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Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

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Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Old 05-02-24, 03:27 PM
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Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

I discovered this talking to some millennials : While they know tons of 80s pop music, they have never heard of Oingo Boingo, nor recognize any of their songs. To me, this is mind-boggling as they seemed hugely popular, especially in So Cal in the late 80s and into the early 90s. We were discussing Danny Elfman, who played a recent music festival here last weekend. My colleague asked what Elman would be doing on stage -- she knew him as a composer. While she and the others knew the singing voice of Jack Skellington (when reminded), they had never heard of Elman's real band.
It occurred to me that despite all the 80s nostalgia, and the continuing fondness for all 80s music from Madonna to The Smiths to The Clash to Devo, the music of Boingo seems to be totally forgotten. Never used in movies (besides Weird Science), never in commercials, never on the radio. It's kind of weird, considering how big they used to be, or at least seemed that way to me.
Old 05-02-24, 03:49 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by Decker
It's kind of weird, considering how big they used to be, or at least seemed that way to me.
it does seem to be your perception, or the perception of your SoCal area, but they were not big.

Not a single Top 40 hit on the main song chart (Weird Science got close at 45) so they were never on any Casey Kasem-type countdown shows, etc.



As far as albums go, the best they ever charted was #71. And in an era when major albums hit platinum many times over--like from the other names you mentioned--OB only had one album hit gold.
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Old 05-02-24, 04:32 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Yeah...
I can't name a single song by them. I know the group name, and probably would recognize a song or two from the 80s, but I can't put a song title to the group off the top of my head.
Old 05-02-24, 05:27 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Yeah, weird science, and dead man's party, and that's about all who wasn't a big fan would know.
I also feel like Elfman took great pains to sort of distance himself from that part of his career, if I'm not mistaken?
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Old 05-02-24, 05:44 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Mainly know them for Dead Manís Party because of Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield.
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Old 05-02-24, 06:32 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Never that big and havenít been a band in what, 25-30 years?

Really great band, though. No one else sounds like them. They deserve to have a re-discovery. Maybe they should get a song on Stranger Things.

It would be great if they would do a reunion tour. I know that Elfman has hearing issues, but didnít he do some rock shows a couple of years back when his rock album came out (it is a really good album)? I would think with medical advancements there might be a way to enable him to do it.
Old 05-02-24, 06:36 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by cdollaz
It would be great if they would do a reunion tour. I know that Elfman has hearing issues, but didn’t he do some rock shows a couple of years back when his rock album came out (it is a really good album)? I would think with medical advancements there might be a way to enable him to do it.
Like I said, he did a show in Vegas last weekend. I don't know what he did, sing or conduct. But he was definitely on the bill.


Edit : Looks like he did both. And did Boingo stuff.
Old 05-02-24, 07:47 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

The songs haven't been popular on TikTok or featured in any buzzy TV shows (like Kate Busch for example). Most of the 80s stuff that is currently popular are either true icons/pioneers or had their work licensed. I've found that younger folk might know an older song but don't really care about the artists. It's possible that she's heard Weird Science but doesn't know the band.
Old 05-02-24, 09:24 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Yeah, their popularity outside of Southern California is minimal. It shouldn't be, they were a good band, but them's the facts. Even more inexplicable, their SoCal fans are not from the "alternative scene". I remember in school in Boston, chatting with my other punk/alternative fans about bands, and there was this straight-laced dude from San Diego bored out of his mind as we talked about various bands and who was coming to town. But then when someone mentioned Boingo was on tour and coming to town, it was like turning on a switch with this guy. He wanted tickets, and he wanted them NOW.
Old 05-03-24, 10:24 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by The Cow
Yeah...
I can't name a single song by them. I know the group name, and probably would recognize a song or two from the 80s, but I can't put a song title to the group off the top of my head.
Same here. Maybe they were big in Southern California in the 80s, but they were barely a blip up here in Canada at the time.
Old 05-03-24, 10:39 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

I love this song, though it guess it wasn't really a hit either. It's not on the list above, and my friend, who loves 80's music, had never heard it when I played it for him.

I was trying to remember where I had heard it, and I thought it was from a movie. I was right about that, but it wasn't a big movie. It was one I watched a ton on cable as a kid when I was less discerning. It's from the Boxing Montage in Teen Wolf Too.

Also, in the 2000's when I was involved in the local independent wrestling scene, I knew a wrestler who used it as his entrance music.

Old 05-03-24, 11:17 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by cultshock
Same here. Maybe they were big in Southern California in the 80s, but they were barely a blip up here in Canada at the time.
Yeah, although I know of them and know Danny Elfman - I couldn't name a single song from them.
Seeing their list of songs, I only know Weird Science because of the movie. Checked out Dead Man's Party on YouTube and never heard it before - unless it was used in a movie a long time ago and I forgot about it.

