Crazy Frog is a character used in the marketing of a ring tone based on The Annoying Thing, a computer animation created by Erik Wernquist. Marketed by the ringtone provider Jamba!, the animation was originally created to accompany a sound effect produced by Daniel Malmedahl while attempting to imitate the sound of a two-stroke moped engine.
The Crazy Frog spawned a worldwide hit single with a remix of “Axel F”, which reached the number one spot in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe. The subsequent album Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits and second single “Popcorn” also enjoyed worldwide chart success, and the release of a second album entitled Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits was announced in 2006. The Crazy Frog has also spawned a range of merchandise and toys, and a video game, all of which were very popular for Christmas 2005. Negotiations are also underway for a TV series based on the character.
In early 2005, two members of the German Bass Bumpers dance music production team were commissioned to record a dance single based around the Crazy Frog ringtone. They produced “Axel F” (a remix of the 1980’s Harold Faltermeyer song), which was released on May 23, 2005 and became one of the most successful singles of the year 2005. “Axel F” debuted at number one in the UK, remaining there for three weeks and outselling the nearest contender Coldplay by three or four copies to one.The song was then knocked off the charts by rapper Tupac’s single ‘Ghetto Gospel’. Similar success took place in Australia and many parts of Europe, and the song remained on the charts for many months in various countries worldwide. However the song apparently failed to catch on as well in the US and Japan, where it reached #50 and #48 respectively. The “Axel F” music video was produced by Kaktus Film and Erik Wernquist, and centers on the pursuit of the Crazy Frog by a bounty hunter. He reprises his role as pursuer of the Crazy Frog in all subsequent videos.
Popcorn (a remix of the Hot Butter song) was released on August 22 and premiered with a choreographed cheerleader performance on Top of the Pops. It also reached #16 in Australia and Top 20 in much of Europe, in many cases while “Axel F” was still charting.
Riding on the popularity of these initial single releases, an album entitled Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits was released on July 25. It contained several Frog remixes of existing songs like “Pump Up the Jam” and the Pink Panther theme, as well as several original tracks such as “In the 80’s” and “Dirty Frog”. It reached #5 in the UK, #8 in Australia and topped the charts in New Zealand. Surprisingly the album performed much better in the US than the “Axel F” single, reaching #19.
A special Christmas edition of Crazy Hits with numerous holiday-themed bonus tracks was released in November, backed with a double A-side single release of “Jingle Bells/U Can’t Touch This”. The single peaked at #4 in Australia and #5 in the UK.
In May 2006 the Crazy Frog contributed two tracks to a British compilation album entitled Football Crazy released to coincide with the 2006 World Cup – “Ole Ole Ole (Do the Froggy Wave)” and “Na Na Na, Hey Hey”. A sophomore album entitled Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits was released in June 2006, continuing in the musical vein of the first release with Frog versions of songs such as “Ice Ice Baby”, “I Will Survive” and “I’m Too Sexy”. The first single release is “We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)”, again a World Cup-oriented track perhaps drawing inspiration from the earlier Football Crazy songs.