Cookie (1989).

Remixes and B-sides[edit]

  • "Americanos" (Liberty mix)
  • "Americanos" (Radio 7" mix)
  • "Americanos" (Mambo Dub mix)
  • "Americanos" (House Piano remix)
  • "Americanos" (Bonus Piano and Effects)
  • "Americanos" (Magimix)
  • "Americanos" (Magimix dub)
  • "Americanos" (Extended version)
  • "Americanos" (P.W.L. extended version)
  • "Americanos" (7 inch instrumental sax)
  • "Americanos" (7 inch instrumental)
  • "Americanos" (Justin Strauss mix)
  • "Americanos" (Karaoke)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Explore Releases on Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  2. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Blast". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  3. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson spielt lotto-fee". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  4. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | My favourite TV programme". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  5. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly-er than thou". Zttaat.com. 1989-09-23. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Blast". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  7. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Blast – The Video". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  8. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | This four-track Holly Johnson compilation". Zttaat.com. 1990-07-28. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  9. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Blast". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  10. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Blast". Zttaat.com. 1989-04-22. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  11. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Rocket man". Zttaat.com. 1989-04-22. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  12. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Blast". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  13. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Atomic city". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  14. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Heaven’s here". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  15. ^ O'Brien, Jon. "Dreams That Money Can't Buy - Holly Johnson : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  17. ^ "Holly Johnson - Americanos". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  19. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  20. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group - http://www.fireballmedia.ie. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  21. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: J". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  22. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  24. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  25. ^ Steffen Hung. "Holly Johnson - Americanos". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  26. ^ http://www.theofficialcharts.com/search-results-album/_/Americanos#single
  27. ^ Holly Johnson (1960-02-09). "Holly Johnson - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-05.