Oh, “Mickey,” you’re still so fine….
Born Antonia Christina Basilotta, Philly born Toni Basil’s passion for choreography brought her into the highest ranks of dance stardom, but as we all know, it was her trademark Billboard #1 smash “Mickey” that brought her the most music heat, going on to become a global phenomenon, but ultimately leaving the dancing diva to become a major new wave one-hit wonder.
After attending high school in Las Vegas, Ms. Basil took a liking to–you guessed it–cheerleading where she became a member of the cheerleading squad. After high school, she danced on bar tops as a go-go dancer and soon stepped into choreography, working on such classic ’60s television shows like Shindig and The T.A.M.I. Show, and also in the film Pajama Party alongside dearly departed Disney diva, Annette Funicello. Her acting career would also hit its stride with coveted roles in 1969’s landmark Easy Rider as a delightful New Orleans hooker, also appearing alongside Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, Dennis Hopper in The Last Movie and doing this while choreographing timeless films like American Graffiti and The Rose, and lending her creative prowess to David Bowie’s 1974 road spectacle.
Also during this time, Ms. Toni recorded a handful of tracks that remained mostly B-sides and chart flops, but in 1981 she would strike gold by linking up with Pat Benatar’s writing team, Mike Chapman & Nicky Chinn, and together they would come up with the monster slice of of local music truth that was “Mickey,” (originally titled “Kitty”) while creating a music legacy that will live forever in our pom-pom dreams.
While the”‘Mickey” loving songstress struggled on the charts with follow-up singles “Shoppin’ From A to Z” and “Over My Head,” there’s no denying that her trademark tune was an inescapable music force to be reckoned with–and it still most certainly is today.