Friday, August 1, 1997

Chumbawamba “Tubthumping” released



Writer(s): Chumbawamba (see lyrics here)

Released: August 11, 1997

First Charted: August 23, 1997

Peak: 6 US, 18 GR, 16 RR, 15 A40, 13 AA, 17 MR, 2 UK, 19 CN, 13 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.88 UK, 1.02 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 72.2 video, 191.63 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

One-hit wonders are often viewed as acts that spring up out of nowhere and then disappear just as quickly. The real story is typically more detailed. In the case of Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping” was their only Billboard Hot 100 hit in the United States, but they have a long history. The English rock band released seventeen albums from 1986 to 2010. They first dented the UK singles charts in 1993 and had four minor hits before “Tubthumping” reached #2 in 1997. The follow-up song, “Amnesia,” went to #10 and the group’s next single, 1998’s “Top of the World” got to #21.

The term “tubthumper” means “politician” in England. The equivalent in the United States would be “stumping,” i.e. campaigning. SF The group took their name from a story by one of its members in which the men were Chumbas and the women were Wumbs. SF The group is “a collective dedicated to the destruction of the government of the United Kingdom.” SF

Guitarist Boff Whalley said the dance-rock song was written about “the resiliency of ordinary people,” inspired by a Leeds pub called the Fforde Grene. WK Dunstan Bruce, a singer and founding member with the band, said before writing the song that the group “were in a mess; we had become directionless and disparate.” WK He said that while “Tubthumping” was “not our most political or best song, but it brought us back together. The song is about us – as a class and as a band.” WK

The Brit Award nominee for Best British Single is “a highly catchy shoutalong that temporarily mesmorized everyone.” TB Billboard’s Larry Flick said, “some records just demand attention: ‘Tubthumping’ is one of the rare few…You won’t soon forget this jam after first listen. And you’ll likely be hearing it on pop and modern rock stations for months to come.” WK Daily Record called it an “irritating catchy drinking anthem” WK and Variety’s Troy J. Augusto said it was “the quirk hit of the season.” WK


First posted 3/16/2023; last updated 3/26/2023.

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