Kids in America
|"Kids in America"|
Artwork for European release
|Single by Kim Wilde|
|from the album Kim Wilde|
|B-side||"Tuning In, Tuning On"|
|Released||26 January 1981|
|Kim Wilde singles chronology|
|"Kids in America 1994"|
|Single by Kim Wilde|
|Released||2 May 1994|
|Format||12", CD single|
|Length||3:53 (Cappella Mix)|
|Songwriter(s)||Ricky Wilde, Marty Wilde|
|Kim Wilde singles chronology|
"Kids in America" is a song recorded by British singer Kim Wilde. It was released in the United Kingdom as her debut single in January 1981, and in the United States in spring 1982, later appearing on her self-titled debut album. The song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart, number one in Finland and South Africa, and charted in the top 10 of many European charts as well as Australia and New Zealand. In North America, the song reached top 40 in Canada and the United States. It has sold 679,000 copies in France, was certified gold in the United Kingdom, and has sold over three million copies worldwide. The song has been covered by many artists from different genres.
Background, composition and production
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RAK Records boss Mickie Most heard Wilde singing on a backing track to another song recorded by her brother Ricky Wilde, an aspiring young songwriter and producer who had had some fame as a child singer in the style of Donny Osmond in the early 1970s.
Most liked Kim's voice and looks and expressed an interest to work with her. Eager to grab the opportunity, Ricky went home and wrote "Kids in America" that same day with his father Marty. Marty Wilde, also a former singer, had been a teen idol and actor in the UK in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
They wrote the song using a WASP synthesizer owned by Ricky, and the song's eighth note synth bassline, which form its intro, was inspired by the songs of Gary Numan who was popular at the time. The vocal melody in the song's opening lines was also heavily influenced by Numan, according to Ricky.
They went into the studio with everything except the lyrics to the chorus, which Marty Wilde, who was responsible for writing the lyrics to the song, came up with in the last minute. The line "Whoah-oh!" that's sung after the song's title was originally meant to be a guitar lick or a brass stab, but sounded much better sung by the male backing vocals, according to Marty.
After hearing the track for the first time, Most declared it was a smash hit, but it needed remixing, which he did together with Marty at RAK Studios. The song was shelved for a year before being released as Kim Wilde's first single in January 1981.
"Kids in America 1994" was released in May 1994 in order to help promote Wilde's compilation album The Remix Collection. Although it was intended to be released in the UK, for unknown reasons these plans were cancelled at the last minute. However, the track was released in other countries in several remixed forms using Wilde's original vocals from 1981. The "radio version" of the track was remixed by Cappella, with James Stevenson on guitar.
Among some of her other classic hits, Wilde recorded a new version of the song for her 2006 comeback album Never Say Never, featuring English singer Charlotte Hatherley. This version, like the rest of the album, was produced by German producer Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, with whom she had previously worked in 2002 for German singer Nena's 20th anniversary album Nena feat. Nena on the track "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime", a new version of her 1984 hit single. Wilde contributed English verses to the song, which was slightly remixed and released as a single in 2003.
"Kids in America" was the song that signalled the start of Wilde's career. It sold so well in its first week, foul play was suspected and it wasn't included in that week's chart. In its first eight weeks of release, the single sold more than half a million copies in the UK alone. The song peaked at number two in the UK in 1981. The following year it reached the top 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and ranked as the 91st most successful song of 1982 on the Hot 100 year-end chart. Elsewhere, the record peaked atop the charts of Finland and South Africa. In Europe and Australia, the song was also a major top 10 hit. After "Kids in America", Wilde's father and brother continued to write songs for her (with the latter also given production credits), although in later years she would chiefly co-write with her brother.
7" UK single
- Kids in America (3:26)
- Tuning In Tuning On (4:30)
7" US/Canada single
- Kids In America (3:26)
- You'll Never Be So Wrong (4:11)
- Briony Edwards. "The story behind the song: Kids In America by Kim Wilde". TeamRock. teamrock.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018. “Those were the records he was listening to non-stop, and those were the kind of records he wanted to make. He wanted to combine that synth element with a pop and rock sensibility to make the new sound. He had it very clearly in his head, and Kids In America really embodies that sound.”
- Jonathan Williams. "Terminus City/No Holds Barred". Prick Magazine. Prickmag.net. Archived from the original on 18 November 2004. Retrieved 23 July 2013. "Terminus even does a punked out cover of the Kim Wilde new wave hit "Kids In America" bringing a whole new meaning to the song."
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