4 Types of Music That Are Bizarrely Popular Overseas
The music industry is full of people who think they can predict what songs will be popular with any given group. It's usually just the cocaine talking, because the truth is, you can never really be sure what's going to resonate with people. We know that to be true, because we absolutely refuse to believe anybody saw these hits coming ...
Jazz Was Huge in Nazi Germany
Why would anyone be surprised that jazz music caught on in Germany in the late 1930s/early 1940s? Because, much like dancing in the universe Kevin Bacon occupied in the movie Footloose, jazz music was illegal in Nazi Germany, with some enthusiasts even being jailed well into the Cold War years. But, again, just like Kevin Bacon was not going to let John Lithgow keep him from fight dancing in desolate Midwestern barns, so too would the Germans not allow Hitler to keep them from listening to a bunch of opium-smoking beatniks playing the same jazz scale for 45 solid minutes, risking arrest and persecution just to get a little bit of jazz in their lives.
The Bob the Builder Theme Song Was a Smash Hit Single in Australia
The problem with a really great television theme song is that, no matter how well crafted it may be, you're going to get tired of hearing it eventually if the show has even a moderate amount of success. Can you even hear the words "So no one told you life was gonna be this way (clapclapclapclap!)" without putting your fist through a wall? Apparently, though, that line of thinking does not apply in Australia, where the theme song to the children's television show Bob the Builder ...
... inexplicably became a massive hit on the popular music charts. Not only was the title jingle in the top 10 for nine straight weeks, but it even managed to capture the No. 1 spot for a week.
The Teletubbies Are Pop Stars in the Netherlands
Bob the Builder might crank out some shitty theme songs, but at least he uses actual words. That's more than can be said for the Teletubbies.
Pretty obnoxious, right? Would it surprise you to know that Simon Cowell, the notoriously snippy former judge on American Idol, is the man responsible for making that song happen? Probably not, he seems like the kind of dude who would throw his mother from a moving vehicle for the right amount of cash.
What might come as more of a shock is that every single adult who heard this song didn't immediately shoot their radio while cogitating on whether or not the song is egregious enough to warrant even more shootings. In fact, some people fucking loved it. And by "some people" we of course mean "the Netherlands." While the rest of the world was silently wishing that the Teletubbies would have their fantasy universe invaded by deranged killers, the people of the Netherlands were busy making that awful Teletubbies theme a hit for several weeks on the Netherlands pop charts.
Related: Before Lil Nas X Sparked A Widespread Moral Panic, There Was Purple 'Teletubbie,' 'Tinky Winky'
A Country Song Is a Military Anthem in Soviet Russia
Originally, the song "Sixteen Tons" was recorded by Merle Travis about coal mines in Kentucky. The country and Western hit was rerecorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford. It's massively popular and massively famous, so it's not a surprise that a lot of people enjoy the tune.
But Russia takes their appreciation for this one song to frightening new heights. They even went so far as to invite Ford to perform the song in Russia, back when Russia and America both viewed each other with the same admiration that you'd reserve for the man holding a gun on your family while threatening to burn your home to the ground. That's saying a lot.
To this day, there are theaters in Russia dedicated to just this song. At the Sixteen Tons Club in Moscow, the song is performed every night before every performance.
In our Internet fantasy version of that scenario, this is the version they're singing every time ...
Why? Because if you're looking for definitive proof that Russia has an unhealthy relationship with this song, that video is it. Who gets this festive while delivering depressing lyrics like ...
No way should any group of people look that jubilant about landing a job at an oppressive coalmine.