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Bryce Wilson
Bryce Wilson

Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop: The Hit Song by Scatman John That Changed Music Forever

Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop: The Scatman Song That Became a Global Hit

If you grew up in the 90s, you probably remember hearing a catchy song that featured a man singing fast and rhythmic syllables over a dance beat. The song was called Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) and it was performed by Scatman John, a musician who overcame his stuttering problem by turning it into an art form. In this article, we will explore the origin, meaning, popularity, and impact of this song, as well as the life and legacy of its creator. We will also show you how to download this song legally and ethically, in case you want to relive the nostalgia or discover it for the first time.

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What is Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)?

Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) is a song by Scatman John, released in 1994 as the lead single from his debut album Scatman's World. The song is a fusion of scat singing, rap, and eurodance music, with lyrics that encourage people to embrace their differences and overcome their fears.

The origin and meaning of the song

The song was written by Scatman John and his producer Antonio Catania, who came up with the idea of combining scatting and rapping after hearing John's demo tape. Scatting is a vocal technique that involves singing nonsensical syllables in a rhythmic and melodic way, often used in jazz music. Rapping is a vocal technique that involves speaking or chanting rhyming words in a rhythmic and expressive way, often used in hip hop music.

The song's title and chorus are based on one of John's scat phrases, which he used to practice his vocal skills. The phrase "ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-bop" has no specific meaning, but it can be interpreted as a sound of joy or excitement. The song's verses are rapped by John, who tells his personal story of overcoming his stuttering problem by becoming a scat singer. He also encourages listeners to be themselves and not to worry about what others think of them.

The popularity and impact of the song

The song was an instant hit, reaching number one in many countries around the world, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia, and the UK. It also reached number three on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart and number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song sold over six million copies worldwide and received several awards and nominations, including a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording in 1996.

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The song also had a significant impact on popular culture, inspiring many parodies, remixes, covers, memes, and references in various media. The song was featured in several movies, TV shows, video games, commercials, and events, such as South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Shrek, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Coca-Cola, and the 1996 Summer Olympics. The song also influenced many artists and genres, such as Gorillaz, Eminem, Skrillex, and Ed Sheeran, as well as scat, rap, and electronic music in general .

Who is Scatman John?

Scatman John was the stage name of John Paul Larkin, an American musician, singer, and songwriter who was born on March 13, 1942, in El Monte, California. He is best known for his scat singing and his hit song Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop).

His early life and career

John grew up in a musical family, with his father being a professional singer and his mother playing the piano. He started playing the piano at the age of five and developed a passion for jazz music. He also suffered from a severe stuttering problem, which made him shy and insecure. He was bullied and teased by his peers and teachers, and he often felt isolated and depressed. He found solace in music, which became his way of expressing himself and coping with his condition.

John pursued a career as a jazz pianist, playing in various clubs and venues in Los Angeles. He also worked as a music teacher and a session musician for other artists. He recorded several albums under his own name, such as John Larkin (1986) and Take Your Time (1987), but they did not achieve much success or recognition. He also experimented with different styles and genres, such as pop, rock, blues, and country.

His struggle with stuttering and scatting

John was always self-conscious about his stuttering problem, which affected his speech and singing. He tried various therapies and treatments, but none of them worked for him. He felt frustrated and hopeless, and he even considered suicide at one point. He was afraid of speaking in public and performing in front of audiences. He often avoided social situations and hid behind his piano.

However, John discovered that he could scat sing without stuttering. Scat singing is a vocal technique that involves singing nonsensical syllables in a rhythmic and melodic way, often used in jazz music. John learned to scat sing by listening to his idols, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Mel Tormé. He realized that scatting was a way of overcoming his fear and expressing his emotions. He also realized that scatting was a unique skill that set him apart from other singers.

His success and legacy

In 1990, John moved to Berlin, Germany, where he met his future wife Judy McHugh, an American singer and songwriter. He also met Antonio Catania, an Italian producer who offered him a record deal. Catania suggested that John should combine scatting and rapping over a dance beat, creating a new style of music that would appeal to the European market. John agreed to try it out, even though he was skeptical at first.

The result was Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop), which became a global hit in 1994. The song catapulted John to fame and success, earning him millions of fans and admirers around the world. John followed up with more songs and albums that featured his signature scat-rap style, such as Scatman's World (1995), Everybody Jam! (1996), Take Your Time (1999), and Listen to the Scatman (2001). He also collaborated with other artists, such as Lou Bega, Mark 'Oh, Whigfield, Max Raabe, and Haddaway.

John became an inspiration and a role model for many people who suffered from stuttering or other disabilities. He used his music and his fame to spread a positive message of acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and empowerment. He also supported various charities and organizations that helped people with speech disorders, such as the Stuttering Foundation of America, the British Stammering Association, the International Stuttering Association, and the European League of Stuttering Associations. He also received several awards and honors for his humanitarian work, such as the Annie Glenn Award, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Hall of Fame, and the International Stuttering Association Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, John's life was cut short by lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1999. He died on December 3, 1999, at the age of 57, in Los Angeles, California. He was buried in his hometown of El Monte, California. His wife Judy continued to manage his estate and his legacy, releasing posthumous albums and compilations, such as The Best of Scatman John (2002), Scatman and Hatman (2003), and The Scatman Remixes (2015).


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