The Simpsons Sing the Blues

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The Simpsons Sing the Blues
Studio album by Matt Groening and The Simpsons
Released December 4, 1990
Recorded September 1990
Genre Hip hop, blues, R&B, soundtrack, jazz
Length 42:22
Label Geffen Records
Producer John Boylan
Michael Jackson
Bryan Loren
DJ Jazzy Jeff
Matt Groening chronology
Crazy Backwards Alphabet
(1987)
The Simpsons Sing the Blues
(1990)
Stranger than Fiction
(1992)
The Simpsons chronology
The Simpsons Sing the Blues
(1990)
Songs in the Key of Springfield
(1996)
John Boylan chronology
The Simpsons Sing the Blues
(1990)
Chipmunks in Low Places
(1992)
Singles from The Simpsons Sing the Blues
  1. "Do the Bartman"
    Released: November 20, 1990
  2. "Deep, Deep Trouble"
    Released: 1991
  3. "God Bless the Child"
    Released: 1991
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Tiny Mix Tapes 1.5/5 stars[2]

The Simpsons Sing the Blues is the first album released as an offshoot of The Simpsons. The album contains originally recorded music not featured in the series save for the first verse of the track "Moaning Lisa Blues" which was first featured in the episode "Moaning Lisa", aired February 11, 1990. The album was released on December 4, 1990 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200.

An early musical number, "Do the Bartman", leads the album as the first track and the first single released. It was an international success, including being the UK number one single on February 16, 1991, staying there for a further two weeks being certified Gold after selling over 400,000 copies.[3] The second single released, "Deep, Deep Trouble" also did well in the UK, reaching number 7. Both "Do the Bartman" and "Deep, Deep Trouble" were released as music videos in 1991.

Different cast members lent their voices to the album with both new material and cover songs. There were a number of notable musicians who appeared on the album, including B. B. King, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Dr. John and Marcy Levy.

Background[edit]

David Geffen, founder of Geffen Records, had the idea to record an album based on The Simpsons, to be released in time for Christmas 1990. The writers wrote humorous lyrics for the actors to perform over blues and hip hop.[4] The voice actors for the series recorded the album in September 1990. The album was difficult to produce in between production for the second season of The Simpsons, which was due to premiere just two weeks later.[5] The album's title was penned by producer, James L. Brooks.[6] "We plundered a number of different styles for the record," admitted creator Matt Groening in a 1990 interview.[7] The disc contains an eclectic mix of old blues tunes such as Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" and original songs such as "Deep, Deep Trouble", which was produced by rapper DJ Jazzy Jeff and written by Groening.[5]

Release[edit]

The album faced great publicity before its release, with several details leaking out. Fox attempted to keep the record under wraps until negotiations with performers such as Michael Jackson were nailed down.[5] One particular element that was highly publicized was Jackson's involvement, which was denied around the time of the album's release. "Oh, it's so frustrating," lamented Groening in a 1990 interview. "I said to a reporter a while ago that I would like to have this happen and it was printed as if it was true."[5] Early published reports attributed Jackson as the composer of "Do the Bartman", which led to James L. Brooks issuing a press release apologizing for any misunderstanding about who actually wrote the song, instead revealing that Bryan Loren wrote the song.[6] Fox also organized a media event around the album, pulling in nearly a half-dozen camera crews to interview and tape the would-be recording stars in action.[6]

The album The Simpsons Sing the Blues was released on December 4, 1990 and was a success, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200, making it the highest charting Simpsons album.[8] The album was also a success in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #6 on the albums chart and was eventually certified Gold. The lead single from the album, "Do the Bartman", was released on November 20, 1990, followed by the unveiling of animated music video after the Simpsons episode "Bart the Daredevil" on December 6. After the Fox network premiere, the video was exclusive to MTV.[7] The song wasn't actually released as a physical single, which perhaps helped sales of the album.[9] The music video for "Deep, Deep Trouble" debuted after "Bart's Dog Gets an F" on March 7, 1991.[10]

On December 14, 1990, the album was certified platinum, having sold over 1 million copies in its first week of release.[11] Within a matter of weeks, the record was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, on February 13, 1991, for sales of over 3 million copies.[4][12]

Legacy[edit]

