Toni Basil is an American pop singer, songwriter, director and choreographer and dancer, best known for her multi-million-selling worldwide #1 hit "Mickey".
Toni Basil served as an assistant choreographer to David Winters and was a dancer on Shindig!, an American music variety show. She was also assistant choreographer and was featured as a go-go dancer on the 1964 concert film The T.A.M.I. Show (Teen-Age Music International). She choreographed, and co-directed with David Byrne, the music video for "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads and directed and choreographed the video for their song "Crosseyed and Painless." She also choreographed David Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour in 1974, and Glass Spider Tour in 1987.
Basil has worked with Bette Midler for many years, most recently on her 2008/2009 Las Vegas show The Showgirl Must Go On. She also served as the associate director and choreographer of the worldwide Tina Turner Live: 50th Anniversary Concert Tour in 2008/2009. Her expertise as a choreographer led her to be invited to sit as a guest judge on season four and five of Fox Television's So You Think You Can Dance.
Her film choreography work includes Pajama Party and George Lucas's American Graffiti, and The Monkees' 1968 film Head, in which she makes an appearance as a dancer during "Daddy's Song" with Davy Jones. Other notable choreography work credited to Basil can be found in the films The Rose, Legally Blonde, That Thing You Do, and My Best Friend's Wedding.
Basil's recording career began in 1966 with a single from the short film Breakaway. She appeared as a guest during the first season of Saturday Night Live as one of The Lockers and on later seasons as a singer as well as a filmmaker with her urban style Swan Lake.
In 1982, she released the single "Mickey", which went on to achieve international success. This song is a cover of "Kitty," a 1979 release by the UK band Racey, written by British songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman and produced by Mike Chapman. The original song did not include the famous 'Oh Mickey, you're so fine' chant, which Basil added. "Mickey" was actually recorded in 1980 and the video was conceived, directed, and choreographed by Basil herself for the UK-based label Radial Choice nearly a year before the inception of MTV in 1981. Issued on Chrysalis Records in September 1982, the song knocked Lionel Richie from #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December.
Basil's recording career consists of only two albums. Her first album, 1982's Word of Mouth included a second Hot 100 single "Shoppin' from A to Z," as well as three songs by Devo, with the group providing the backing track. The track "Space Girls" was a re-recording of a 1974 Devo demo titled "Space Girl Blues" that would later be released on Devo's "Hardcore Devo: Volume One". Devo member Gerald V. Casale and Toni were in a relationship at the time and Basil had been an early supporter of the group. Toni Basil, her eponymous second album, yielded a third and final Hot 100 charting single, "Over My Head," which also reached #4 on the U.S. Dance chart. Her song "Girls Night Out" appeared on the soundtrack to the 1986 movie Modern Girls. To date, there have been five Toni Basil best-of collections released on CD.