Chumbawamba Gets Knocked Down and Won’t Get Up Again

The British anarcho-punks with one of the most annoying one-hit-wonders of the last twenty years are going to call it a day.

That’s it then, it’s the end. With neither a whimper, a band or a reunion.

Chumbawamba first came together in 1982 (!!!) and spent 30 years flying the flag for feminism, gay liberation, anti-fascism, anti-consumerism, animal rights, class struggle and just about every other left-wing cause imaginable.

“Tubthumping,” thier one-and-only mainstream hit, was released through Universal Records (A major label!  Shock!  Horror!) in the summer of 1997 and ended up hitting #2 in the UK, #6 in the US, #1 in Australia, #1 in Italy and somewhere in the Top 10 in Canada (I forget where).  

(Interesting aside:  there was a French version recorded just for the Quebec market.  So no, you weren’t hallucinating.)

The success of the song created something of an issue within the band.  What to do with all that money?  One solution was to encourage fans without the necessary funds to steal the CD from big shops like HMV and Virgin.  (Virgin was forced to sell the disc from behind the counter.) I seem to recall it being donated to Chumbawamba-approved causes.

Then Nike came along and asked to use it for a World Cup campaign.  They were told to shove off–but the band did license it to Electronic Arts, the US video game company, for use in World Cup ’98.

I’m sure we don’t need to hear “Tubthumping” ever again, so in memory of Chumbawamba’s passing, I present a track called “Time Bomb,” which is much, much better.  Catchy, no?



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Chumbawamba Gets Knocked Down and Won’t Get Up Again

  • July 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    This should be a national holiday in honour of this glorious news!

    But I am not going to click the link, I'm terrified it sounds like TubThumping


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