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Rednex during the video recording of "The End" in Budapest in September 2012. Joe Cagg, Dakotah, Dagger and Ace Ratclaw
Background information
Origin Sweden
Genres Eurodance
Years active 1994–present
Labels Battery Records
Members Anders "Dagger" Sandberg
Ace Ratclaw
Joe Cagg
Misty Mae
Abby Hick
Boneduster Crock
Rufus Jones
Rayanna "Randy" Payne
Rawtooth Rick
Past members Jay Lee
Julie-Anne "Scarlet" Tulley
Mia "Whippy" Löfgren
Jonas "Billy Ray" Nilsson
Urban "BB Stiff" Landgren
Kent "Bobby Sue" Olander
Arne "Ken Tacky" Arstrand
Annika "Mary Joe" Ljungberg
Jens "Snake" Sylsjö
Anders "Maverick" Lundström
Sawtooth Sam

Rednex are a Swedish techno/folk/bluegrass band. They had an international novelty hit with their cover version of the song "Cotton Eye Joe" in 1994. They were very popular in Germany[citation needed], where the band holds the record of most total weeks (25) at number one on the German singles chart[citation needed] over the past 30 years—scoring such hits as "Old Pop in an Oak", "The Spirit of the Hawk”, and "Wish You Were Here".

Rednex usually record their songs with studio musicians, while for concerts and videos there are separate performers, who take on personas that parody the "redneck" stereotype. Since 2000 Rednex have functioned as much like an entertainment troupe as like a band, with an ever-shifting lineup of performers representing the band (as of 2013 there have been 23); and in 2012 an entire separate Rednex group was created in order to perform in Australia and New Zealand.[1]


1994-1999: formation, and Cotton Eye Joe[edit]

Formation and Rednex name[edit]

Rednex was initially the brainchild of Swedish producers Janne Ericsson, Örjan "Öban" Öberg, and Pat Reiniz,[2] who decided to try mixing American folk music with eurodance. The name "Rednex" was chosen as a deliberate misspelling of the word "rednecks".[citation needed]

Cotton Eye Joe, and first album[edit]

In 1994, Rednex reworked the traditional folk song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" as a dance track, which became an international hit single. A debut album titled Sex & Violins followed, spawning several more European hit singles including the up-tempo "Old Pop in an Oak" and the ballad "Wish You Were Here". However, "Cotton Eye Joe" remains the group's only U.S. hit as of 2013 (#25 on the Billboard charts in March 1995).

Band members (1990s)[edit]

2007-2008 Rednex lineup of (left to right) Anders "Maverick" Lundström, Annika "Mary Joe" Ljungberg, and Jens "Snake" Sylsjö.

The founding Rednex line-up, featured in the video of Cotton Eye Joe, comprised characters Mary Joe (aka Karin Annika Ljungberg, who sang most of the female vocals on Sex & Violins), Ken Tacky, Bobby Sue, Billy Ray and Mup (aka Pat Reiniz). Soon after the release of Cotton Eye Joe, the character Mup was replaced by BB Stiff.

In 1996, lead female vocalist Mary Joe was fired, partly due to disagreements with the other band members,[3] and went on to pursue a solo career.[4] The rest of the band took a break from live performance and started working on new material.[5]

Whippy (aka Mia Löfgren) became the new female vocalist in 1998. In 1999, Ken Tacky left the band, reducing the number of male performers from four to three.

2000-2004: band restructure, and new line-ups[edit]

Second album, and single releases[edit]

Rednex' second album entitled Farm Out was released in 2000 (featuring Whippy as the female lead) and found some success in Europe, with the most successful single from the album, "The Spirit of the Hawk", reaching number one in the German singles chart. In 2001, the single "The Chase" was released, charting in Germany and Switzerland.

Greatest hits album, and Cotton Eye Joe remix[edit]

In 2002, the band released a greatest hits album, The Best of the West, including previous hits plus new material. The same year, a remix of Cotton Eye Joe, "Cotton Eye Joe 2002" made the top 30 in Austria.

