Toy Soldiers (song)

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"Toy Soldiers"
Single by Martika
from the album Martika
Released January 21, 1989
Recorded 1988
Genre Pop rock, soft rock
Length 4:52
Label CBS
Writer(s) Martika, Michael Jay
Producer(s) Michael Jay
Martika singles chronology
"More Than You Know"
(1988)
"Toy Soldiers"
(1988)
"I Feel the Earth Move"
(1990)
Music sample

"Toy Soldiers" is a song by Martika appearing on her eponymous debut album in 1988, and released as the third single in January 1989. It was a number-one Billboard hit song for two weeks in the United States in the summer of 1989.

Song overview[edit]

Martika wrote the song about a friend who was battling a cocaine addiction. "I was a little hesitant because I had only written two songs before and they were light songs. I came up to Michael and said I wanted to write about drugs. It was the first time I got the nerve to write about something that was scary for me to talk about, so I did." [1]

Personnel[edit]

Martika is the only one who sings throughout the song, although she is joined on the chorus by some of her former castmates from Kids Incorporated, including Renee Sands, Stacy Ferguson, Rahsaan Patterson, as well as later cast members Jennifer Love Hewitt and Devyn Puett, as backup vocalists.

Chart success[edit]

The song spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and New Zealand while reaching number five in both the United Kingdom and Australia. When it spent its first week at number one, it had leapt over Madonna's "Express Yourself" and kept that song from reaching the top spot. On Billboard's year-end chart for 1989, "Toy Soldiers" placed number 29. It was Martika's only number-one single in the U.S., and her highest-ranking single in the United Kingdom. The single was certified Gold in the United States by the RIAA.

In March and April 2009, VH1 ran a countdown of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s. "Toy Soldiers" placed at #67 on the countdown despite the fact that Martika had three other top 40 hits: "More Than You Know" (#18); "I Feel the Earth Move" (#25); and "Love... Thy Will Be Done" (#10).

Track listings and formats[edit]

7" single
  1. "Toy Soldiers" – 4:52
  2. "Exchange of Hearts" – 4:15
3" single
  1. "Toy Soldiers" – 4:52
  2. "Exchange of Hearts" – 4:15
  3. "It's Not What You're Doing" – 4:11
12" single
  1. "Toy Soldiers" – 4:52
  2. "It's Not What You're Doing" – 4:11
  3. "Exchange of Hearts" – 4:15

Critical reception[edit]

Bryan Buss of Allmusic reviewed the Martika album, where he stated "The big hit single, 'Toy Soldiers', works with its childlike vocals and lyrics, creating a haunting, effective dichotomy with its subject of drug addiction." Buss had also had highlighted the song as an album standout by labeling it an AMG Pick Track.[2] Rob Theakston of Allmusic labeled the song as an AMG Pick Track on the 2005 compilation Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart (ARIA)[4] 5
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[5] 32
Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart[6] 9
Canadian Singles Chart[6] 4
Canadian Top 30 Retail Sales Chart[6] 3
Dutch Singles Chart (Mega Single Top 100)[7] 22
German Singles Chart[8] 5
Irish Singles Chart[9] 3
New Zealand Singles Chart (RIANZ) 1
Norwegian Singles Chart (VG-lista)[10] 2
Spain (AFYVE)[11] 10
Swedish Singles Chart (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 4
Swiss Singles Chart (Media Control AG)[13] 3
UK Singles Chart (The Official Charts Company)[14] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 1

Cover versions and sampling[edit]

  • Martika herself recorded and produced a Spanish version of "Toy Soldiers" renaming it "Como Un Juguete", though it was not as successful as the original English version.
  • 2000: German R&B band Fusion released a cover of "Toy Soldiers" as the lead single of their unreleased second studio album.
  • 2004: RPM
  • 2004: Serk featuring Sha-Karl
  • 2007: British band My Vitriol released "Toy Soldiers" on their EP A Pyrrhic Victory.
  • 2009: Commercial Club Crew
  • In 2004, Eminem's Encore album features samples from "Toy Soldiers" in a song titled "Like Toy Soldiers". The song features a sampling of the chorus of the original Martika version. The subject of the Eminem song is markedly different from the Martika song, concerning violence and murder linked to rap music rather than drug addiction.
  • British hip hop group N-Dubz's "Shoulda Put Something On" samples the song.

Appearances in other media[edit]

In The Simpsons 18th season episode "G.I. (Annoyed Grunt)" the music playing during the assault course is "Toy Soldiers".

The song was also featured in the second season episode of Cold Case, "The Sleepover". The chorus of the song is played during the episode and at the end of the episode.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martika 1989 Interview
  2. ^ Buss, Bryan. "Martika - Martika : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  3. ^ Theakston, Rob (2005-01-11). "Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika - Martika : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Australian charts portal". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Ultratop". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "Bienvenue au site Web Bibliothèque et Archives Canada / Welcome to the Library and Archives Canada website". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch charts portal". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". musicline.de. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  9. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd. - http://www.fireballmedia.ie (1962-10-01). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  10. ^ Steffen Hung (2006-06-15). "Norwegian charts portal". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  11. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002edition=1st. Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  14. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Chartstats.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  15. ^ "Music Search, Recommendations, Videos and Reviews". AllMusic. 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" by Simply Red
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
July 22, 1989 – July 29, 1989
Succeeded by
"Batdance" by Prince