I was very very very pleasantly surprised with the positive responses to a previous posting, back in June 2017, on a hit single for the ex-manager of the Sex Pistols.
The interesting thing to note is that, in the UK at least, Buffalo Gals wasn’t the biggest hit for Malcolm McLaren – that accolade was taken by Double Dutch, released in July 1983 (some sources claim that it was the follow-up 45 to Buffalo Gals, but there was a minor hit with Soweto (#32) in February 1983.
Double Dutch was one of those tracks which seemed to hang around for ages – it actually spent six successive weeks in the Top 10, ensuring it was on heavy rotation on daytime radio and that the promo video (or at least snippets of it) got aired every other week on Top of the Pops. It actually turns out that there was an actual performance in the TOTP studio on one occasion – something I can’t recall seeing at the time
It certainly did the trick as it climbed to #3 the following week – its peak position in the charts (it was held off the #1 spot by Paul Young and the #2 spot by Freez)
Wiki informs that Double Dutch is all about the skipping game of the same game, one which really took off as a competitive sport in the 70s in the New York area and became associated strongly with hip hop culture as it was gaining momentum beyond the black ghettoes. The lyrics to the Malcolm McLaren single make mention of a number of NYC Double Dutch teams by name, most notably the Ebonettes which is used as a something of a chant within the chorus and who were also credited as being the co-vocalists.
It turns out the Malc wasn’t just appropriating NYC street culture to bag himself millions of record sales. The Boyoyo Boys, from South Africa, took legal action about the similarity with the song 3 Mabone. The info within the 45 claimed the music was ‘traditional’ but had been arranged by McLaren and uber-producer Trevor Horn.
There was seemingly a lengthy legal battle, eventually settled out of court, with an undisclosed payment made to the South African copyright holders but Malc and Trev being able to retain their songwriting credits.
Judge for yourself:-
mp3 : Malcolm McLaren & The Ebonettes – Double Dutch
mp3 : Lulu Masilela & The Boyoyo Boys – 3 Mabone