Band members (2000-2004)[edit]

In 2000, in the wake of Napster's rising presence in the music industry, co-founder Pat Reiniz outlined a new strategy for Rednex. The group would become an entertainment group rather than just a band, so not to be solely dependent on record sales. As he presented this idea to the performers during the video recording of "Hold Me For A While" in Kenya, he was met by great skepticism. Billy Ray replied: "We will not become a goddamn circus act!". The aftermath of this conflict resulted in the whole band being replaced for the first time.[5]

In January 2001, only five months after the former lineup released the best-selling single in Germany in 2000, four new and unproven band members entered the scene: female vocalist Scarlet (aka Julie-Anne Tulley) from England and male performers Dagger (aka Anders Sandberg) from Sweden, Joe Cagg (aka Roy van der Haagen) and Jay Lee (aka Jean-Paul Engeln) from the Netherlands. It was the first time the stage performers were not all Swedish.

In 2003, Joe Cagg and Jay Lee were replaced by Ace Ratclaw (aka Tor Penten) from Sweden, and Boneduster Crock (aka Björn Scheffler) from Germany.

In October 2004, Scarlet resigned from the group due to exhaustion. Mary Joe returned as Scarlet's replacement.

2005-2008: new manager, Rednex Tribute, "for sale"[edit]

New management[edit]

As Mary Joe came back as a performer in the group, she was assigned exclusive rights to license the Rednex trademark until 1 January 2009. During this period the group's focus shifted towards Scandinavia.[5]

Band members (2005-2008), and Rednex Tribute[edit]

In January 2005, Mary Joe sacked Boneduster Crock, replacing him with her husband Snake (aka Jens Sylsjö). In 2006, Dagger was sacked and replaced by Maverick (aka Anders Lundström). Boneduster Crock and Dagger, together with former Rednex Scarlet and Joe Cagg, began to tour as "Rednex Tribute".[6] In April 2007, they were joined by Ace Ratclaw upon his departure from the official Rednex. Rednex continued to perform with only two male characters until December 2008.

Competition performances, and new singles[edit]

Focusing on live performance in Scandinavia, Rednex appeared at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, in Helsinki. On March 11, 2006 Rednex entered the song "Mama Take Me Home" in Semifinal 4 of the Swedish Melodifestivalen in Gothenburg. They qualified for the final via the Second Chance Round, finishing an overall sixth in the final. "Mama Take Me Home" was subsequently released as a single in a few European countries. The band's Scandinavian comeback continued as they released the single "Fe Fi (The Old Man Died)" in November 2006, after having performed it at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The single was surprisingly successful, reaching number four in the Swedish charts.

Rednex planned to take part in the 2007 Romanian national final for Eurovision preselection, together with the Romanian band Ro-Mania, performing "Well-o-Wee". The act was however disqualified, since the judges deemed that several parts of the song had been published and performed as early as 2001.

The following year, Rednex entered the 2008 Romanian Eurovision selection contest, in another collaboration with the band Ro-Mania. The song "RailRoad, RailRoad" qualified for the semifinals, but initial failed to reach the national final. After another song was withdrawn however, "RailRoad, RailRoad" was admitted to the final, held in Bucharest in February 2008.

In June 2008, Rednex released an unofficial single for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship, which took place in Austria and Switzerland. The new song "Football is Our Religion" went to number one in the Swedish charts in the late summer of 2008.

Proposed sale of Rednex[edit]

In 2007, Rednex' controlling company, Rednex AB, was put on sale on eBay, starting at $1,500,000.[2] The band remained available for purchase, but as of November 2012, no sale had been finalized.[1]

2009-2011: return of tribute band members[edit]

Band members (2009-2011)[edit]

On January 1, 2009, after the end of Mary Joe's management licence, control of the Rednex brand returned to the band's founders. The remaining Rednex personnel of Mary Joe, Snake and Maverick were fired by the returning management following a dispute, and were replaced by members of Rednex Tribute (Scarlet, Dagger, Ace Ratclaw and Joe Cagg), all themselves former official Rednex. It was the second time the whole line-up had been replaced simultaneously.[7]

Trademark dispute[edit]

After leaving the official band, Mary Joe, Maverick, and Snake continued to tour as "The Cotton Eye Joe Show presented by the Rednex Band Ltd", causing trademark owners Rednex AB to threaten them and concert organizers with legal action,[8] and resulting in the cancellation of some shows.[9] Annika Ljungberg (Mary Joe) claimed the rights to the Internet domain name, leading Rednex AB to accuse her of “spreading economical damage, lies, ulcer and insomnia like a plague not only within the Rednex group but also other parts of Swedish show business”.[10]

Internet single release, 2010[edit]

In January 2010, Rednex released a new single, "Devil's On The Loose", in a partnership with The Pirate Bay for free and legal download worldwide.[11][12] A video for the track was recorded in August 2009 in Norrbyggeby, Sweden.[13] The song was released as the first single from future album Saturday Night Beaver.

