Unbelievable (EMF song)

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Single by EMF
from the album Schubert Dip
B-side "EMF (live at The Bilson)"
Released 3 November 1990 (UK)
14 May 1991 (US)
Format CD, 7", 12", cassette
Recorded 1990
Genre Alternative dance
Length 3:30
Label Parlophone (UK)
Writer(s) EMF
EMF singles chronology
"I Believe"

"Unbelievable" is a song written and recorded by Gloucestershire indie/alternative dance band EMF, originally appearing on their debut album Schubert Dip. It was released as a single in the UK in 1990, peaking in the UK Singles Chart at number three on 1 December 1990. It was the 32nd best-selling single of 1990 in the UK. In the United States, it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 20 July 1991; if one counts a No. 1 twice if it had two runs at the top (analogous to the official system of numbering U.S. presidents), it was the 1,000th No. 1 in Billboard history.

Content of the song

The song contains samples of US comedian Andrew Dice Clay throughout the track, including the loud exclamation of "oh!" at the start of each chorus along with the words "it's unbelievable" spoken during the bridge. The track was produced by Ralph Jezzard.

Furthermore, in the UK (where the band hailed from), the B-side of the single was a track called "EMF" which included the refrain: "E! Ecstasy! M! Motherfucker, motherfucker! F! From us to you...."

"Unbelievable" also samples the word "One" that comes in the refrain "Ya Kid K is the one", from the song "Spin That Wheel" by Euro-Dance act Hi-Tek 3 featuring Ya Kid K. Hi-Tek 3 is a side project from the successful dance act Technotronic.

Track listings

UK CD (CDR 6273)
  1. "Unbelievable" – 3:30
  2. "Unbelievable (The Cin City Sex Mix)" – 5:14
  3. "EMF (live at The Bilson)" – 3:53
UK 7" (R 6273)
  1. "Unbelievable" – 3:30
  2. "EMF (live at The Bilson)" – 3:53
US CD (E2-56210)
  1. "Unbelievable (single version)" – 3:30
  2. "Unbelievable (Cin City Sex Mix)" – 5:14
  3. "Unbelievable (Boot Lane Mix)" – 6:20
  4. "Unbelievable (House Mix)" – 4:26
  5. "Unbelievable (Hip Hop Mix)" – 4:10
  6. "EMF (live at The Bilson)" – 3:53


Peak positions

Chart (1990-1991) Peak
Australia (ARIA)1 8
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)2 20
Belgium Singles Chart3 4
Canada RPM Top 10 Dance4 3
Canadian RPM Top Singles5 4
Germany (Media Control AG)6 9
Ireland (IRMA)7 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)8 6
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)9 12
Norway (VG-lista)10 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)11 9
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)12 3
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)13 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 10014 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play14 9
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales14 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks14 3
End of year chart (1991) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 10015 6

Cover versions

"Unbelievable" has been covered by many other musical acts, including Tom Jones16 and "Weird Al" Yankovic (briefly in the polka medley "Polka Your Eyes Out"). It was also covered by Shakira in her The Sun Comes Out Tour, the Christian rock band Thousand Foot Krutch on their debut album Set It Off, but with markedly different lyrics. American grindcore band Anal Cunt covered "Unbelievable" on their Morbid Florist EP in 1993, and by Ashley Amphlett and the Metroheads. Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1991 album The Chipmunks Rock the House. German pop rock band The BossHoss recorded a country style version for their album Internashville Urban Hymns. Filipino rock band Chicosci also covered the song for the compilation 90's Music Comes Alive.

Spin Magazine recommended a cover version of this song by an artist known as Femme Fatality in its November 2006 issue.

An altered version of the song, with the refrain "They're Crumbelievable", was used in a 2005 US television advertisement for Kraft Crumbles.17

Another altered version of the song, with the refrain "They're Twin-believable" was used during the Minnesota Twins 1991 championship drive and eventual World Series victory.

Shakira performed its chorus in her 2010-2011 tour as an interlude during "Whenever, Wherever".

British hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks sampled the guitar riff in their 2013 song "Skip to the Good Bit" on the album Roaring 20s.


Due to the amount of air time that "Unbelievable" has received since its release, it may be responsible for the most profanity ever heard over radio. The constant background vocal during the chorus saying "What the fuck was that?" which even appears in the lyrics in the CD booklet, was never edited. This is possibly because the background vocal appears incoherently, and most people dismiss it as undecipherable lyrics.citation needed The song has also been used unedited in pre-watershed television adverts.

It was ranked No. 31 on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders in 2002 and No. 98 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s in 2007.

Miscellaneous uses

Preceded by
"Rush Rush" by Paula Abdul
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
20 July 1991
Succeeded by
"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams


External links

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