Toy Soldiers (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about Martika song. For song by American rapper Eminem, see Like Toy Soldiers.
"Toy Soldiers"
Single by Martika
from the album Martika
B-side "Exchange of Hearts"
Released January 1989 (UK)
May 1989 (US)
Genre Pop rock, R&B
Length 4:47 (album version)
4:19 (radio edit)
Label CBS
Producer(s) Michael Jay
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Martika singles chronology
"More Than You Know"
"Toy Soldiers"
"I Feel the Earth Move"
Music sample

"Toy Soldiers" is a song by American singer-songwriter Martika appearing on her eponymous debut album in 1988, and released as the second single from it in May 1989. It was a number one Billboard hit song for two weeks in the U.S. in the summer of 1989. An edited version of the song is included in the imported version of the album Toy Soldiers: The Best of Martika.

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] According to an episode of VH-1's Pop-Up Video, in which "Toy Soldiers" was featured, the friend-in-question eventually conquered the addiction.


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, Fergie, 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. 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 retrospectively reviewed the Martika album, stating "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 also 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 (1989-1990) Peak
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
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[7] 4
Dutch Singles Chart (Mega Single Top 100)[8] 22
German Singles Chart[9] 5
Irish Singles Chart[10] 3
New Zealand Singles Chart (RIANZ) 1
Norwegian Singles Chart (VG-lista)[11] 2
Spain (AFYVE)[12] 10
Swedish Singles Chart (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 4
Swiss Singles Chart (Media Control AG)[14] 3
UK Singles Chart (The Official Charts Company)[15] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[16] 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: Japanese singer and songwriter Kirari Toyomoto reached number 18 on the Oricon charts with her cover of "Toy Soldiers"
  • 2000: German R&B band Fusion released a cover of "Toy Soldiers" as the lead single of their unreleased second studio album.
  • 2000: Finnish singer Milla Alftan
  • 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". A sample of Martika singing the chorus is used as the chorus of the Eminem 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. The sample is also played faster than the original version.
  • 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".
  • In The Goldbergs 3rd season episode "A Kick-Ass Risky Business Party" the song is playing during the parts of Adam attempting to call Dana in Seattle and a home video of the real Adam F. Goldberg singing the chorus at the end of the episode.
  • The song was featured during the Scream Queens season finale "The Final Girl(s)".
  • The song Toy Soldiers was featured in an episode of Cold Case entitled "The Sleepover" (2004)

See also[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". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Ultratop". Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "Bienvenue au site Web Bibliothèque et Archives Canada / Welcome to the Library and Archives Canada website". 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  7. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  8. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch charts portal". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  9. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  10. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd. - (1962-10-01). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung (2006-06-15). "Norwegian charts portal". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  12. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002edition=1st. Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "Swedish Charts Portal". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  15. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  16. ^ "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 16, 1989 – July 29, 1989
Succeeded by
"Batdance" by Prince