My song today is ‘Hey Baby’. This song was written by Margaret Cobb and Bruce Channel, and recorded by Channel in 1961. It was first released on ‘Le Cam Records’, a local Fort Worth, Texas label. After it hit, it was released on ‘Smash Records’ for national distribution. The song reached Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ for three weeks in 1962.
The song was used in the 1987 hit film ‘Dirty Dancing’ in the scene in which Johnny and Baby dance on top of a log.
Austrian artist DJ Otzi recorded a cover version titled ‘Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh). It was released in July 2000 as the lead single from his debut solo album, ‘Love, Peace & Vollgas’. In 2002, it was re-released when it became the unofficial theme song for the ‘2002 FIFA World Cup’. It reached Number 1 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.
I recall this song from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ which I saw in the late 1980s, but more so when it became a massive hit after it was adopted as the theme song for the ‘FIFA World Cup’ in 2002. This was a very hectic period in my life. I had been heavily involved in a charitable project with the Education Minister of the Jamaican Government, the Mayor of Falmouth, four or five high profiled people in the field of Jamaican education, 32 schools in West Yorkshire, and 32 schools in Falmouth, Jamaica. I had also written four books to raise money for school resources in Falmouth, Jamaica and had established a trans-Atlantic pen-pal project which I was managing between the 64 schools to raise a better understanding of black and white culture in both Jamaica and also in England, and reduce racism between the black and white pupils of West Yorkshire and Falmouth in Jamaica (the 19th Century slave transportation port of the world).
My work in this area even attracted the praise of the late Nelson Mandela (the South African President) who phoned me personally to say how much he had enjoyed reading two books of mine on African stories). We raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Jamaican schools from the sale profits of my books there, and my books were even placed on the curriculum of the 32 Falmouth schools in Jamaica.
This was probably the busiest period in all my years of charitable work and the publication of approximately fifty books at the time (now 65 books). I would also be regularly asked to appear for radio, local tv, or weekly press interviews as well as receiving regular invitations to give speeches to different community organisations, and to open school libraries and annual galas. All of this was apart from being a heavy smoker, having started in my early teens, almost 50 years earlier. Despite having been a Relaxation Trainer for thirty years at the time, and caring for the stress levels of other people, I had ignored the build-up of my own stress levels with my extensive charitable involvement over a decade while running throughout on pure adrenaline.
Within one week in 2002, I had two heart attacks. The first heart attack was serious and kept me in the hospital for six days. I was discharged, but the very next day, I experienced a massive heart attack which left me critically unconscious for four days, during which the doctors asked my family to prepare for my imminent death.
‘Hey baby’, that was a very scary period in my life and the life of my family. I can only thank God, that He was also on my side, again.
Love and peace Bill xxx