Sunday, January 16, 2011


Toni Basil in the film "Breakaway."

Click above to hear "Breakaway."

Unless you are a devotee of experimental film of the 1960s, you may not be familiar with this sublime side of Northern Soul. Recorded in 1966 for Bruce Conner's seminal film "Breakaway," this track will be quite a pleasant surprise to those who thought of Basil simply as "that Mickey girl."

Basil's early career couldn't be more different than the New Wave Experimental Pop image she adopted in the early 1980s. In the 1960s, Basil ran with Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson, and some of the most respected performers and filmmakers of the 1960s beatnik scene. "Breakaway" is an essential recording of that period, not the least because of the innovative Bruce Conner film in which it is featured.

Basil, born Antonia Christina Basilotta, showed an early flair for performing, and by her twenties was a much sought-after choreographer and dancer. She was an early member of the dance troupe The Lockers, and was one of the earliest musical guests on the first season of Saturday Night Live. After she was immortalized on film in Bruce Conner's "Breakaway" she moved on to supporting roles in the classics "Easy Rider" and "Five Easy Pieces."

As the 1970s drew to a close, Basil moved back to music, inspired by the New Wave movement. Her first full-length LP, "Word of Mouth" was an instant smash worldwide, yielding the infectious single "Mickey." A second album followed in 1984, but with little success, though it heralded what many to believe was Basil's strongest single "Over My Head."

Toni Basil's second LP.
When sales of her self-titled second album failed to meet expectations, Basil left Chrysalis Records and concentrated on acting and choreography. At age 67, Basil continues to be one of Hollywood's premier choreographers. Her diverse body of work has attracted a legion of fans, spanning three generations.

Toni Basil's Official Website
Toni talks about her career. (YouTube)
Career Performance Clips (YouTube)

1 comment:

  1. Sterling blog. First-rate, straight-through. Excellent work. Cheers & hoping for more posts.