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YMMV / Scatman John

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  • Anvilicious: When the Scatman sings/raps about a better world, he's far from subtle.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)". It's a fusion of scat jazz and 90s eurodance. Yes, it's crazy. Yes, it's incredible.
    • "Everybody Jam!" also qualifies. Not only is it amazingly well sung, it's also Scatman's tribute towards his greatest inspiration, Louis Armstrong.
      "He taught the Scatman all about scat, he's the father of it all, as a matter of fact!"
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    • "Scatman's World" is another great song. As always, it has a message, and it really sticks. In more than one way.
  • Epic Riff: Scatman John sings them! "Scatman" itself is easily the most notable.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • While his international success is certainly nothing to sneeze at, the Scatman went down in Japanese history as one of the biggest foreign music acts ever. To put it in perspective, his Scatman's World album is one of the top 20 best-selling albums in Japan by a foreign artist (with 1.56 million copies sold — that's bigger than Céline Dion), his Everybody Jam! album had five Japan-exclusive tracks, and he did exclusive songs for a Japanese perfume commercial. A parody of "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)" was even sung by the lead actor of Ultraman.
    • Scatman was much more popular in Europe than he was in the United States.
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  • Glurge: "Scatman's World." Not that that makes it a bad song, of course. "Song of Scatland" from the same album is arguably an even greater example, complete with children's choir.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)" includes the lyrics "While you're still sleepin' the saints are still weepin' cause things you call dead haven't yet had the chance to be born." By that logic, the Scatman now has yet to have the chance to be born.
    • The fact that his last album is called Take Your Time becomes this, since he recorded it while having lung cancer and passed away just a few months after its release.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of his songs was called "Let It Go". One of the background singers even sings the title the same way as the final chorus of the song from Frozen.
    • The first single from Scatman's 1999 album Take Your Time was "Scatmambo", fusing Scatman's usual style with elements of the mambo genre. One of the biggest hits that same year was another mambo-styled track — "Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega. 20 years later, Bega sampled "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Da-Bop)" for the song "Scatman & Hatman", officially credited to both of them.
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    • Related to the above, the concept of "Everybody Jam!" being a posthumous virtual duet between the Scatman and Louis Armstrong is funnier knowing that Scatman would end up in Louis's position with Lou Bega paying tribute to him instead. Doubles as Heartwarming in Hindsight.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • His songs "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)" and "Scatman's World" got quite a bit of mileage in the early days of YouTube. They were frequently used in AMVs, YouTube Poops, and Super Mario 64 Bloopers. Additionally, "The Invisible Man" was commonly used in Team Fortress 2 videos featuring the Spy.
    • A somewhat tasteless one: "...things you call dead haven't yet had the chance to be born." = "Scatman John is against abortion." See also "My intention is prevention of the lie" - it's ambiguous, but given how the "things you call dead" also follows "the saints are still weeping" — it's a reasonable interpretation.
    • "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)" has been used in Italy as the soundtrack of a massively popular comedy sketch which parodied the Italian phenomenon of "cinepanettoni" (meaning: films usually coming out for the Christmas holidays featuring Lowest Common Denominator stuff such as slapstick and vulgar humor, innuendos, hot girls, exotic locales and then-recent dance music songs in the soundtrack). From that moment on every parody of these films is almost required to use Scatman's song as background track.
    • "Scatman's World" gained a bit of resurgence in 2018. One such example is someone passionately talking on-screen but their speech is replaced by by the intro ("Ba-bo-be-bo, ba-ba-do-ba-ba-ba-ba-bapadi") with the caption "Love it or hate it, X is speaking straight facts". Another is to have a meme play, but replace the funny bit with Anti-Humor, and then play the intro while captioning the video with a Captain Obvious description, usually phrased as "Awesome! He finally..."
  • Narm: "Song Of Scatland" is a shoo-in for this trope. It's a ballad. A mere 90BPM. With a sad piano and a children's choir. It's supposed to develop the whole mythos of "Scatland," but it's so corny, sentimental and Glurge-y, that it's difficult to take seriously. When Todd in the Shadows did an episode of One Hit Wonderland about Scatman John, he got to this song and just started snickering.
    Todd: I love ya, Scatman, I really do. But who in God's name is this for? Who could possibly want this?!
  • Narm Charm: How did this guy become a pop star? Scatting, jazz-loving old guy in a dapper suit with a huge Tom Selleck 'stashe, doing raps over eurodance beats about peace and love. And in many corners of the world, he's a legend.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Although "Scatman" became memetic from the late 2000s onward through sites like YouTube, it was actually released back in 1994, old enough to have been parodied by a commercial from 1997.
    • A theory among some fans is that he may have inadvertently pioneered Electro Swing. "Everybody Jam," with that in mind, may sound a little ahead of its time.
    • John Larkin, prior to adopting his Scatman persona, recorded a jazz album in the '80s under his real name. Larkin had actually been a jazz cat for years leading up to his '90s fame, because playing piano was a hiding spot for him, where he could succeed without having to speak or sing.
    • Speaking of that John Larkin album, the first track, "The Misfit", features the lines "Somebody asked, 'What's the meaning of jazz?'/And I said, 'We're the Misfits, and all I can tell you/Is while you're still sleeping, the saints are still weeping/'Cause things you call dead haven't yet had the chance to be born." Sound familiar? This was eight years before the more familiar version of that line appeared in "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Da-Bop)".
  • Signature Song: "Scatman," his whole ethos in one song.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Hearing him talk about his childhood and youth and how his stuttering cause him a lot of embarrassment and emotion pain back in those days is rather heartbreaking. It also makes it even more awesome and inspiring to know how he managed to take this weakness head on, and transform it into the main strength of his performance.
    • Knowing that he recorded his final album, Take Your Time, while dying from advanced lung cancer.
  • Too Cool to Live: If not Larkin himself, then definitely the Scatman John persona, which died with him after only five years.


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