Follow TV Tropes


Music / Yello

Go To
Yello, mid 1980s (l-r: Boris Blank, Dieter Meier)

Ohhhhh yeaaaahhhhh...

Yello is a Swiss avant garde Electronic Music duo (initially a trio before founding member Carlos Perón's departure) comprised of Dieter Meier and Boris Blank. Their music is characterized by its heavy reliance on unusual samples backed by catchy rhythms and Meier's deep voice.

The duo are best known for 1985 single "Oh Yeah" thanks to its appearance in the films Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Secret of My Success (as well as countless movies and shows paying homage to both), as well as their 1988 song "The Race," which was used as the theme for Euro Racing throughout The '90s.


  • Boris Blank: keyboards, sampling, percussion, backing vocals (1979–)
  • Dieter Meier: vocals, lyrics (1979–)
  • Carlos Perón: tapes (1979–1983)


Studio Albums:

  • Solid Pleasure (1980)
  • Claro Que Si (1981)
  • You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess (1983)
  • Stella (1985)
  • One Second (1987)
  • Flag (1988)
  • Baby (1991)
  • Zebra (1994)
  • Pocket Universe (1997)
  • Motion Picture (1999)
  • The Eye (2003)
  • Touch Yello (2009)
  • Toy (2016)
  • Point (2020)

Live Albums:

  • Live in Berlin (2017)

Remix Albums:

  • 1980-1985 The New Mix in One Go (1986)
  • Bostich (1992)
  • Hands On Yello (1995)
  • Eccentrix Remixes (1999)

Promotional albums:

  • Progress and Perfection (2007)
  • The Key to Perfection (2012)

Greatest Hits Albums:

  • Essential Yello (1992)
  • Yello by Yello (2010)
  • Yell40 Years (2021)

