Thursday, March 14, 2019

'Day Off' Pay Off: Yello And The Continuing Popularity Of 'Oh Yeah'!

Count Yello among the handful of artists who owe their career to John Hughes, the late Hollywood movie director and consummate music geek whose love of the band's music led him to seek their permission to use "Oh Yeah" in a pivotal scene in his new film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".

Landing in theaters in June 1986, the movie was an immediate box office hit that went on to gross $70 million. Not bad for a film with a budget of less than $6 million.

Yello, a Swiss duo featuring multi-instrumentalist Boris Blank and self-professed "millionaire" vocalist Dieter Meier, had toiled in relative anonymity since their first album established their oddball techno pop template in 1980. After two albums on the Residents' label, Ralph Records, the pair graduated to Stiff Records just as the ship was going down.

Luckily, they were signed to Elektra in the States, who did a masterful job of pushing "Oh Yeah", which first appeared in January 1985 as part of the band's fourth studio album, Stella. When the song got picked up for "Ferris Bueller" a year and a half later, the song hit #51 in the U.S. and was then used prominently in "The Secret Of My Success" less than a year later.

The full-court press continued when Yello included "Oh Yeah" on their next album, One Second, just in case anybody missed it the first and second times around. At least half of the rest of the album wound up doubling as an unofficial soundtrack to the third and fourth seasons of "Miami Vice", where five different Yello songs were prominently placed.

Of all those songs, it is "Oh Yeah" that has wound up becoming one of the most licensed songs for film, TV and commercials.

In 2012, the song was used in a Honda commercial that spoofed Ferris Bueller with help from Matthew Broderick, who played himself calling in sick from a day of shooting.

In 2017, the song appeared in an ad by Domino's Pizza by featured a shot-for-shot recreation of a scene from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" starring Joe Keery of Stranger Things" fame.

What the duo may have sacrificed in "street cred" they've more than made up for in cold, hard cash and, in the end, the critics wound up loving them anyway.

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