Original 'Pokemon' Soundtrack Performers on the Charts: Vicki Sue Robinson, D Train & More
The 1999 soundtrack to the original 'Pokemon' TV series has its share of known artists, even though all tracks are billed as being by "Pokemon."
Pokemon hasn't just zoomed into the zeitgeist thanks to the new virtual reality app Pokemon Go. Pikachu and co. are also back on the Billboard charts, as the "Pokemon Theme" leaps to No. 4 on the Kid Digital Songs chart (dated July 30) with 7,000 downloads sold in the tracking week ending July 14, according to Nielsen Music.
This isn't the first time that Pokemon-related music has made the charts. The franchise's history dates all the way back to the original Pokemon: 2.B.A. Master – Music from the Hit TV Series soundtrack, which was released in 1999 and reached No. 90 on the Billboard 200 that September. The 13-song album, produced by John Loeffler, features a selection of musicians and writers, many of whom made their first Billboard chart appearances via the set, including Jason Paige, the performer of the theme song that continues to resonate with listeners nearly two decades later.
However, it wasn't the first chart adventure for a few of the soundtrack's contributors. You wouldn't know it by looking at the Pokemon: 2.B.A. Master track list, since all cuts are credited to "Pokemon" as the artist, but the set includes a number of artists with impressive chart histories, mostly on dance rankings.
The Brooklyn-born singer lent his vocal to the "Pokerap," the fan-favorite track that often ended episodes of the first season of the franchise's TV show. Born James Williams, D Train sings the track's non-rapped hook (Babi Floyd provided the rap). D Train chugged to No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart for three weeks in 1982 with "You're the One for Me," which also hit No. 13 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
In a history spanning three years, D Train also charted an album on the Billboard 200, his self-titled release, which peaked at No. 128 in 1982; he climbed to No. 2 on Dance Club Songs with "Keep On/You're the One for Me" in 1982; and he hit No. 5 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 1984 with "Something's on Your Mind," also his lone Billboard Hot 100 entry (peaking at No. 79).
Known under her stage name Amuka, Brody contributed "Everything Changes." Following her Pokemon appearance, Amuka reached the top 10 of the Dance Club Songs chart four times, even snagging a No. 1 with "I Want More (Cling On to Me)" in May 2006.
Vicki Sue Robinson
Then, there's the song simply titled "Pokemon (Dance Mix)," which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like from the title alone (even though there isn't a non-dance mix version of the song on the soundtrack). The singer? Vicki Sue Robinson, perhaps best known as the original performer of "Turn the Beat Around," which Gloria Estefan later returned to renewed prominence in 1994 (hitting No. 13 on the Hot 100). Robinson's 1976 disco version reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 on the Aug. 14, 1976-dated chart, marking the Harlem-born singer's only top 10. But like D Train, she found more success on the Dance Club Songs chart, scoring four top 10s, with "Beat" reigning for four weeks in 1976.
Robinson also tallied three titles on the Billboard 200, led by her 1976 self-titled record, which peaked at No. 45. Her final chart appearance was in 1999, with "Move On," which reached No. 18 on Dance Club Songs. The disco legend passed away in April 2000.