This band provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Name: Boris Blank.
  • Alternate Album Cover:
    • The initial US release of Claro Que Si featured three different variations of the album art: one with the standard green backdrop, one with an orange backdrop, and one with a yellow backdrop. While most reissues worldwide stuck with the green cover, the orange one would briefly reemerge via a 2005 vinyl reissue in Germany.
    • Baby features a cover photo of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier posing against an elaborate drawing by Ernst Gamper. While the cover used in most regions depicts the pair leaning down and staring into the camera, with Meier on the left and Blank on the right, the initial UK release features an alternate photo depicting Blank on the left, standing upright and crossing his arms, and Meier on the right, still leaning down. Later UK editions switch to the international cover.
    • The original release of the band's first Greatest Hits Album depicts headshots of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier. The 1995 reissue, done to promote The Santa Clause (which the band contributed a song for), adds an outer slipcase based on the film poster, though the original artwork is still present on the front of the jewel case's booklet.
  • Bow Chicka Wow Wow: "Oh Yeah" is a popular alternative for shows and movies want to license a particular song to serve this purpose. It even uses the onomatopoetic sounds in question (though not in that order).
  • The Comically Serious: Yello's music videos frequently feature Boris Blank engaging in some of the most out-there dance moves and behaviors possible while maintaining his stoic and unamused demeanor.
  • Cover Version: The band released exactly one: a techno rendition of "Jingle Bells" for The Santa Clause, featuring Dieter Meier performing a Christmas version of the voiceover from "Oh Yeah".
  • Driving a Desk: The video for "The Race" features Boris Blank sitting in front of a rather abstract rear projection holding an unattached steering wheel. Surreal, colorful rear projections were something of a Signature Style for the band's videos.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Yello's first three albums lean much more into the industrial sounds that influenced Boris Blank and Carlos Perón. While Stella, the band's first album without Perón, still features a number of identifiably industrial songs, their subsequent output would lean further and further away from the genre in favor of other forms of electronic music.
  • Epic Rocking: Some Yello songs have grown to substantial length. For example, the album version of "The Race" (that's the one with the cool horn riffs) is over eight minutes long.
  • Epiphora: "Oh Yeah" features a minor epiphora with the lines "such a good time, a really good time."
  • Fan Disservice: In the music video for "Squeeze Please", several sequences involve the female dancers having Dieter Meier's head pasted on them as a sight gag.
  • Hidden Track: Pocket Universe includes the single remix of "To the Sea" as a twelfth track not listed on the packaging. It is, however, given away on a shrinkwrap sticker.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The single releases of "Pinball Cha-Cha", "You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess", "Pumping Velvet", "I Love You", "Lost Again", "Let Me Cry", "Goldrush", and "Base for Alec" reuse the band logo from the front cover for You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, even though most of those singles came from other albums.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: While the band's songs usually lean towards wordiness, there are some songs that break this convention:
    • The lyrics for the album version of "Bostich" consist solely of one verse, which is repeated five times.
    • "Oh Yeah" is very sparse in the lyrical department, with the only distinct lines (other than the nonverbal mouth sounds) being a Title Drop, "the moon, beautiful," "the sun, even more beautiful," "beautiful," and "such a good time, a really good time." According to Boris Blank, vocalist Dieter Meier was "very angry" when he was asked to only say "oh yeah" over and over again, and it wasn't until after the song was recorded that he came around to it.
    • The lyrics to "Planet Dada" consist only of a Title Drop, "electric," and "erotic," repeated in various different ways.
  • Motor Mouth: A key element of Dieter's vocal style in a number of their songs. "Bostich" and "The Race" being two noteworthy examples.
  • Obsession Song: While not overtly written as one, "Oh Yeah" became a Standard Snippet for decadent lust and avarice after its constant inclusion in film and TV soundtracks.
  • Piranha Problem: Apparently, Manaus and the Amazonas are so infested by them that "Great Mission" has to mention them four times.
  • Pop-Star Composer: The band provided the soundtrack for Nuns on the Run, using rough cuts of the material from Flag.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: The Father of Excess's voice (and burps) in "Great Mission" are pitched down.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The single release of "Bostich" features a new arrangement with extra verses by Dieter Meier (since the original was just a single verse repeated ad infinitum). This rendition would be retroactively retitled "Bostich (N'est-ce Pas)" when it was included as a bonus track on the 2005 remaster of Solid Pleasure.
    • The single remix of "To the Sea" turns it from a Trip Hop song to a trance piece.
    • As Touch Yello was made to commemorate the band's 30th anniversary, it includes a remix of "Bostich", a song from their debut album. The deluxe edition of the album also throws in a second remix of "Bostich" plus remixes of "The Race" and "Oh Yeah".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: While both long-term members of Yello are steeped in Deutschosphere stoicism, their stage presence and public image are built on the contrast between Dieter Meier's dynamic eccentricity and Boris Blank's arthouse stuffiness, which he uses to come off as The Comically Serious in the group's music videos.
  • Renaissance Man: Dieter Meier's resume beyond Yello, from both before and after his time in it, is famously extensive. CNN even referred to him as a "serial entrepreneur." In addition to performing with the act, he's also an industrialist, conceptual artist, music video director, watch designer, professional gambler, professional golfer, restauranteur, chocolatier, wine-maker... all of which he invested his royalties from Yello's songs into.
  • Sampling: A significant part of their compositions are either samples of non-musical sounds re-arranged in musical/rhythmic ways (for example, "Koladi-Ola" is a sped-up sound effect from an animal sounds album of a lion roaring) or musical instruments which Boris Blank recorded himself and heavily re-engineered beyond recognition. Over the years of creating music, he's built up an original sample library of over 100,000 named and categorized sounds thanks to his longtime fascination with musique concrète tape experiments.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The music video for "Pinball Cha-Cha" features figurines of Wimpy from Popeye during the stop-motion sequences.
    • The video remix of "Jungle Bill" features the sound effect used when stomping on a Koopaling in Super Mario World, albeit pitched up. The single released just four months after the game came out in Europe.
  • Signature Style: The band's music videos in the '80s and early '90s typically revolve around Dieter Meier and Boris Blank performing in front of a rear projection screen while awash in neon lighting, intercut with rapid-fire stop motion sequences and/or stock footage; in videos where rear projections aren't the main focus, the band would frequently find a way to slot them in anyway. Since the late '90s, they've traded out the rear projections for Chroma Key and CGI.
  • Speedy Techno Remake: The album version of "Jungle Bill" is a mix of funk and swing in their usual, layered, sample-heavy style. The music video version, meanwhile, substantially remixes it as a faster-paced trance piece.
  • Standard Snippet: "Oh Yeah" is often used in scenes of movies and shows where a character is leering at either an impossibly attractive person or some sort of decadent material possession, if not comically presenting something that isn't sexual in a sexy way. And, on at least one occasion, to make fun of a character's failure.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Swing" and "Blazing Saddles" see Boris Blank sing lead vocals instead of Dieter Meier; the music video for the latter consequently inverts their typical Red Oni, Blue Oni stage dynamic, with Blank being the song's vibrant showman and Meier being the stoic backing performer.
  • Stock Footage: The music video for "Planet Dada" prominently recycles clips from the music video for "Do It" nearly a decade prior, albeit with a blue tint instead of a red one. This is contrasted with newly shot greenscreen footage of Dieter Meier singing the lyrics to "Planet Dada".
  • Symploce: The minimalist lyrics of "Oh Yeah" contain a minor recurring symploce:
    The moon, beautiful
    The sun, even more beautiful
  • Technician Versus Performer: Dieter's fun, quirky showmanship contrasted with Boris' art-house class and technical brilliance.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The music video for "Jingle Bells" intercuts snippets from The Santa Clause with footage of Dieter Meier reciting the song's voiceover in a blue void. The only other original footage is a cameo from Tim Allen depicting him in-character as Scott Calvin.
  • Voice Clip Song: "Unbelievable", the band's theme song for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, chops and screws samples of Andrew "Dice" Clay's dialogue as Ford Fairlane.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Pinball Cha-Cha" takes the plot of The Who's "Pinball Wizard" and transplants it to Mexico.

Chicka chickaaaaa...