Funny that we’ve got an episode called “Mash-Up,” but no mash-ups were performed. Still, this one gave us some classic Will Shuester R&B, and debut solos from Emma and Puck. So, let’s look back at the origins of the songs that made it happen.
“Bust a Move”
Written by Marvin Young, Matt Dike and Michael Ross
Performed Most Notably by Young MC
Performed on GLEE by Matthew Morrison
Marvin Young, better known as Young MC, made this his most memorable song. “Bust a Move” came out in 1989 and won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 1990 and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured vocals by Crystal Blake and bass guitar by Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Josh Note: This song was a competition for us in Middle School (i.e. Junior High, for those outside California) to see who could memorize all the lyrics and recite them in time. It came after We Didn’t Start the Fire and before Baby Got Back for that distinction. I suppose the next generation played it with One Week.
Written by Mark Andrews, Tim Kelley, Bob Robinson, Desmond Child and Robi Rosa
Performed Most Notably by Sisqo
Performed on GLEE by Matthew Morrison
Formerly of Dru Hill, Sisqo released this song in 2000 and it was an immediate smash. He said it was, surprisingly, about his affection for a particular women’s undergarment. Desmond Child and Robi Rosa get songwriting credit for the inclusion of lyrics from Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca. The strings in the song are a sample from Wes Montgomery’s version of “Eleanor Rigby.”
Josh Note: When this song was at its peak, Sisqo went on all the talk shows explaining what a thong was, why he liked it and what made them so special. He said the perfect thong made “the outline of a heart.” A friend of mine, at the time, said “That’s unfortunate. They make my ass look like a spleen.”
“What a Girl Wants”
Written by Shelly Peiken and Guy Roche
Performed Most Notably by Christina Aguilera
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle
The second single from Christina Aguilera, “What a Girl Wants” came out in 1999 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a retooled version of the song “Ce que je suis,” performed by Ophelie Winter. Aguilera’s translation earned her five MTV Music Video Awards nominations, and a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It’s maintained as one of Aguilera’s signature songs.
Josh Note: According to this song, “what a girl wants” is time to breathe while she “(gets) it together.” Something tells me there’s a bit more to it, but I, honestly, have no idea.
Written by Neil Diamond
Performed Most Notably by Neil Diamond
Performed on GLEE by Mark Salling
An anthem of bars, sporting events and Frat parties for decades, “Sweet Caroline” was released in 1969. It’s been used in countless movies and TV shows, covered endlessly and downloaded more than 1.3 million times. It was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, who was eleven years old at the time. Diamond would later sing it to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.
Josh Note: The Red Sox adopted the song in 1997 and have played it at every Fenway Park homegame in the middle of the eighth inning since 2002. It was even performed by Diamond, himself, at the 2010 season opener. Other teams play the song, too, but they don’t really matter.
“I Could Have Danced All Night”
Written by Lerner and Loewe
Performed Most Notably by Julie Andrews
Performed on GLEE by Jayma Mays
From the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady, “I Could Have Danced All Night” was published in 1956. It’s sung by the play’s heroine, Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, in order that she may pass for a proper lady. The role was originated, on Broadway, by Julie Andrews and, in the film, by Audrey Hepburn.
Josh Note: The irony of Julie Andrews, with one of the most stunningly beautiful accents in history, playing Eliza Doolittle is pretty hilarious. In the film, Audrew Hepburn, did her own talking, but her singing vocals were dubbed by Marni Nixon. Marni Nixon also provided the singing voices for actresses in The King and I, West Side Story and An Affair to Remember.