What a Man (song)

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"What a Man"
Linda Lyndell's single "What a Man".jpg
2002 UK vinyl re-release
Single by Linda Lyndell
Released 1968 (United States)
Format 7-inch single
Genre Soul
Label Volt
VOA-4001
Songwriter(s) David Crawford

"What a Man" is a song written by Dave Crawford, and originally recorded for Stax Records' Volt imprint by Linda Lyndell, whose recording reached No. 50 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1968. The song was sampled and reinterpreted as "Whatta Man" in 1993 by Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue; the version became a commercial success. In 2011, the German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut (credited as Lena) covered the song while retaining the original title and lyrics.

Early versions[edit]

Linda Lyndell, a white singer who had been a support act with James Brown and Ike & Tina Turner and then recommended to Stax Records by Otis Redding, recorded "What a Man".[1] The song was essentially improvised by Lyndell, record producer Dave Crawford, and the Stax studio musicians in Memphis, Tennessee. It was released as a single in 1968 with the B-side track "I Don't Know"; both songs were credited to and produced by Dave Crawford.[2] The single entered the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart on August 24, 1968 and then peaked at number 50.[3] The record came to the attention of white supremacists in the Ku Klux Klan, who threatened Lyndell for associating with black musicians; as a result, she largely withdrew from the music business for the next 25 years.[1]

Laura Lee covered the song, released in 1970 as a single by the Cotillion Records with "Separation Line" as the B-side track.[4] Lee's version earned poor sales.[5]

Salt-n-Pepa and En Vogue versions[edit]

"Whatta Man"
Whatta Man.jpg
Single by Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue
from the album Very Necessary and Runaway Love
Released December 2, 1993
Format
Recorded August 1993[6]
Genre
Length 4:42
Label Next Plateau/London
Songwriter(s) Cheryl James, Dave Crawford, Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor
Salt-n-Pepa singles chronology
"Shoop"
(1993) Shoop1993
"Whatta Man"
(1993) Whatta Man1993
"None of Your Business"
(1994) None of Your Business1994
En Vogue singles chronology
"What Is Love"
(1993) What Is Love1993
"Whatta Man"
(1993) Whatta Man1993
"Don't Let Go (Love)"
(1996) Don't Let Go (Love)1996

Production[edit]

In 1993, Salt-N-Pepa recorded the song retitled "Whatta Man" for Runaway Love, an EP by En Vogue, who is credited as the featured group. Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor wrote the rap lyrics and produced the version. Salt-N-Pepa sampled Lyndell's original recording and remade the song as a rap song throughout the recording.[7][8]

En Vogue sang the refrain of the song, "Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man."[9] "Whatta Man" became later featured in Salt-n-Pepa's 1993 album Very Necessary and then the album's second single released that same year. En Vogue sang the entire vocals on all original and remixed versions of this song, with the exception of the male vocals at the beginning of the song which were performed by brothers Troy and John Mitchell of the rap group 3 Feet.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Whatta Man" was a major hit for Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, this version was certified platinum.[10] It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single. "Whatta Man" was named #23 on VH1's countdown of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s.

Lyrics analyses[edit]

Richard Harrington of The Washington Post interprets the song as "a celebration of strong men who stay home and care for kids."[11] Garth Baker-Fletcher, an Associate Professor of Religion from Texas College, interpreted the version's refrain as "praising a steady-thinking, family-values-yet-sexy man."[9] Writer Keith Boykin described the song portion, "Although most men are hos / He flows on the down low / Cuz I never heard about him with another girl," as if "rather than praise his faithfulness, the artists appreciate his discretion, while tacitly acknowledging his cheating." Moreover, Boykin said that "another girl" refers to Salt-N-Pepa's considerations of "heterosexual infidelity" and as if "some women [...] were publicly excusing their men for their down low behavior."[12]

Music videos[edit]

A music video was released on the week ending January 17, 1994[13] to promote the single. Tupac Shakur and Treach from Naughty by Nature make cameo appearances. The single's music video, directed by Matthew Rolston and filmed by cinematographer Derek M. Allen, won three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Dance Video, Best R&B Video, and Best Choreography in 1994.[citation needed] A New York magazine journalist Dinitia Smith wrote about the video: "Salt-N-Pepa have [sic] a warmth and sexual heat that make Madonna seem contrived and mechanical."[13]

Salt-n-Pepa later recorded a variation on their own, with slightly rewritten lyrics, for another music video as the one-time segment of Monday Night Football. In the Monday music video, the two women wearing tight short-sleeved clothes, including T-shirts containing their respective logos of two opposing teams, are seen in a gym complimenting two football players of their respective teams,[14][15] one white and one black, for the men's bodies and weight training efforts.[15] In contrast, the lyrics of the Monday Night Football music video say that "their man 'likes pushin'[,] spends quality ball with the fellas,' and 'takes a big hit, 'cause he's a real man.'" According to academic Nick Trujillo of California State University, Sacramento, the rap song may associate hypermasculinity "with combat sports such as [American] football." He further said that the standard version has the women rather choose men who do not play football but are good parental candidates and are comfortable with their masculinities, while the Monday music video "not only objectifie[s] football players as sex objects but also reinforce[s] stereotypes of black men as sexual performers and white men as loving fathers."[15]

Track listing[edit]

Maxi-single

  1. "Whatta Man" (Video remix)
  2. "Whatta Man" (Luvbug remix)
  3. "Whatta Man" (12" Danny D remix)
  4. "Push It" (remix)
  5. "Let's Talk About AIDS"

Charts[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award
1994 Won MTV Video Music Awards for Best Dance Video, Best R&B Video, and Best Choreography for "Whatta Man".
1995 Nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single ("Whatta Man").
1995 Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("Whatta Man").

