lundi 3 juillet 2017

35th anniversary of "I Will Follow Him" at #1 on the Dutch Top 40!!!

35 years ago eaxctly, on July 3rd, 1982 José Hoebee hit the number one spot on the Dutch Top 40 with "I Will Follow Him" (which was originally performed in 1963 by Little Peggy March).  This single later became a #1 hit in Belgium as well. One year after Luv's first break-up, José proved that she could be successful on her own, especially with  cover versions of American pop songs. 

Song history

I Will Follow Him was originally a French tune entitled "Chariot" written by Frank Pourcel (as J.W. Stole) and Paul Mauriat (as Del Roma). It was first recorded by "Frank Pourcel et Son Grand Orchestre" and appeared as an instrumental piece on the 1961 French LP "Amour, danse et violons No. 17". Jacques Plante wrote French lyrics and British vocalist Petula Clark recorded the track which became very popular in France. 

Chariot by Petula Clark 

The song was later adapted in English by Arthur Altman and Norman Gimbel. 15-year old artist Little Peggy March performed it as "I Will Follow Him" and made it a world sensation when it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1963 in USA.

 I Will Follow Him by Peggy March

Nearly 20 years later, José covered it and let Pim Koopman (a former member of Dutch band Kayak) produced it. The famous sister duo Maywood (whose greatest hits were produced by Koopman) did the backing vocals. CNR/Carrere released José's rendition of "I Will Follow Him" as a single in Benelux and licensed it to various labels in Europe: Metronome Musik in German speaking countries, Barclay Records in France (where Luv's dark-haired singer was strangely credited as "José José") and WEA in Spain (where the artist's name was spelled "Yozé"). It became an instant success in the Netherlands (#1 on the Dutch Top 40 on July 3rd 1982 and #2 on the Nationale Hitparade) as well as in Belgium (#1 on BRT Top 30). Miss Hoebee was one of the few female artists who had a #1 hit single in Holland as a member of a group and as a solo singer. Diana Ross (of The Supremes), Yvonne Keeley (of The Star Sisters) and Sita (of K-Otic) established the same record in the charts. Moreover, José's single eventually sold 100.000 copies in Benelux and peaked at #6 on the Europarade (a list combining the charts of ten European countries)

José on AVRO's TopPop in 1982

José on Nederland Muziekland

WWF Club (Germany)

Official music video

José on Veronica Awards show 

Dutch cover of I Will Follow Him by José

French release

Spanish release

German version

Due to the fact that 'I Will Follow Him" became a chart topper in Holland, José won a Veronica Award in 1982. 

To celebrate the success of "I Will Follow Him", a party was held with the artist and her friends.

Pictures courtesy of Jos Theuns & Peter Boonstra:

José, Maywood and Pim Koopman

Bonnie St. Claire and Maywood congratulating José on her #1 hit

José and her producer Pim Koopman

I Will Follow Him enjoyed a revival in the 1990s when a scene of US comedy "Sister Act" (starring Whoopi Goldberg) featured a funny cover.

Sister act (1992) 

In 2005, Flemish producer Serge Ramaekers (who formed the New Beat group "Confetti's") remixed José's I Will Follow Him. The remix was included on the compilation "Alle hits & unieke bonustracks" and was a minor hit (#90 on the Dutch Single Top 100) in early 2006. 

In 2011, a dream came true: José and Peggy March recorded a new version of their signature song as a duet. One year later, it was released as a bonus track on Peggy's album "Always and Forever".

Peggy & José 

In late 2016, a commercial for the Apple iPhone 7 featured Nigerian-born singer Toulouse performing a slowed-down and plaintive ballad version of this classic pop hit (renamed "I Will Follow You"). It created a sensation on internet. Toulouse's cover version opened at No. 2 on Billboard and Clio’s monthly Top TV Commercials chart, on the strength of 95,000 Shazam tags, 26,000 downloads sold and 1.3 million U.S. streams tallied during the month of October 2016. The single also appeared on two other Billboard charts, climbing to No. 6 on the R&B Digital Song Sales chart and No. 17 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart. Last autumn, Billboard magazine interviewed Peggy March about this phenomenon and posted an article on its website (even mentioning José!!!). Click here to read it. 

Toulouse : I Will Follow You (2016)

Source: Wikipedia,, Billboard, YouTube, Facebook


Books by Johan van Slooten published by Gottmer Becht Groep:

  • 500 Nr. 1 Hits uit de Top 40, 1997 
  • Top 40 Hitdossier 1956-2005 (9e editie), 2006 
  • 50 Jaar nummer-1-hits 1956-2006, 2006

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