2012 onwards: "Pool" line-up, NZ/Australia franchise[edit]

Flexible band membership (2012 onwards)[edit]

In January 2012, Rednex announced that they had dissolved the concept of a permanent band, intending instead to use a larger pool of characters from which one female and three male performers would be chosen for each performance. Rednex claimed that this idea was "totally unproven and unheard of in the music industry".[14]

The pool of performers in 2012 included Dagger, Joe Cagg, Ace Ratclaw and Boneduster Crock, new female vocalists Dakotah, Abby Hick and Misty Mae, plus new male member Rufus Jones. At the time of the dissolution of the permanent Rednex line-up Scarlet again left the band.[15]

Single releases, 2012[edit]

Single and video "Racing" was released in May 2012. This was followed in November 2012 by "The End". The video for "The End" was recorded on September 2, 2012 at Garay Utca,[16] the ”ghetto of Budapest”,[17] and is a flowumentary.[1] Rednex refuted the notion that "The End" is related to 2012 doomsday theories.[18] The characters featured in the video are Joe Cagg, Dagger, Dakotah, Ace Ratclaw, and Rufus Jones.[19]

Australia/New Zealand franchise[edit]

In November 2012 Rednex began a franchise operation in Australia & New Zealand. Four new performers from Auckland and Wellington were recruited to form a second Rednex with a non exclusive license to perform in Australasia. Performers in the NZ/Australian line-up include: Rayanna Randy Payne (aka Theresa Murphy), Rawtooth Rick (aka Anthony Sibbald), and Slimboy (aka Pascal Roggen). A press release accompanying the franchise launch stated: ”it's the first time an internationally known pop band has cloned itself”.[1][20]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Sex & Violins 2 37 14 27 2 21 3 1 146 68
Farm Out
  • Release date: 21 November 2000
  • Label: Jive Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette
34 60 16
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Details
The Best of the West
  • Release date: 10 February 2003
  • Label: Jive Records
  • Formats: CD, music download


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1994 "Cotton Eye Joe" 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 25 Sex & Violins
"Old Pop in an Oak" 1 1 2 11 11 1 1 2 12
1995 "Wish You Were Here" 1 6 1 26 1 3 1
"Wild 'N Free" 12 11 18 37 24 55
"Rolling Home" 18 42 32 90
1997 "Riding Alone"
1999 "The Way I Mate" 22 34 58 22 37 Farm Out
2000 "The Spirit of the Hawk" 1 1 78 10 3
"Hold Me for a While" 16 25 19
2001 "The Chase" 44 65 54 The Best of the West
2002 "Cotton Eye Joe" (remix) 32 83
2006 "Mama Take Me Home" 3 Non-album songs
"Fe Fi (The Old Man Died)" 4
2007 "Anyway You Want Me" 8
"Looking for a Star" 4
2008 "Railroad, Railroad"
"Football Is Our Religion" 59 1
2010 "Devil's on the Loose"
2012 "Racing"
"The End"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

In popular culture[edit]

Cotton Eye Joe is featured in the films The Negotiator, Space Truckers, Hood of Horror, Studentfesten, Les 11 Commandements and Milk Punch, in the TV series Malcolm in the Middle, My Name Is Earl, Peep Show, New Girl (s02e25), The Morgana Show, Lukas, Beavis and Butt-head and a Season 13 episode of Family Guy, as well as in the video games Just Dance 3 by Nintendo Wii and Carnival Games, and in TV commercials by Telia and Telefonica.[53][54][55][56][57]

Hittin' The Hay and Wild And Free are featured in the film Barnyard.[53]

Ride The Hurricane's Eye was title track for German TV-series WinneToons.[58]

Spirit of the Hawk was title track for the German version of Fort Boyard in 2000.

