The 5 Worst Trends Started By the Class of '99

Categories: Mix Bag

BSO-4 1217.jpg
Photo by Jason Wolter
Brian Setzer strikes up the band. Er, orchestra.
Chris Gray's write-up of the Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Christmas Rocks" show at the Arena Theatre a couple of weeks ago got me thinking. These days, the swing maestro seems to be comfortably settled into his own little niche in the music industry, playing swingin' Christmas carols to grown folks. But back in 1999, he was ridin' high on the pop charts. The Swing Revival was of the year's biggest trends, and Setzer was right on the cutting edge of a hot new look and sound.

Now, to put it kindly, he ain't. The Swing Revival was one among many odd little musical fads that took hold of the mainstream in the late '90s. In fact, identifying and exploiting new fads was the dominant business model of the record industry at the time, and it was successful as hell. Record companies had never sold so many copies of hit albums before, and they certainly haven't since.

The king of swing seems to be doing all right for himself, at least. But catching up with Setzer got me curious about what the other survivors of 1999's Year of the Fad are up to these days. Who was buying all of those Jessica Simpson and Coal Chamber CDs, and why can't those artists still move tens of millions of units?

Hey, the holidays are all about reminiscing. Let's revisit the Top 5 musical trends of 1999 and poke around for some answers, shall we?

BSO-1 1217.jpg
Photo by Jason Wolter
5. The Swing Revival
Led by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, the Cherry-Poppin' Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a Swing Revival was in full, uh, bloom in 1999. Couples took swing-dancing classes together, and guys at my high school wore zoot suits to prom. It was certainly novel: Ska acts like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones had softened up rock audiences for a full-blown brass attack, and for a while there, the 1930s became retro-chic.

Honestly, I still find it a little inexplicable. Swing sounded loud and fun and happy, I suppose, even if it was hardly to my taste then or now.

Zenith of Popularity: In 1999, Setzer's cover of the Louis Prima tune "Jump, Jive an' Wail" won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. That same year, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy played the Super Bowl XXXIII half-time show.

Why It Was Lame: The whole trend was started by a motherfucking Gap commercial. The mall retailer used Prima's version in a "Khakis Swing" commercial in 1998, and I guess they must have sold a shitload of pants, because pretty soon swing was all over TV. At least you could dance to it, but the nostalgia burned out quick in the mainstream.

Where Are They Now? Setzer just brought his Christmas set to the Arena Theatre. BBVD is keeping a lower profile, but they're apparently still active. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies are set to release a new double album in 2013, if you're into that.

Tags:

1999
My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
pawlie73
pawlie73

It may have been a crappy time or mainstream music but I remember it as a great time for alternative tastes. Radiohead, James, the Verve, and other British acts put out great records. Electronicaü and many musical forms (trip-hop, drum n bass, acid jazz) were some of the most innovative music to come to light in ages. Older guys and gals like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, n Joni Mitchell put out some great stuff. Lotsa terrific regional Texas and hip-hop stuff as well. Don't let me forget Rock en espanol, alternative Country, and the birth of Screw (for better or for worse).

arianam
arianam

Haha the year that Gap came out with the kahki commercials I was in choir at North Shore High School and we performed "jump jive" and a whole mix of swing songs....dressed in khakis and white shirts LMAO.

Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith

Wherever Papa Roach is these days, it's probably nicer than wherever Powerman 5000, Spineshank, Taproot and Soulfly are.

Rottweiller2000
Rottweiller2000

@HoustonPress I would argue the movie ‘Swingers’ and not the Gap commercial pushed the swing music phenom

Kelly Switzer
Kelly Switzer

Ring watches are a recycled fad from at least the 70s, maybe even before that. Slap bracelets are back, though! Lets just hope that Jennifer Aniston layered haircut is gone for good.

healthy skeptic
healthy skeptic

Fun, bizarre fact: Lou Bega is German (specifically, Bavarian).  I don't know about y'all, but that mostly blows my mind.

Christina Lynn
Christina Lynn

i was in 6th grade when all this madness happened. I remember it well even though I wasnt allowed to listen to 104 krbe back in the day. Even worse is some of the fads are coming back from back then - like ring watches.

eden21
eden21

@Nathan Smith Isnt Soulfly a Sepultura side project? Sepultura was actual, non-'nu' metal - so i think they're okay. Powerman 5000 was awesome hahaha, the frontman is actually Rob Zombie's brother, so I'm guessing he's doing okay... Goddamn, did i ever hate Papa Roach.

NathanSmith
NathanSmith

@Rottweiller2000 Swingers definitely helped put swing back on the pop radar. It didn't really explode on to the charts until that commercial, though. That ad made Brian Setzer a lot of money, and he didn't even play on it.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

I was...older. And appauled. With two "P"s.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Especially since only about eight people saw Swingers and because they thought it was art pr0n.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...