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Cameo - Word Up (Sleep Train Pavilion, Concord, CA 2012)

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Word Up on Wikipedia
"Word Up!"
Single by Cameo
from the album Word Up!
B-side"Urban Warrior"
ReleasedMay 27, 1986
  • 7" single
  • 12" single
  • CD single
  • Funk[1]
  • R&B[2]
  • Atlanta Artists
  • Mercury
  • PolyGram
  • Larry Blackmon
  • Tomi Jenkins
Producer(s)Larry Blackmon
Cameo singles chronology

"Word Up!" is a funk and R&B song recorded by Cameo in 1986. Its frequent airing, on American dance and R&B radio, as well as its MTV music video (in which LeVar Burton appears as a police detective trying to arrest the band), helped the single become the band's best known hit.

From the album Word Up!, "Word Up!" was Cameo's first US Top 40 hit, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending three weeks at number 1 on the US R&B chart[3] and one week at number 1 on the US Hot Dance Singles chart. In the UK, it spent 10 weeks in the top 40, peaking at number 3 on September 21, 1986. The song was written by band members Larry Blackmon and Tomi Jenkins.

Besides being a commercial success, the track also earned critical acclaim from several publications. "Word Up!" won Cameo the Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single as well as the NME Award for Best Dance Record. Like the band's previous single "Single Life", "Word Up!" features a reference to the opening notes of Ennio Morricone's theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

"Word Up" was a colloquialism, popular in New York City and other US urban areas, that acted as an affirmation of what was said - a kind of a hipper "You Bet."

Blackmon said of the song: "It just sounded good, and it was before its time. You can play “Word Up” anyplace anywhere, and someone is going to be grooving and bobbing their head. Our sound was unique, as well. I haven’t heard another one like it, and we probably won’t hear another one like it in the future. It was that significant for us."[4]


  • 1 Chart performance
  • 2 Gun version
    • 2.1 Chart performance
  • 3 Mel B version
    • 3.1 Format and track listing
    • 3.2 Chart performance
  • 4 Korn version
    • 4.1 Background and release
    • 4.2 Music video
    • 4.3 In other media
    • 4.4 Chart performance
  • 5 Little Mix version
    • 5.1 Background and release
    • 5.2 Critical reception
    • 5.3 Music video
    • 5.4 Track listings
    • 5.5 Chart performance
    • 5.6 Release history
  • 6 Other cover versions
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Gun version

"Word Up!"
Single by Gun
from the album Swagger
ReleasedJuly 1, 1994
  • 12" single
  • CD single
Writer(s)Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins
Gun singles chronology

In the 1990s, "Word Up!" was first covered by Scottish hard rock band Gun,[20] whose version carried a harder, more rock-oriented sound, including a guitar solo. Taken from their album Swagger, it was released on July 1, 1994, and reached number 8 in the UK singles chart.[21] Two versions of the CD single were released in the UK, each carrying different cover art and different tracks.[22]

Gun's version of the song was featured on the soundtrack to 1996 film Barb Wire, and was also used in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation season one episode "Who Are You?". The Gun version was also featured on the 2011 series of British television show Dancing on Ice, when Vanilla Ice used it as background music for his dance in the first episode.

Mel B version

"Word Up!"
Single by Melanie G
from the album Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side"Sophisticated Lady"
ReleasedJune 28, 1999
  • 12"
  • CD
RecordedNovember 1998
  • Warner Bros.
  • Virgin
  • Blackmon
  • Jenkins
Melanie G singles chronology

"Word Up!" was later covered by Mel B of the Spice Girls (known as Melanie G at that time).[30] It was released on June 28, 1999. It peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart. The single was also on the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack and was later featured on the Japanese edition of her album Hot. "Word Up!" sold about 77,996 copies in the United Kingdom.

Format and track listing

  • Digital download EP[31]
  1. "Word Up" (Radio Edit) – 3:23
  2. "Sophisticated Lady" – 2:43
  3. "Word Up" (Tim's Dance Mix) – 5:31

Korn version

"Word Up!"
Word Up!.jpg
Single by Korn
from the album Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
ReleasedNovember 16, 2004
  • 7" single
  • 12" single
  • CD single
GenreAlternative metal
Writer(s)Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins
  • Jonathan Davis
  • Korn
  • Toby Wright
Korn singles chronology

"Word Up!" by American nu metal band Korn is a cover of the Cameo song.[35] Its musical arrangements are similar to that of the cover version by Gun, except it is played in a lower sounding 7 string guitar tuning instead of the standard E. "Word Up!" was the first track featured on Korn's 2004 retrospective album, Greatest Hits, Volume 1, and was one of three new tracks along with Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" that was exclusive to the album (the "Word Up!" CD single also featured a live performance of the latter).