PlayStation's SingStar is featuring Cotton Eye Joe and Old Pop In An Oak.[59]

Rednex released their own CD ROM game in 1995 called Inbred With Rednex, including unreleased songs.[60]

Cotton Eye Joe has been performed numerous times in various talent shows including Americal Idol. One of the more regionally famous performances being by Király L. Norbi in the Hungarian X-Faktor.[61]

Cotton Eye Joe is frequently played at sports venues including the gold medal game in ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics and during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.[62]


  1. ^ a b c d Press release (2012-11-05). Pop band starts franchising. Retrieved on 2012-11-05.
  2. ^ a b (2007-05-14). Rednex On Sale For $1.5 Million. Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
  3. ^ "Ongoing Conflicts", RedNex Music, 25 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Annika 'Mary Joe' Ljungberg Solo Career", KDJ Eurodance', 25 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Historien om Rednex", Magasinet Novell, 4 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Rednex stämmer falska kopiorna". 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  7. ^ (2008-09-26). Rednex exchanges the whole band!. Retrieved on 2008-09-27.
  8. ^ Fraud Reports (2009-05-25). Fraud Reports. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
  9. ^ Nerikes Allehanda (2009-05-25). Annika Ljungberg abuses the Rednex trademark. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
  10. ^ (2009-05-25). The Rednex copy. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
  11. ^ "Devil's on the Loose". The Pirate Bay. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Rednex Music". Rednex. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  13. ^ Norrtelje Tidning (2009-08-28). Rednex video recording of Devil's On The Loose. Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  14. ^ "Rednex – Official site for No.1 pop band Rednex". Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  15. ^ "JulieAnne Tulley – United Kingdom". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  16. ^ "The End". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  17. ^ "Rednex Blikk". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  18. ^ "Rednex: Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  19. ^ "Pesti gettóban, csövesekkel forgatta legújabb klipjét a Rednex". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  20. ^ "Rednex NZ". Rednex NZ. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  21. ^ " – Austria Top 40". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  22. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada – Top Albums/CDs". RPM. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  23. ^ " – Finnish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  24. ^ " – Dutch charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  25. ^ " – Norwegian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  26. ^ " – New Zealand charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  27. ^ " – Swedish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  28. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "Chart Log UK: The Rabble Army – RZA". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "Rednex : Allmusic : Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  31. ^ a b c d e "IFPI Austria – Verband der Osterreichischen Musikwirtschaft". IFPI. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Rednex – Sex and Violins". Music Canada. 
  33. ^ The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  34. ^ " – Austria Top 40". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  35. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  36. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts – German Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  38. ^ " – Dutch charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  39. ^ " – Norwegian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  40. ^ " – Swedish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  41. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Chart Stats – Rednex". Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  43. ^ "Rednex Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  44. ^ a b c d "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Rednex)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  45. ^ "Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe". NVPI. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  46. ^ a b Norwegian certifications
  47. ^ "AWARDS 1993". IFPI (Switzerland). Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  48. ^ "Sweden's certification-database 1987-1998". IFPI (Sweden). Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  49. ^ "BPI Searchable Database". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  50. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – April 16, 2011: "Cotton Eye Joe" certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  51. ^ a b "AWARDS 1995". IFPI (Switzerland). Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  52. ^ "AWARDS 2000". IFPI (Switzerland). Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  53. ^ a b "Rednex on IMDB", imdb, 27 October 2012.
  54. ^ "Rednex on IMDB series", imdbseries, 27 October 2012.
  55. ^ "Just Dance 3 Amazon", Amazon, 17 November 2009.
  56. ^ "Telia TV commercial", Telia, 2008.
  57. ^ "Carnival Games", Carnival, 2011.
  58. ^ "WinneToons", WinneToons, 2003.
  59. ^ "Rednex on SingStar", SingStar, 27 October 2012.
  60. ^ "Inbred With Rednex", You Tube, 9 February 2011.
  61. ^ "Kiraly", Kiraly, 27 October 2010.
  62. ^ "Yankees", Yankees, 24 September 2005.

External links[edit]