I think it pretty much illustrates how little known they were in the 80s since with today's nostalgia over 80s movies and music - they still aren't being referenced.
Old 05-03-24, 11:47 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

That just blows my mind as a So Cal guy in the 80s. They were literally everywhere, a KROQ staple. My wife and I somehow lucked into getting tickets to one of their Farewell concerts at Universal Amphitheater around Halloween 1995, one of the toughest tickets in town. Great show, I never really believed it would really be it for them, but it actually was.
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Old 05-03-24, 11:51 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

The drummer for Oingo Boingo was also in From Dusk till Dawn - he's the drummer for Tito & Tarantula in the scenes where the band is rocking out in the Titty Twister.
Old 05-03-24, 11:51 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by cdollaz
It would be great if they would do a reunion tour. I know that Elfman has hearing issues, but didn’t he do some rock shows a couple of years back when his rock album came out (it is a really good album)? I would think with medical advancements there might be a way to enable him to do it.
I am a big Oingo Boingo fan, and I was surprised when he released Big Mess a couple of years ago and played Coachella. Since the breakup the rest of the band would do a Halloween show every year with someone else on vocals and Elfman was pretty vocal about wishing that they wouldn't do the performances due to loud concerts causing hearing problems, but part of me always felt that he just wanted to move away from that since he's way more successful as a composer than he ever was with OB. The Simpson and Batman 89 themes alone probably have him set for life, and as long as Tim Burton is working he has a job scoring films.

Plus the shows he is doing now is part rock songs/part his film/tv work, which make me feel like he's doing in begrudgingly.

Last edited by flansered; 05-03-24 at 12:02 PM.
Old 05-03-24, 11:55 AM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

They were apparently big enough for the author of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Hirohiko Araki, to include the name in his manga back in the day (though I guess when it was brought here they changed their names). He loves Western music in particular hence all the references but they can't have been that obscure.
Old 05-03-24, 12:00 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Who? Like others, I have heard about them but don't listen to them. I know the Weird Science song but I really think of Elfman in terms of a composer and not part of that band.
Old 05-03-24, 12:15 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by Decker
That just blows my mind as a So Cal guy in the 80s. They were literally everywhere, a KROQ staple. My wife and I somehow lucked into getting tickets to one of their Farewell concerts at Universal Amphitheater around Halloween 1995, one of the toughest tickets in town. Great show, I never really believed it would really be it for them, but it actually was.
Trust me, on the east coast in the 80s, they couldn't sell out a telephone booth (to steal a line from the Descendents).
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Old 05-03-24, 12:34 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by jpcamb
Who? Like others, I have heard about them but don't listen to them. I know the Weird Science song but I really think of Elfman in terms of a composer and not part of that band.
The most interesting confluence of his two separate careers is when Boingo released an album with a song based on Elfman's iconic, bouncy Midnight Run theme. Talk about a song lost to time - the official Boingo track on You Tube only has 82K views
Old 05-03-24, 01:33 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by Paff
Trust me, on the east coast in the 80s, they couldn't sell out a telephone booth (to steal a line from the Descendents).
That's kind of shocking, actually. I remember them as being a favorite band, even though I mostly only listened to their hits (which looking back, were mostly on Dead Man's Party). I guess "hit" is a relative term, but my friends and I liked them a lot.
Old 05-03-24, 02:12 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by jpcamb
Who? Like others, I have heard about them but don't listen to them. I know the Weird Science song but I really think of Elfman in terms of a composer and not part of that band.
Yep. That's how I see Elfman now and rarely think of his former band. I mean they were ok with some catchy stuff; but once Elfman was no longer with them I feel he took all their energy with him in a weird way and they became just another 80's band that WAS kinda liked.

Also, I'm a SoCal person so yeah, Oingo Boingo was everywhere as for as I could tell. Well, them the waaay fuckin' OVERRRRRRRATED Red Hot Chili Fuckin' Peppers...but I can see where California folks might not understand that OB weren't that big a deal in other states.
Old 05-03-24, 04:20 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Boingo knew that if they dared appear in public they would be hounded mercilessly by paparazzi.
Old 05-03-24, 04:22 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Originally Posted by Kurt D
Boingo knew that if they dared appear in public they would be hounded mercilessly by paparazzi.
I'm guessing that's a Bridget Fonda joke? If so, well played.
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Old 05-03-24, 04:46 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Elfman used to get paid 1 million per film score now he gets 2 million per score.
Old 05-03-24, 04:48 PM
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Re: Why Have Oingo Boingo Been Forgotten?

Which one was Elfman, Oingo or Boingo?

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