Since they formed 28 years ago, UK group Chumbawumba may have released a ton of music covering many styles (and under various band lineups) but it is their 1997 breakout hit single "Tubthumping" (video above) with its infectious chorus ("I get knocked down/But I get up again") that they will probably always be best known for, even though it was atypical of all the other music that this anarchist band had recorded. Regardless, this single was unavoidable on the radio eleven years ago when it was a hit both in Britain and around the world. It went to #2 on the UK pop charts and #6 in the USA in 1997.
Anyway, for some reason this song and its infectious chorus popped into my head the other day and refused to leave. I kept humming its refrain over and over - I get knocked down/But I get up again/You're never going to/Keep me down -- so much so that I had to go back to re-listen to it, to so see if it stood the test of time, if it sounded as good as I remembered first time around back in '97. And having just listened to it again now, I gotta say that, while it is still a really good pop song, that it doesn't really stand the test of time to these ears. Maybe I just heard it one too many times back in '97.
In my research I did learn that the song was not only a single and album (Tubthumper) track for the band but that it has been included on several compilations, including on a volume of the phenomenally popular Now That's What I Call Music pop-hit compilation series, and also on eight movie soundtracks including Home Alone 3, In God's Hands, Senseless, Air Bud 2, Dirty Work, Varsity Blues, and Joe Somebody. Additionally, it's been featured in several video games, including EA Sports' World Cup 98, Konami's Dance Dance Revolution 2ndMIX in 1999, and in Nintendo's Donkey Konga in 2004.
And as for the meaning behind the band's unusual name? The band's official answer, according to a statement published on their website, is this: "Chumbawamba doesn't mean anything. At the time we formed (early '80s) there was a rush of bands with obvious names. It was the time of ‘peace punk' and you couldn't get across a youth club dance floor without bumping into a Disorder, a Subhumans, a Decadent Youth or an Anthrax t-shirt. We liked the sound of Chumbawamba because it wasn't nailing ourselves down. Thatcher On Acid were a good band but it's lucky for them that Thatcher stayed in power for 11 years. If her influence had only lasted 18 months Thatcher On Acid's sell-by date would have come and gone a lot sooner. We wanted a name which wouldn't date."