Pay Mickey! Why Toni Basil is suing almost everyone

Name: Mickey.

Age: 35.

Appearance: So fine.

Can you be more precise? So fine that he blows Toni Basil’s mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey.

Ah. Would this be the eponymous Mickey from the novelty record that I now can’t get out of my head? You bet it would.

Was Mickey really 35? I always think of it as a teenage pop song if ever there was one, with Basil’s cheerleader chant and the bouncy video and all that. The song itself is 35. It was released in 1982, but it would still sound a little odd if Mickey were a teenager. Basil was 39 at the time.

That’s unexpected. Yes, although it didn’t stand in her way. The song was certified gold in the UK and platinum in the US, thanks partly to its relentless rotation on the then newly launched MTV channel.

What were Basil’s other hits? Uh …

I see. Still, I bet Mickey has been a nice little earner for her. It seems as if I still hear it all the time. This is a rather controversial topic.

How come? Surely the whole point of a one-hit wonder is to infect the minds of millions and make pots of money? It is, but Basil says she hasn’t received the money she is due. In fact, she is taking legal action.

Against who? Everybody. The singer, dancer, choreographer and actor, whose real name is Antonia Basilotta, claims that Mickey “has been exploited and unlawfully licensed throughout the world over the last three decades”.

Some might claim that the song has done something similar to their brains. Perhaps. Basil’s lawyers mention Disney, Viacom, Central Productions and the fashion label Forever 21, which between them have used her song in ad campaigns, on RuPaul’s Drag Race, even in South Park.

Does this all come down to a complex and disputed chain of rights ownership that it would be boring to explain?It sure does.

Still, Basil surely deserves some licensing money in return for writing such an infectious tune? Oh, she didn’t write it. Mickey is already a cover version of “Kitty”, a 1979 song by a band called Racey from Weston-super-Mare.

Crumbs. I hope Racey are still happy with their contract. I hope so, too.

Do say: “Pay Mickey! Pay Mickey!”

Don’t say: “Oh Disney, you’re so fined.”

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