Day 221: Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Polkadot Bikini

Song: “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Polkadot Bikini” by Brian Hyland
Reached #1: August 8, 1960 (his first, 1 week)

Sorry, no bikinis in this clip…

Brian Hyland was just 16 when “Bikini” hit the top of the charts.  For many artists, that’d be a good thing.  For Hyland, it wasn’t.  It typecast him as a bubblegum pop singer — which was OK for a couple of years, and one more top ten hit (“Sealed With A Kiss”), but then came the Beatles, and the British Invasion.

Hyland’s career sputtered.

He kept releasing music — switching to country/folk in the mid-’60s — but never even hit the top 20, much less having the same success he had with “Bikini”.

By the early ’70s, he’d switched again, to psychedelic rock, and did land one other enduring hit (“Gypsy Woman”).  But fundamentally, his career started — and ended — with a yellow polka-dot bikini.

In an odd footnote, songwriter Dave Vance had that rare opportunity to read his own obituary in 2006 — when a man who’d spend years pretending to be Vance died!  Turns out that someone with a similar name, Paul Van Valkenburg, had spent decades claiming to have been a writer under the pen name “Paul Vance”… and doing so to scam people, apparently.  Ironically, while Van Valkenburg claimed to have sold off the royalties, Vance continues to do well on royalties to “Bikini”, as he was smart enough to keep them.

It’s also said that “Bikini” is one of the reasons the bikini became as popular as it did.  Personally, I think men are the reason the bikini became popular, but…

Tomorrow, probably the most popular English/Aussie band ever…

Other songs that reached #1 on August 8:
1987 –
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 (their second, 2 weeks)
1992 – “This Used To Be My Playground” by Madonna (her tenth, 1 week)


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