NA NA HEY HEY, BREAKS BREAKS

For real…I thought I didn’t like this song much, (mostly) because A) it’s overplayed way too much at sporting events and B) much as I like “the hook = the song” this pushes things a bit too far. But that said, “Na Na Hey Hey” has a delicious backstory that I’m still not 100% clear on except to say that the group “Steam” never really existed outside of this song and supposedly, it was built from a drum track from a previous single by one of the core songwriters.1

The thing is though…I totally forgot that the song has a rather long drum break in the middle and I was reminded of this when, by coincidence, two of my “recent arrivals” came with covers of “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye.” Here’s the first, from the orquesta Tejana band, Mexican Revolution:

Mexican Revolution: Na Na Hey Hey
From S/T (El Zarape, 196?)

Really dig the use of vibes on here and the vocals, while loyal to the original, have that Tex-Mex soul thing going. Their cover’s laidback-ness also translate to the drums, which do spark into more life during the break but despite a very insistent conga player, it’s pleasant but nothing to write home about. In contrast, this version from Brazil’s Wilson Das Neves is a bit shorter yet still sweeter:

Wilson Das Neves: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
From Samba-Tropi (Elenco, 1970)

Given that he’s a percussionist, it’s no surprise that the drums knock on this cover (it also, depending on your perspective, mercifully spares you the rest of the song lyrics).

Bonus tracks: Both of these albums have other worthwhile fare besides a cover of a one-hit wonder so I wanted to highlight some of those songs too. For example, Das Neves’s album has this great slice of Tropicalia soul:

Bebete Vão Bora

Meanwhile, Mexican Revolution drops a simply lovely ballad:

Dichosos

  1. I went digging around for what that original drum solo was but no dice.

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