The Simpsons Sing the Blues is today regarded as a novelty from The Simpsons '​s early popularity.[4] Shortly after the record's release and success, record companies rushed to fashion music stars out of animated characters. In January 1991, Mattel announced plans to record a Barbie rock album titled The Look. At the same time, MCA Records was finishing work on an album based on the Mario Bros. characters. SBK and Geffen also enjoyed huge success with albums based on the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons Sing the Blues. The record soon became the fastest-selling album to emerge from a television show since the Miami Vice soundtrack in 1985.[13] Disney also issued an album of rock songs sung by The Little Mermaid '​s Sebastian as well as an album of songs sung by the cast of Dinosaurs, a series often compared to The Simpsons during its run.[14] "Do the Bartman" inspired a dance, "The Bartman", that was popular in early 1991.[9]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Do the Bartman" (written by Michael Jackson and Bryan Loren)
  2. "School Days (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)" (Originally written and performed by Chuck Berry)
  3. "Born Under a Bad Sign" (originally performed by Albert King; written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell
  4. "Moanin' Lisa Blues"
  5. "Deep, Deep Trouble" (Matt Groening, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince)
  6. "God Bless the Child" (originally performed by Billie Holiday; written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr.)
  7. "I Love to See You Smile" (originally by Randy Newman)
  8. "Springfield Soul Stew" (based on "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis)
    • Marge Simpson
  9. "Look at All Those Idiots" (Jeff Martin, Sam Simon, Jai Winding)
  10. "Sibling Rivalry" (John Boylan, James L. Brooks, Jai Winding)
    • Bart Simpson
    • Lisa Simpson

Singles[edit]

Information
"Deep, Deep Trouble"
  • Released:
  • Written by Matt Groening, DJ Jazzy Jeff, the Fresh Prince
  • Produced by
  • Chart positions: #7 (UK)
"Do the Bartman"
  • Released: November 20, 1990
  • Written by Michael Jackson* and Bryan Loren
  • Produced by Michael Jackson
  • Chart positions: #1 (UK)
"God Bless the Child"
  • Released
  • Written by Billie Holiday & Arthur Herzog Jr.
  • Produced by
  • Chart positions:

Discography[edit]

Country Label Format Catalog
USA Geffen Cassette M5G 24308
USA Geffen Vinyl GHS 24308
USA Geffen CD 9 24308-2
USA Geffen Goldline Cassette M5G 24308
USA Geffen Goldline CD 24308
Canada Geffen Cassette GEBBC-24308
Canada Geffen CD GEBBD-24308
Canada Geffen Vinyl
Germany Geffen Cassette
Germany Geffen Vinyl
Germany Geffen CD 7599-24308-2
Germany Geffen CD GED 24 308/GEFD 24 308
UK Geffen Cassette
UK Geffen Vinyl
UK Geffen CD GFLD 19201
USA Geffen CD Promo 9 24308-2

* - No credit given, as he was under contract to another label.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 24
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[16] 36
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[17] 17
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[18] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 24

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes review
  3. ^ BPI Certification
  4. ^ a b c Ortved, John (2009). The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Faber and Faber. pp. 125–126. ISBN 0-86547-988-7. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hastings, Deborah (September 28, 1990). "The Simpsons sing the blues". Deseret News. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Deborah Hastings (September 26, 1990). "The Simpsons sing the blues". The Post and Courier. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Marilyn Beck (November 15, 1990). "Recording world beware: Simpsons sing the blues". Boca Raton News. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Artist Chart History — The Simpsons". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  9. ^ a b Loretta Grantham (February 12, 1991). "Dancers Get in Step with Bart". The Dispatch. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ Janis Froelich (March 12, 1991). "Down in a Foxhole". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Simpsons go platinum". Daily News. Associated Press. December 14, 1990. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  12. ^ "RIAA Searchable database – Gold and Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  13. ^ "Animated 'toons now singing tunes". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. January 12, 1991. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  14. ^ Tom Moon (December 25, 1990). "Cartoon characters crooning to kiddos". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Simpsons – THE SIMPSONS SING THE BLUES". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Simpsons – THE SIMPSONS SING THE BLUES" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "The Simpsons – THE SIMPSONS SING THE BLUES". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Simpsons – THE SIMPSONS SING THE BLUES". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  19. ^ "The Simpsons – THE SIMPSONS SING THE BLUES". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 19, 2013.