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The title may refer to the short staccato or sharp "popping" sound used, or to pop music and its being "corny", i.e., kitschy. The title is generally written as one word, although some single sleeves (such as the one illustrated) present it as two words, "Pop Corn".
In 1972, a re-recording of "Popcorn" by the band Hot Butter was a huge hit in many countries. The track has since been covered by a great number of artists.
In 1972, Stan Free, a fellow member of the First Moog Quartet, re-recorded "Popcorn" with his band Hot Butter.
This version of "Popcorn" became the second primarily electronic-based piece of music to reach the American popular music charts, three years after "The Minotaur" by Dick Hyman & His Electric Eclectics. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Easy Listening chart, and had even greater success in Australia, topping the charts for 8 weeks. It proved equally as popular in mainland Europe, spending several weeks at No. 1 in numerous European countries, including France (4 weeks at the top) and Switzerland (10 weeks), ultimately becoming the biggest-selling single of 1972 in both countries. (In the former, this version of "Popcorn" is the 131st best-selling single of all time, with sales of approximately 900,000 copies). "Popcorn" was also a No. 1 hit in Germany (3 weeks), the Netherlands (7 weeks) and Norway (9 weeks).
"Popcorn" was covered by Crazy Frog in 2005, and this remixed version was released on 22 August that year. Jamba! once again arranged the remix, and also marketed it as a ringtone. The song differs from the debut release "Axel F", as it does not contain the trademark "Crazy Frog sound" by Daniel Malmedahl.
The single was a hit in various countries, particularly in France, where it enjoyed its greatest success. Replacing Crazy Frog's own song "Axel F" at No. 1 on 24 September 2005, the track remained at the top spot for 7 weeks (with its best weekly sales of 71,777 copies in its second week). Being certified Diamond status just three months after its release by the SNEP, as of August 2014, this version of "Popcorn" is the 40th best-selling single of the 21st century in France, with 458,000 copies sold. The track also topped the charts in Belgium, New Zealand and Spain.
Animated using computer-generated imagery, the music video was produced by Kaktus Film and Erik Wernquist of TurboForce3D, where Crazy Frog is seen causing chaos at the underwater sea labs of the drones.
In 2018, as part of Record Store Day, a limited edition yellow vinyl 12" release of the song was released (with the artist name of Gershon Kingsley and the Moog), on the Charlemagne label with a catalog number of AF 45151.
"Pop Corn" (stereo) (2:23)
"The First Step (The Sea Of Tranquility)" (stereo) (2:11)
"Pop Corn" (mono) (2:23)
"The First Step (The Sea Of Tranquility)" (mono) (2:08)
Other cover versions
Other cover versions of the song have been recorded, some of which add lyrics (which have been added in at least six languages). Artists who reworked it and made a cover record include:
In 1988, M&H Band made an uptempo cover of "Popcorn" that has subsequently been misattributed to Kraftwerk. The M&H version is also sometimes misattributed to synthpop artist Jean Michel Jarre. There is also a version circulating on the internet that is claimed to have been made by avant-garde group The Residents even though it sounds vastly different from The Residents' usual experimental sound. This version is actually made by the hard house artists called The Rezidents, hence the confusion between the two. British electronic artist Richard D. James recorded a cover on his EP Joyrex J4 EP under the alias Caustic Window in 1992.