Background and release

It was released as the album's first single in July 2004, and received heavy airplay on alternative radio at its time of release, peaking in the top 20 of both Billboard charts,[36] whilst making a respectable impression on the mainstream charts of other countries, including Australia (where it debuted at number 28),[37] and Germany (number 46).[38] It is the only Korn single to be sent out to Top 40 radio stations, notably receiving airplay on New York City's Z-100, the largest Top 40 station in the US. Lead singer Jonathan Davis has said of the band's decision to include the song on their greatest hits, "We've been doing 'Word Up!' for years as a sound-check song—not the full version, just messing around with the riff."[39]

Music video

The music video for the song, directed by Antti Jokinen, featured the band-members' faces digitally edited onto dogs in a club scene with women dancing topless.

In other media

The cover was featured in "Credit Where Credit's Due", an episode of the television series Veronica Mars.[40] The track is also featured in the video game Lego Rock Band.

Little Mix version

"Word Up!"
Little Mix Word Up.png
Single by Little Mix
ReleasedMarch 16, 2014 (2014-03-16)
  • CD single
  • digital download
  • Syco
  • Columbia
Writer(s)Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins
Little Mix singles chronology

British girl group Little Mix covered the song for Sport Relief 2014. It was released digitally on March 16, 2014, followed by a physical release the following day, which was only available to purchase from Sainsbury's.[46]

Background and release

Little Mix first announced the single on January 16, 2014, through their official Twitter.[46][47] The song was first played on BBC Radio 1 on January 20, 2014, during Nick Grimshaw's Breakfast show.[48]

The cover art of the single was revealed on January 24, 2014.[49]

Critical reception

The song received rather positive reviews with the Popjustice ranking it as third for the best version of the song and third for the best Sport Relief single and gave the song 7 out of 10 stars.[50] Kevin Kevinpod of DirectLyrics said that "[Little Mix's] harmonies are spot-on, and the whole record is pure fire." and that the song is a chance of the band getting a number one hit.[51] Its production was also likened to Janet Jackson's single "Black Cat."[52]

Music video

The shooting for the music video started in early February 2014. The band posted an exclusive picture from the video on February 25, 2014.[53] The video was first shown on the Chart Show TV on February 28, 2014[54] and was posted on Vevo on March 3, 2014.[55] It features celebrity cameos from Nick Grimshaw, Louie Spence, Louis Smith, Arlene Phillips, Melanie C and Chris Barrie.[56]

The video starts off with the band in a changing room of a gym. As they walk out of the changing room, Jade tries to pick up a barbell pretending that she cannot lift it but then she lifts it up and walks away carrying it. Perrie then walks along four women who are working out while Jade is on a stationary bicycle among three other women, following the instructions of a trainer. With the bicycle, Jade starts going forward with the rest following her at the back.

The scene then switches to a court with the band exercising and dancing the same time along with other people while singing the chorus of the song. Afterwards, Leigh-Anne is stood in front of some athletes with one using her as a barbell at the end of her part. Jesy continues with her part while dancing in front of two men working out on treadmills and fall off them after some time. During the chorus, the scene changes again to the court with the owner (Barrie, who had previously played a gym manager in BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire) of the gym seeing the girls and the rest dancing and runs upset out of his office. As he is going down to the court, he sees the athletes in the swimming pool shaping out the title of the song. When he reaches the court, he starts dancing with them.

Track listings

Digital download[57]
  1. "Word Up!" – 3:26
Digital remixes[58]
  1. "Word Up!" (The Alias Radio Edit) – 3:33
  2. "Word Up!" (Extended Mix) – 4:59
  3. "Word Up!" (Instrumental) – 3:05
CD single[59]
  1. "Word Up!" – 3:26
  2. "Word Up!" (The Alias Radio Edit) – 3:33
  3. "Word Up!" (Extended Mix) – 4:59
  4. "Word Up!" (Instrumental) – 3:05

Other cover versions

  • Country-soul singer Willis covered the song on her 2004 EP "Take You High".[69] Her version was featured on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation seventh season episode "Post Mortem".


