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Sunday, July 15, 2012

That's What Remixing Can Do - The Boy Krazy Story

I'll admit that when it comes to a lot of songs, I tend to like remixed versions slightly better than the original release.

You know what I mean by a remix, don't you? You take a song that was released a number of years ago, and you add things, or change the melody around to make it seemingly sound like a completely different song.

There have been thousands of examples of this in the history of music, and while there are some remixes that can be considered terrible (I'm looking at any of the remixes that have been done on any song by Moby in particular), there are a lot that I find to be fantastic.

The original version of Madonna's “Express Yourself”, which was produced by Stephen Bray was excellent, filled with brass horns, and was a throwback to 1970s soul music. But, I also found Shep Pettibone's remix to be just as unique, and just as powerful as the original. Remember when The Four Seasons scored a hit in 1975 with the song “December 1963 (Oh What A Night)”? The remixed version that was released almost 20 years later managed to stay on the Billboard charts for over a year! To me, there wasn't that much difference between the original version and the remix, but both versions were very good. And Kylie Minogue's 2002 smash “Love At First Sight” was made much more special when Ruff & Jam added their own spice to the song.

For today's Sunday Jukebox, in keeping with the theme of the remixes being better than the original song, we're going to talk about a song that was released twice, in two different formats. The first time around, the song barely made an impression in the charts at all (it peaked at #86 on the UK charts). But two years later, the song was remixed, and it ended up being a Top 20 hit for a group based out of New York City. Mind you, it ended up being their ONLY Top 20 hit, but nevertheless, it was a great feat. It was just another example of how a remix can make a song sound better, and more modern.

The story behind the band that released the song is quite an interesting one too. It stars a five-member girl group which later became a quartet, and their brief rise to stardom before breaking up.

This is the story of the short-lived girl group known as Boy Krazy.

The story begins back in 1991. Hundreds of young women auditioned at a management company in New York City to become one of five members of a brand new all-girl group. In the photograph above, you can see the five original members of the band that called themselves Boy Krazy. From left to right, the members of the band were Josselyne Jones, Kimberly Blake, Renee Veneziale, Johnna Lee Cummings, and Ruth Ann Roberts.

TRIVIA: Before joining Boy Krazy, Ruth Ann Roberts was a former Miss Junior America...and she was the youngest member of the band when it formed...her age at the time? A mere 15 years old. I'll have more trivia about her and the other members of the band a little later in the blog.

The band was signed to Next Plateau Records in New York City, and began recording songs with the successful British producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman. Their debut single was this one, released in the summer of 1991, and as some of you may discover upon hearing it, it may sound a bit familiar. Let's just watch the video and you'll get what I mean.

ARTIST: Boy Krazy
SONG: That's What Love Can Do
DATE RELEASED: July 15, 1991

I bet some of you have just listened to this song, and are thinking to yourselves “wait a minute, that's not the version I remember!”. Well, this is true. The song you heard was the original mix of the song, and as I explained earlier, it bombed. The thing is that it wasn't a bad song. If you really listen to the lyrics, it's actually quite catchy. I just think that for this particular song, the background music didn't quite fit the tone of the song. The song is basically about a woman who is breaking up with the man she is dating because he is seeing another woman on the side...and somehow, I don't think those lyrics quite work with backing music that sounds as if it should appear in a Disney princess film.

Nevertheless, Boy Krazy refused to give up, and they were determined to keep pressing on in their dream. But just before the band was to release their second single, “All You Have To Do”, Renee Veneziale announced her departure from the band. The band was now a quartet, and it was yet another blow to the already struggling girl group.

But then, a break happened in the most unusual way.

It was shortly before Christmas 1992, and somehow, “That's What Love Can Do” began to gain popularity in American discotheques and nightclubs. Around the same time, the song was subjected to a remix, and was first heard on KQKS, a radio station based out of Denver, Colorado. One of the staff members somehow got a copy of the song, started playing it, and it immediately took on a new life of its own. Some might even say that the remix saved the song from becoming a forgotten hit. And a month later, when the song's remix was officially released as a single in the United States, nobody knew just how big the song would get.

