Music / Scatman John
"Where's the Scatman? I'm the Scatman."
"I hope that the kids, while they sing along to my songs or dance to it, feel that life is not that bad at all. Even for just a minute."

Scatman John (real name: John Paul Larkin, March 13, 1942 December 3, 1999) was a singer and jazz/pop pianist famous for singing despite having a Speech Impediment which made him stutter. Although born in America, he was much more popular in Europe and Japan than he ever was in the U.S. He is best known for the somewhat self-titled song "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)". He died from lung cancer on December 3, 1999 at the age of 57.

He is considered a very inspiring example of how someone with a disability can turn his life around. He turned his stutter into an advantage in his music as scat singing has a lot of repetition in it. He even points this out in his debut song.

Everybody stutters one way or the other
So check out my message to you.
As a matter of fact don't let nothin' hold you back.
If the Scatman can do it, so can you.
Everybody's sayin' that the Scatman stutters
But doesn't ever stutter when he sings.
But what you don't know I'm gonna tell you right now
That the stutter and the scat is the same thing.
Yo, I'm the Scatman.

A profile of his work and life can be found here.

Scatman John and his work provide examples of:

  • Artistic License Music: The "Scatman (ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-bop)" video has a drummer, trumpeter, and upright bassist in it, despite all of the instruments in the song being obviously synthesized.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: His Nice Hat, which he wore in most of his music videos. His pinstripe suit and Porn Stache may also qualify.
  • Cool Old Guy: He was already over 50 when "Scatman" became a hit in 1995. He died only four years later at age 57, proving that you don't have to be young to make it to stardom.
  • Cute Kitten: From "Everybody Jam!":
    Louie even said that you could teach your cat scat.
  • Disability Superpower: Had a stutter, which, as mentioned before, gave him godly scatting powers. He himself described it as "turning my biggest problem into my biggest asset".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His first album, John Larkin (1986) was recorded before the creation of his Scatman persona, features straightforward jazz without any kind of dance/rap fusion and (and this is the kicker) barely has any scatting!
  • Location Song:
    • "Lebanon", a slow and darker tone piece, Scatman half-talks about a number of general historical and other apparently strong points Lebanon has. The other half is questioning whether they still persist, "or has their song been silenced". Trademark scatting is scarce.
    • "Song of Scatland" by Scatman John is a less upbeat Scatman's song talking about an imaginary, "magic" place, its tenets and beliefs. People of Scatland are idealistic and pure, having had "complete childhoods", "developed imaginations", and Scatman speaks of how to get there. Furthermore, unlike album versions, children imagery and vocals are used for chorus parts in the music video version.
    There is only love and happiness in Scatland. Hatred and resentment?
    Well, that's unheard of. It's unheard of.
  • Motor Mouth: Many people have tried to imitate his scatting, but even with the lyric sheet present it's not that easy.
  • Nice Hat: As mentioned above, Scatman was rarely seen without his trademark hat
  • No Export for You: His Japanese Exclusive songs.... Until the internet and MP3s became popular.
  • One-Man Song: "Scatman"
    I'm a scatman!
  • Sampling: A bit of Louis Armstrong speaking and playing the trumpet is sampled in "Everybody Jam!", fittingly, as it is a tribute to the man.
    • He has also been sampled himself.
  • Scatting: Well, duh.
  • Secretly Dying: Most people didn't know he had advanced lung cancer until it took his life, as he continued to record even after his diagnosis, releasing one last album months before his death.
  • Self Empowerment Anthem: "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)" explicitly says this:
    Everybody stutters one way or the other,
    So check out my message to you,
    As a matter of fact, don't let nothin' hold you back.
    If the Scatman can do it, brother, so can you.
  • Singer Name Drop: "Yeah, I'm the Scatman!"