A Mosquito on the Dance Floor

It’s a cliché that small things can make a big difference. The flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas.

(OK, not in reality, but certainly in chaos theory and pop culture.)

This notion is acknowledged by authorities as diverse as the Dalai Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

And Malcolm Gladwell: “There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible.

All you have to do is find it.” But finding it is often, easier said than done.

Even if, or maybe especially when, it is under your nose.

Everything But the Girl got started almost accidentally, in the quirky post-punk British music scene of 1982, by singer Tracey Thorn and guitarist Ben Watt.

They could plausibly be described as somewhat reluctant semi-pop stars.

Like many musicians their career has had ups and downs.

1994 saw EBTG on a definite up.

Tracey had layered her velvety vocals on a Massive Attack track that was a global hit for the trip hop pioneers.

The bands 8th album, Amplified Heart had been released and the duo were busy playing smaller club venues to promote it.

They even enjoyed a minor UK dance hit with a remix of Missing, one of the album tracks.

Things were pretty good.

But they were about to get better.

In 1995, a house DJ called Todd Terry remixed the now largely forgotten track for the U.S. market.

Not only was it a great remix, DJs around the world spontaneously started playing it.

First it was a dance floor hit.

Next it became an anthem and then it crossed over and became a global sensation.

Missing spent 11 weeks in the UK charts, it was number one in Germany and Italy and most of Europe.

It reached number 2 in Billboard’s U.S. charts.

And the surprising thing is the remix didn’t change that much.

Todd Terry just tweaked the rhythm track.

As he said, “I didn’t have to do a lot. They did the production: I just made it dance.”

But what he did made all the difference.

And the record went on to sell around 3 million copies worldwide.

How about your stuff, is it dancing?

Or could it use a remix?


Listen to the original or the remix