ARTIST: Boy Krazy
SONG: That's What Love Can Do (House Remix)
ALBUM: Boy Krazy
DATE RELEASED: January 19, 1993

All right, so #18 isn't exactly the best position to peak at. But, it still ended up being a huge hit during the spring of '93. That's way better than the position that it reached a year and a half earlier, which was...well...uncharted. Surprisingly enough, the remixed version still failed to make an impression in the UK, peaking at #80...but that's still six spots higher than it charted when it was originally released in 1991.

But, that was the Billboard Charts. What if I told you that the song ended up being a #1 hit in Pop airplay on the Radio & Records CHR/Pop Chart? I'd call that an impressive feat.

Sadly, this would end up being Boy Krazy's only song to reach a position so high. The band's third single, “Good Times With Bad Boys” barely cracked the Top 60 in 1993. And later on in the year, the band said goodbye to Johnna Lee Cummings, who performed most of the leading vocals for the songs off of their debut album, including “That's What Love Can Do”.

Now a trio, Josselyne, Kimberly, and Ruth Ann attempted to make a go of it, and attempted to record a follow-up album, but before any tracks could be recorded, the band finally split up in early 1994.

So, whatever happened to each of the members of the band Boy Krazy?

Well, Renee Veneziale, the first member of the band to leave, reportedly joined a few other bands after Boy Krazy before descending into the world of theatre. In addition to acting, she also reportedly works as a yoga teacher.

Ruth Ann Roberts ended up in a rather unusual position in her career. Deciding to go by the name of Rue DeBona professionally, she ended up as the co-host of After Burn, a television program produced by the WWE! She ended up marrying former wrestler and current WWE commentator Josh “Uncle Vernon” Mathews. How's that for a career shift?

Josselyne Jones got married, and has a daughter, and now goes under the name of Josselyne Herman-Saccio. She works as an agent and producer in New York City, and has since started up her own company, Josselyne Herman and Associates.

The story of Johnna Lee Cummings is one filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. After leaving Boy Krazy in 1993, she embarked on a solo career. She signed a record deal with Pete Waterman's company PWL in the mid-1990s, and started going by just Johnna for her professional name. In 1996, Johnna's debut album was released in the UK, “Pride”.

The songs themselves were a blend of techno and dance-pop, which back in 1996 had a following as similar artists such as the Quad City DJ's, La Bouche, and Gina G had hits on the charts. But Johnna struggled to make an impact. In the United States, her music was more or less unheard. In the UK, her music was slightly better received, but her highest charting solo single there only peaked at #43 on the charts there. Sadly, it appears as though Johnna's life, at least back in 2007, had gotten tough, as displayed in this short documentary filmed around that time. I don't know what's happened to Johnna since then, but hopefully she's doing better.

I was unable to find much information on Kimberly Blake...since Boy Krazy broke up, she has virtually disappeared from the public eye and the entertainment industry. If anyone has any information on where Kimberly ended up, do share. I really tried to find something to say about her, but I came up empty.

And that's the story of the band Boy Krazy. Although the band broke up almost 20 years ago, their biggest hit still remains a favourite of many...and to think that a remix helped transform the song into a Top 20 hit. I mean, it had to be a hit if a little known band named “Toutes Les Filles” covered the song back in 1999 (see above).

(Though I prefer the Boy Krazy version better.)


  1. I've just read this article and thanks to it I have seen the shocking documentary. Thanks a lot for this post. I guess I have never heard of Boy Krazy before, although PWL songs were the soundtrack of my childhood (well, not only, though). But now that I've read it, I managed to find some of their songs on YT and it's really a pity they didn't make it. Too late for S/A/W, too early for girlbands. Maybe some rediscovery will do them justice.

  2. It look as though Johnna lee Cummings has had more trouble with the law. See here, a DUI in 2016.
    I hope she gets the help she needs.

  3. We have had several clients who end up without the fame or money. Johnna never had guidance obviously, or someone would help her now when she really needs someone. This is actually not her fault, but the cycle sports/entertainment business. She could still recover and live healthy.