This month is 30 years since House of Pain released their stone cold classic Jump Around. We’ve assembled five mega-fascinating facts about the song, which, in the words of bandmember Danny Boy, is “[his] generation’s Louie Louie” – and remains the ultimate party-time whipcrack.
The mystery squeal
We all know how it starts: with the bleating ‘horn fanfare’ intro sampled from Bob & Earl’s 1963 track Harlem Shuffle. But the origins of Jump Around’s most distinctive element – the squeal that punctuates the start of each bar, announcing another loop of the groggy circus rhythm – have been hotly debated.
The Roots’ Questlove insists it’s the shriek which opens Prince’s Gett Off. (Nevermind that that particular scream might not even be Prince, but possibly Rosie Gaines, keyboardist and backing vocalist for Prince’s then-band the New Power Generation.)
Here’s the exact point in Gett Off you can hear that scream.
Meanwhile, House Pain’s Everlast has said it’s actually a saxophone shriek from Junior Walker and the All Stars’ 1967 single Shoot Your Shot.
Here’s that one, which comes in literally just a few seconds into the track:
Some have theorised House of Pain deny it’s a Prince sample to avoid the considerable wallet-ache that would be royalties retroactively applied.
But what does DJ Muggs, the track’s songwriter, say? He swears on his Dinky Diary it isn’t Prince, and it isn’t Junior Walker. He just won’t say what it is.
Once you pop, Everlast will make you stop
The song has been used extensively in TV and film – we’ll get to that – but when it comes to licensing, there’s one thing Everlast cannot abide: the cartoon Pringles man rapping his rap. He told Spin in 2012 that his label “accidentally” (with major sarcasm quotes) allowed the chip juggernaut to use the track in its advertising.
Needless to say, that did not fly.
“I’d just checked into a hotel room on tour, and I was kicking back on the bed for a minute before soundcheck [watching TV],” the musician said. “I reached into the minibar and — I sh-t you not — grabbed a mini-can of Pringles, and started eating them. And I hear the intro… and I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’ It’s a commercial for Pringles. I wasn’t really mad yet, until the little guy… jumped off the can and started rapping my song. I think it ran like two weeks, and then I made them pull it. Then I saw that same commercial a month later, with some Spanish house music in it.”
Mrs. Doubtfire brought Jump Around to a new generation
Jump Around features in a ton of TV eps and movies, including Adam Sandler’s 1996 film Happy Gilmore, in a montage of Happy realising he’s got the goods to annihilate golfballs with one vicious swing.
But it’s perhaps most remembered from 1993 hit Mrs. Doubtfire, in which Robin Williams’ character Daniel Hillard – not yet transformed into the titular nanny – throws a giant birthday houseparty (with barnyard animals) while his wife is away.
It’s this soundtrack inclusion which butters Everlast’s toast. “I’m most glad it’s in Mrs. Doubtfire, because we just did six months on the road and I was shocked at how many young people were there [at shows],” he’s said. “They didn’t know our whole catalog, but Jump Around, for sure. A movie like that, which everybody plays for their kids at some point or another, it ingrains it in their minds.”
Pre-release fever pitch
The song was so catchy, it spread like hot honey on the strength of a promo; Everlast believes House of Pain hadn’t even officially released the track when he first witnessed its insane popularity.
“The first time I heard it in public, I was in New York at a club,” he’s said. “That record came on, and I swear to God, it couldn’t have been out. It was like, a promo. It seemed like everybody in that club knew the record. The floor was wobbling beneath your feet. Everybody was jumping like that. It was crazy.”
The “merry pranksters of hip hop”
House of Pain are, of course, three very white boys. So it made total sense for them to film Jump Around‘s clip at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City.
“The video really captured the innocence of House of Pain,” Danny Boy has said. “We just liked to go out, drink, fight… and have no regard. I tried to get up to the parade, [the] priest throws me out. I’m putting stickers on cops’ backs. We were the merry pranksters of hip hop. I think everybody’s got a Jump Around video that they’ve lived… but it doesn’t come on MTV.”
Re-live the joyous buffoonery below.