  1. ^ Jonathan Buckley, Mark Ellingham (1996). Rough Guides Ltd, ed. Rock: The Rough Guide. ISBN 978-1858282015. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ""Word Up" was funk's last stand before it was completely swallowed up by hip-hop culture."
  2. ^ Roni Sarig (2007). Da Capo Press, ed. Third Coast: Outkast, Timbaland, and How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing. p. 100. ISBN 978-0306814303.  "With number-one R&B singles like 1984's "She's Strange" and 1986's "Word Up"—released on Cameo's Atlanta Artists label—the city found its first major urban act of the hip-hop era."
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 98. 
  4. ^ Leach, Robin (July 29, 2016). "Cameo frontman Larry Blackmon: 'Word Up' was music before its time". Retrieved October 16, 2016. 
  5. ^ bulion. "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". ARIA. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  7. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "Word Up – CAMEO". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved July 31, 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 8
  9. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 45, No. 13, December 20, 1986". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1986). "Billboard 15 November 1986". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2013.  Only results when searching "Word up"
  13. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1987". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
    47. Word up – Cameo [#6, 1986/87]
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Cameo – Word Up! search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  15. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  17. ^ " – Cameo – Word Up!". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  18. ^ "27, 1986/ Archive Chart: September 27, 1986" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d "Word Up! awards at Allmusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Gun (2) – Word Up at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b "9, 1994/ Archive Chart: July 9, 1994" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  22. ^ "Gun – Word Up CD 1". Matt's CD Singles. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  23. ^ " – Gun – Word Up" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  24. ^ "Word Up – GUN". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  25. ^ " – Gun – Word Up" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  26. ^ " – Gun – Word Up". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gun (1994) – Word Up search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  28. ^ " – Gun – Word Up" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  29. ^ " – Gun – Word Up". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  30. ^ "Melanie G* – Word Up at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Word Up – EP by Melanie G". iTunes. 
  32. ^ "Indice per Interprete: M". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  33. ^ " – Melanie G – Word Up" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  34. ^ "10, 1999/ Archive Chart: July 10, 1999" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  35. ^ "Korn – Word Up! at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b c "Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 awards at Allmusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  37. ^ a b " – Korn – Word Up!". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  38. ^ a b " – Korn – Word Up!". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  39. ^ [1][dead link]
  40. ^ "Credit Where Credit's Due". Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. n.d. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  41. ^ " – Korn – Word Up!" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  42. ^ " – Korn – Word Up!" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  43. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  44. ^ " – Korn – Word Up!". VG-lista. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  45. ^ " – Korn – Word Up!". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  46. ^ a b "Little Mix to release 2014 Sport Relief single 'Word Up'". Digital Spy. January 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  47. ^ Runcie, Charlotte. "Little Mix to cover Word Up as Sport Relief single". The Daily Tuelegraph. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Little Mix premiere Sport Relief single 'Word Up' – listen". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 21, 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  49. ^ Copsey, Robert. "Little Mix reveal Sport Relief single 'Word Up' artwork". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Little Mix – 'Word Up!'". Popjustice. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  51. ^ Kevinpod, Kevin. "New Music: Little Mix – "Word Up" [Full Audio + Review]". DirectLyrics. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  52. ^ "Renowned for Sound – Single Review: Little Mix – 'Word Up'". Lee, Andrew. Renowned for Sound. March 16, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  53. ^ "EXCLUSIVE pic from the video". Facebook. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  54. ^ Vinaixa, Josep. "Little Mix "Word Up!" (Video Premiere)". Ultimate Music. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  55. ^ Copsey, Robert. "Little Mix unveil star-studded video for Sport Relief single 'Word Up'". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  56. ^ "Little Mix Joined By Famous Faces In 'Word Up' Sport Relief Video". MTV. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Word Up! – Single". iTunes. March 14, 2014. 
  58. ^ "Word Up! (Remixes): Little Mix: MP3 Downloads". 
  59. ^ "Word Up! [CD single]: Music". 
  60. ^ " – Little Mix – Word Up!". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  61. ^ " – Little Mix – Word Up!" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  62. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201414 into search.
  63. ^ " – Little Mix – Word Up!". Tracklisten.
  64. ^ " – Little Mix – Word Up!" (in French). Les classement single.
  65. ^ "Chart Track: Week 12, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  66. ^ "Little Mix – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for Little Mix.
  67. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-03-29". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  68. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-03-29" UK Singles Chart.
  69. ^ "Willis – Take You High EP (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 

External links

  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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