Twenty-five years ago, a Swedish tape released a dance-mix variation of one American folk song.

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Improbably, for plenty of reasons, “Cotton Eye Joe” remains famous today. The song, the product the the Swedish tape Rednex, to be released ~ above Aug. 12, 1994 prior to being exit in the United claims in beforehand 1995.

“Cotton Eye Joe” reached No. 1 in 13 countries, peaking at No. 25 in the States. Its famous video, post by Rednex to YouTube in 2013, has actually been perceived 85 million times.

Yet, as renowned as it is for some, it’s same annoying for others. In 2017, paste magazine ranked the the 17th finest dancefloor standard of all time – simply ahead the ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and also just behind “U can not Touch This,” “Happy” and “Uptown Funk” – with Zach Blumenfeld catching the polarizing feeling, writing, “Because ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ is a classic, no matter just how annoying we uncover it, and its stupid little melody and also even stupider run will constantly be lodged in the earlier of our minds because that emergency usage whenever the world has turned come shit.”

Whether it’s at a minor league ballpark or a wedding reception, “Cotton Eye Joe” has stood the test of time and ranks among the biggest international sweden hit songs, even though most people have no idea the tape behind it is Swedish.

So how did it every happen?

We captured up v Pat Reiniz, that produced and co-wrote “Cotton Eye Joe” and also was component of the initial Rednex, to learn much more about the worldwide hit.

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Where did the idea because that “Cotton Eye Joe” originate?

Öban <Örjan Öban Öberg> obtained a CD v The Chieftains at work, consisting of “Cotton” with Ricky Skaggs vocals. He brought it come the studio, and also Janne and him to be fooling approximately by adding dance beats to the chorus. This an initial version to be made in one afternoon and was around in our studio team because that 18 months prior to it acquired properly produced. In those days, producer were constantly looking because that sounds/samples without a background, for this reason it can be offered in a production. The Chieftains’ chorus and also violin were without background therefore they were basic to sample and also play roughly with. The intentions, however, native them was simply to have actually fun and play around, there to be no eureka moment, as many productions processes are.

Did it precede the idea to form Rednex, or did the idea for the tape come first?

First come the song. It existed because that a year before any concrete band plans began to form. I had a strong opinion around the band, i beg your pardon was that it would be impossible to discover a person who can sing and also Ricky Skaggs, but also give a stage performance the preferably insane power that it required. I wanted to produce a task where the vocalist and the performer were two different people. In ~ the time, ns was signed as a producer come Stockholm Records and had to take all our stuff to them first. I had a large argument through the Head the A&R around this specific issue on how to kind the band. We had actually opposite opinions, which i took as a green light to call other labels external of Sweden (it was signed through Zomba UK/NL), who would agree v me on the band setup, prioritize a very solid and spectacular picture as protest to gift afraid the Milli Vanilli connotations. (To curb the latter, we composed the vocalist’s actual names top top the single, and also did no make this a secret.)

Early reception to the track in Europe was huge. To be you surprised by that?

I was persuaded that we had a good chance the scoring a hit. Ns was thinking that it would certainly be height 20 in Sweden and probably be top 20 in a pair of other European countries like Finland, Netherlands, Norway. The tune literally exploded on the charts through unprecedented force. It went to No. 1 in 2 weeks in both Sweden and Netherlands, and also reached No. 1 in Germany in four weeks, i m sorry was nearly unheard of in ~ the time. We were seriously shocked, no that it to be a hit, yet by the sheer force of it, virtually on the earlier of no marketing in ~ all. A pair of radio plays and it exploded.

What were your expectations as the song hit America? could you ever before have imagine the track would take off prefer it did?

It to be absolutely insane and very surprising to me, though not to the label. I additionally had no expectations on any kind of success in the U.S., for this reason this surprised me together well. Rednex is both a tribute and also a mocking that American redneck culture, i was insecure around the reception in the U.S. Since I didn’t know if our job would be viewed as just mocking and thus turn people off. Would Americans acquire and adopt the feeling of it? They greatly did 😊

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And 25 years later… might you have imagined the track would still it is in as popular as it is?

Not at all. ~ above an yearly average today, “Cotton” is played 2 times per second on Spotify or You pipe 24/7. It is among the 60 many played 90’s song on those platforms, together with weapons N’ Roses, Mariah Carey and Nirvana. It has turned timeless, and also we check out no trend in this slow down, fairly the opposite. I do understand how this happened, but I would certainly never have imagined it.

People still seem to be surprised the you’re native Sweden. Execute you acquire that a lot?

Yes, we do. The song itself is strongly anchored in American folk music, our photo is American, so many world assume that it is American. The initial biography speak the story of how I go from Sweden to uncover my distant relatives in Idaho. I uncovered them in the abandoned town of Brunkeflo that had actually had no call with civilization for 150 years, and also everyone to be inbred, other than the music gene, which had actually been perfected. I took the 5 most talented musicians through me ago to Sweden to form the tape Rednex.

This to be the official story together the solitary was sent to media. No other info was given. The presenter of the debut radio beat in Sweden P3 announced Rednex together the “Swedish-American band.” together the song exploded top top the charts, we did not have actually to strategy media ourselves, but went into hiding to rise the drama and myth around the band, so the media had to report the the tape members were basically American. This walk on for five or six months prior to they cracked the instance (think Kiss).

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When ns was a kid, my large dream to be to walk the U.S. And also become a pop star. So, I operated my ass off, saved a many money and went there for a year together a 16-year-old. It was obviously premature, and also I had actually no success and also had come return ago again, but my fascination and also love for the land of the cost-free goes as far ago as I have the right to remember.

What is it favor to have a song that frequently shows up on a best-song list and a worst-song list?

Any list provides me flattered and proud, also if the is a worst-song list. I can totally understand the annoyance element of “Cotton Eye Joe,” the is component of that is party DNA and rowdy unpretentious production. The is similar to those friend that are awesome to have at a party because they room energetic, loud and also funny and make things happen, but not as fun to have about when you space hungover at the breakfast table the day after.