Many movies rely on songs to set the mood, and there are some that are relied upon a lot – what we like to call ‘Soundtrack Staples’. For this instalment, we check out Technotronic’s DOOF classic Pump Up the Jam.

“Poomp oop the jemm!” – it’s a refrain that was unavoidable if you possessed anything resembling a pulse when club music hit the charts really large back in 1989 and into the 1990s.

Initially unleashed by Belgian DJ/producer Jo Boageart as an instrumental named Technotronic, that title was (obviously) later used as his “band” name when the track went vocal with that all-too-familiar cry.

While the picture on the cover and person in the video was Congolese model Felly Kilingi, the vocals were actually supplied by Ya Kid K (pictured with Boageart above). This would be far from the last time that a dance act would pull the old visual switcheroo – just ask the incredibly-voiced Loleatta Holloway, who went uncredited on Black Box’s smash Ride on Time. Ya Kid K eventually received credit once the Technotronic album was released in the USA.

Naturally, listeners didn’t care about the politics, they just new that this was an utter banger that they had to add to their record collections. As such, Pump Up the Jam went top 10 in at least 19 countries. While hitting number one in their home of Belgium as well as Canada, Iceland, Portugal and Spain, the song also managed a whole heap of number twos… and reached number four here in Australia.

Here’s the official video, with Felly doing the old lip sync thing:


Men at Work (1990)
This comedy – nothing to do with the Aussie band, although we’d love to have heard them cover Pump Up the Jam – saw the brotherly duo of Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen pumping it up in the rest room, before learning a very important lesson about fries.

Space Jam (1996)
One of the most memorable appearances of Pump Up the Jam, it’s the instrumental version that soundtracks the Tune Stars warming up for the big game. Interestingly, an instrumental of another hit that featured an uncredited vocalist, this time Martha Wash of The Weather Girls, C+C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), also features later in the scene.

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)
Adam Sandler is an Israeli Special Forces soldier who fakes his own death in order to pursue his true passion – as a New York hairdresser. What better beat to get suggestiv- erm, creative to than Pump Up the Jam?

Bride Wars (2009)
Best mates Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway could have saved everybody a whole lot of drama by not scheduling their weddings on the same day, but then we guess then this movie wouldn’t exist…

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
What are two dopey but likeable hillbillies supposed to do when they’re just trying to have a nice break up at their cabin in the woods, but get mistaken for killers by a bunch of college kids? Pump Up the Jam, of course!

Bravetown (2015)
Lucas Till, Josh Duhamel, Laura Dern, Maria Bello, Tom Everett Scott all get Footloose – well, sort of – to Pump Up the Jam in this musical drama.

We Are Pregnant (2016)
Aka Embarazados, this Spanish comedy tackles the hilarious subject of, erm, early-onset menopause. We could make all sorts of gags involving the words “pump” and “up”, but we’ll be good and abstain…

The Breaker Upperers (2018)
This New Zealand comedy about two friends who are relationship enders for hire features more than the odd familiar face popping up, and also had some bloke named Taika Waititi executive producing.

Anna (2019)
The latest from Luc Besson echoes many of his actiontastic previous works, but features one thing that none of them did – Pump Up the Jam!

Desperados (2020)
A wild romcom involving drunken emails and Mexican prisons sounds like just the right place to insert a little Pump Up the Jam.

Around the World in 80 Days (2021)
An animated take on the classic Jules Verne novel featuring anthropomorphic leads may not sound like a snuggly fit for Technotronic’s DOOF treat, but it is (apparently – we missed this one.)

Check out our other Soundtrack Staples here.