Todd Terje’s “Inspector Norse” owned underground dance floors this summer — it’s still Resident Advisor’s second most charted track of 2012 — and now the Norwegian producer looks like he’s becoming just as ubiquitous. Panda Bear featured Terje (aka Terje Olsen) in his Animal Collective Radio Transmission DJ set, netting him an entry in our Centipedia. Avicii availed himself of a strikingly “Norse”-like bass line for his single “Last Dance.” And Bryan Ferry twiddled knobs with Olsen in a studio session posted last week on Vimeo, prompting speculation as to a full-scale collaboration. Now, elevating Todd Terje to space-disco Zelig status, it turns out that Robbie Williams’ new single “Candy” is based on the Norwegian’s “Eurodans,” released in 2005 on the Full Pupp label.
Listeners familiar with “Eurodans” may recognize its jaunty bass line as the inspiration for a jovial saxophone riff that runs through “Candy,” the lead single for Williams’ forthcoming album, Take the Crown. Someone in the pop star’s camp must have realized that the similarity wouldn’t go unnoticed, because the British singer’s team contacted Olsen in late August, just two weeks before the single was to be released, according to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Olsen told Dagbladet that the fact that the single’s release was imminent gave him leverage to ask for double what Williams’ team was offering, and, while he hasn’t revealed how much he was paid for the rights, Olsen did get a songwriting credit alongside Williams and his former Take That bandmate Gary Barlow.
“Candy” is just the latest twist in the long, erratic journey that Olsen’s carefree classic has taken over the past eight years. “Eurodans” was originally to be released in 2004 on London’s Soul Jazz label, but after a handshake deal with the label soured, the record was quickly deleted and its pressing destroyed, leaving the remaining copies of the 12-inch in the hands of 50 or 60 lucky DJs. (Second-hand copies have traded for as much as $120.) The single was reissued the following year on Prins Thomas and Steve Kotey’s Full Pupp label, however, confirming Todd Terje as one of the disco revival’s rising stars, alongside Prins Thomas and Hans-Peter Lindstrøm. Berlin’s De:Bug called it “the anthem of the winter,” with “a few chords, a couple of bells, and a disco beat that’s so simple you can’t believe your ears.” Five years later, Munich’s Permanent Vacation label released a new recording of the song under Olsen’s New Mjøndalen Disco Swingers alias, with a jazzy, live-band arrangement that was more Raymond Scott than Giorgio Moroder. Earlier this year, “Eurodans” made an unexpected return to the blogosphere in the hands of Sweden’s Drop Out Orchestra, who mashed it up with Blondie’s “Call Me”. After Robbie Williams’ adaptation, can a Hanes commercial be far away? Clearly, the tune’s got legs.
To compare “Candy” and its inspiration, check out Robbie Williams’ new video below, alongside a real-life Eurodans set to Terje’s track, performed by a dude in a poncho and Christmas lights.