Toni Basilwas born as Antonia Christina Basilotta, on September 22, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Toni is an American singer, choreographer, actress, and video artist. Her father was an orchestra leader and her mother performed vaudeville acts. Toni began her career by releasing a single with the A&M Records label and it was called, Breakaway. Breakaway was the title song for the movie, Breakaway. She appeared on Saturday Night Live three times as a musical guest during the first season of the show, in 1975 and 1976. Toni did not release any more songs until 1982 with her international smash hit called, Mickey. The song was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Toni recorded the song in 1979 but was reluctant about releasing it. Her record company finally convinced her to release it in 1982, and it was a huge hit. Her music video of the song was one of the most popular music video’s on MTV at the time. Toni wore her cheerleader uniform from Las Vegas High School, where she graduated from. In 2003, VH1 rated the song as number 5 on their list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders.
Toni only recorded and released 2 albums in the 1980's and actually that was the total for her entire music career. She released 2 albums and 4 singles total so she was in the recording business for long. She has appeared in some movies such as, Easy Rider (as Mary, a brunette prostitute), Five Easy Pieces, Head, Village of the Giants, Rockula, and the 1987 movie, Slaughterhouse Rock. She has also been the choreographer for the movies, American Graffiti, The Rose, Legally Blonde, the whole Beach Party series, and the cult film of The Monkeys called, Head. She was also a dancer in the Daddy’s Song series.
The two albums that Toni released were, Word of Mouth (in 1982), and Toni Basil (released in 1983). Her Word of Mouth Album produced her second Hot 100 Single which was, Shoppin’ From A To Z. Her third Hot 100 was, Over My Head, and it came from her second album. There have been no more than 5 Toni Basil’s, Best of Collections, released on CD. In 1999, Jason Nevins did a dance re-mix of the song, Mickey, and it was a big hit in the night clubs in Australia and Europe.
Toni is a great choreographer and is sometimes credited for bringing street dance to prominence with the Urban Campbelllocking group called, The Lockers. She choreographed the marionette style dance of David Byrne from the music video for the Talking Heads’ song called, Once In A Lifetime. She worked with the Talking Heads on other projects and also with David Bowie and Bette Midler.
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