Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jay Ferguson - "Thunder Island" (1978)

You'd be right to say Jay Ferguson was a one-hit wonder with "Thunder Island," although his semi-clone follow-up "Shakedown Cruise" crawled up the chart some distance. This song will be played on all the radio one-hit wonder weekends, and yes, it has an irresistible chorus consisting of mainly "doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doooooo."

But Ferguson was already part of two major rock bands before he went solo for this one hit. He sang for the seminal 60's rock band Spirit, which experimented with rock and jazz, and had some classics of their own ("I Got A Line On You," "Nature's Way"). He then went off to form the much more southern California rock-based Jo Jo Gunne and their one-off hit "Run Run Run."

Ferguson found short-lived solo success as sort of a more poppier version of Joe Walsh. He shared the same producer as Walsh and the Eagles (Bill Szymczyk), so you know it was very slick with that Southern California rock feel those guy patented. "Thunder Island" was Ferguson's bouncy reminiscence of hanging out with a gorgeous native island girl who was "the color of Indian summer," getting caught in a tropical rainstorm and "making love out on Thunder Island."

The verses had a semi-reggae beat while the choruses were the aforementioned singalong "doo-doo-doo's." In between, the slide solo from Joe Walsh himself. And Ferguson's little kicker of a line towards the end, "So, sha-la-la-la-la-la my lady/In the sun with your dress undone...."

Southern California rock bubblegum? Perhaps. Great opening acoustic guitar riff with C chords backing into the F, the C, and the G major open? Yep. Hey, even if you didn't know the chords, this is one fun song.

Below is Jay Ferguson and his band performing the song as their finale for a 1979 concert in Japan.

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