Well, after my nasty little indiscretion last week, I figured I’d better lift my game somewhat. So I’ve ditched the forgotten Aussies this week, and flown overseas. Though I’ve picked a band with alternating male and female vocalists, playing a characteristically 90s song, so I don’t think it’s “lifted” all that much. Oh well, just picture that it’s 1999, the world is preparing for the Millennium Bug to destroy Civilisation, Australia is preparing for the GST to destroy the economy, Carlton is preparing for North Melbourne to destroy them in a Grand Final, and an unknown Canadian band is preparing to let one song take the world by storm.

Today we are remembering Len, and their one and only popular song “Steal My Sunshine”, and upon listening to it, floods of memories from the 1990s come flooding back into your memory.

Released in July 1999 as part of the soundtrack to the movie Go (unrelated to the digital TV channel or student political group), Steal My Sunshine became an instant success for the Canadian two-piece. It was also included their third studio album “You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush” (no, seriously, that is its name), released that same year.

Apparently Marc Constanzo had the desire to write a song in the same mould as The Human League’s 1981 hit (and secret love of mine) “Don’t You Want Me“, and record it with his sister and sole bandmate Sharon Costanzo. He was apparently taken by the alternating male and female vocals and romantic angst portrayed in the Human League song, and wanted to replicate this in his own song. The backing track that made this song instantly recognisable was also sampled from another source, this time disco outfit Andrea True Connection’s 1976 hit “More, More, More” (skip to 2:20 in that song and you’ll pick it instantly, and while you’re at it check out the wicked 70s disco feel of that film clip). After writing some lyrics, and combining the two “influences”, he had produced Steal My Sunshine.

Like almost all songs that prove popular, the band disliked the song from the start. Sharon apparently threw the recording into a closet after it was recorded, and Marc, who was also unimpressed by the song, hid the master of it, almost preventing the band from locating it to include on the album.

Fortunately for their success, that didn’t occur, and Steal My Sunshine was released. It hit #3 in Canada (no surprise there I guess), number #9 on the Billboard charts in the US, and #3 on the ARIA charts here in Australia.

This song would lack any form of respect from me if not for a) it being a massive memory of the end of the 90s, and b) learning that after the band had been given a $100,000 budget to make the filmclip to accompany the song, they flew 20 or so of their friends with them to Florida, and spent the majority of the budget on alcohol, buying so much that they broke a hotel elevator trying to transport it all to their rooms. They reportedly filmed the clip exclusively in the afternoon, allowing them the evening to drink, and the morning to recover from their hangovers. For that at least, I’ve got to give them credit.

Meanwhile, that was to prove to be the peak of their fame and success. They released two more studio albums, and are still noted as actively touring and are signed to a recording label. However, much like before the release of Steal My Sunshine, no one knows a thing about them now, thus confining them to the glorious archives of 90s pop music history.