Lena version[edit]

"What a Man"
WhataMan.jpg
Single by Lena
from the album Good News Platinum edition
Released 2 September 2011
Format
Recorded 2011
Genre Pop
Length 2:54
Label Universal Music
Songwriter(s) David Crawford
Lena singles chronology
"Taken by a Stranger"
(2011)
"What a Man"
(2011)
"Stardust"
(2012)
"Taken by a Stranger"
(2011)
"What a Man"
(2011)
"Stardust"
(2012)

The 1968 Linda Lyndell/David Crawford version of the song was also covered by German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut as the theme song to the 2011 German film What a Man. It is featured on the Platinum edition her second studio album Good News, it will also feature on the Soundtrack for the movie. It was released on 2 September 2011 as CD single and Digital download in Germany.

Background[edit]

The single was released on 2 September 2011 for digital download on iTunes, the single included a Live version of the song "Good News". The song will be the theme song to the German movie What a Man.

Music video[edit]

A music video to accompany the release of "What a Man" was first released onto YouTube on 30 August 2011 at a total length of three minutes. The video features actor Matthias Schweighöfer.[32]

Track listings[edit]

Digital download[33]
No. Title Length
1. "What a Man" 2:54
2. "Good News" (Live) 3:24

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Germany (Media Control AG)[34] 21

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Germany 2 September 2011[33] Universal Music Digital download

Other cover versions and uses[edit]

The television show Bill Nye the Science Guy features "Whatta Brain", a parody of this song by En Vogue parody band En Lobe, in the episode "Brain". Australian rock band New Waver covered the song in 1994 and released their cover as a Cassingle. Funny or Die released a version of this song with Bruno Mars singing and acting out various scenes, such as arm wrestling scene with many men competitors.

The original "What A Man" was performed in the movie The Sapphires and appears on the soundtrack album. It was used as Dan Wilson's intro music when he came up to bat for the Seattle Mariners. The Salt-N-Pepa version appears in a 2016 television commercial for Walmart.

A sub-unit of South Korean girl group I.O.I from Produce 101 sampled the hook of the Salt-n-Pepa version for their song "Whatta Man," which was released on August 9, 2016.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ankeny, James. Biography of Linda Lyndell. AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "Top 20: R&B – Spotlights Predicted to Reach the Top 20 of the Top-Selling R&B Singles Chart". Billboard. July 13, 1968. p. 70. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 242. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (2010). Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948-1991 (7th ed.). Krause Publications via F+W. p. 70. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ Carpenter, Bil (2005). "Laura Lee". Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia. San Francisco: Backbeat Books via United Entertainment Media. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ Bye-Bye, Maniacs | EW.com
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. p. 215. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  8. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). "Hip Rap Soul". Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. New York City: Algora Publishing. p. 468. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Baker-Fletcher, Garth Kasium (2007) [1996]. "Rap's 'Angry' Children". Xodus: An African-American Male Journey. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8006-2918-2. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ "American certifications – Salt 'n Pepa – Whatta Man". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  11. ^ Harrington, Richard (May 27, 1994). "Salt-N-Pepa Taking Control". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  12. ^ Boykin, Keith (2005). "Everbody's Doing It". Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America. New York City: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-78671-704-0. 
  13. ^ a b Smith, Dinitia (January 17, 1994). "Straight Outta Queens: How Salt-N-Pepa Turned Rap on Its Head". New York. p. 32–33. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  14. ^ Guttmann, Allen (1996). "Erotic Athleticism and Popular Culture". The Erotic in Sports. New York City: Columbia University Press. p. 83. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  15. ^ a b c Trujillo, Nick (1995). "Machines, Missiles, and Men: Images of the Male Body on ABC's Monday Night Football". Sociology of Sport Journal. doi:10.1123/ssj.12.4.403.  Republished in Contemporary Issues in Sociology of Sport (2001), edited by Andrew Yiannakis and Merrill J. Melnick. pp. 223–236. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Inc. Reference to Salt-n-Pepa version is found in pp. 232–233.
  16. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  17. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  18. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 59, No. 9, March 21, 1994". RPM. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 19, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". Singles Top 100.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)" Billboard.
  28. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot 100)" Billboard.
  29. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Pop Songs)" Billboard.
  30. ^ Canada Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1994
  31. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  32. ^ Lena - What A Man YouTube
  33. ^ a b "What a Man - Single von Lena". iTunes. 
  34. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Lena / Single" (in German). Phononet.Gmbh. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 

External links[edit]