Laid Back

Laid Back

The term laid-back is often used to describe a person who has a mild and easy-going personality. It can also be used to describe a place or situation (i.e. a laid-back atmosphere) that is quiet, relaxed or casual.

Laid Back is a Danish group formed in Copenhagen by Tim Stahl (keyboards) and John Guldberg (guitar) in 1979. It is best known for its hits "Sunshine Reggae" and "White Horse" from 1982 and 1983 respectively. They were able to focus on their music and "White Horse" after they were fired from their day-job in a dispute over $100 with a drunken publisher, which led them to the climax of their art, "Sunshine Reggae."

Best known throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, their music incorporated elements of synth and funk.


In the early 1980s, Laid Back was known in its own country, Europe and South America, with the 1982 single "Sunshine Reggae" being one of its most successful. Though originally released as a B-side, its international standing was raised with the release of the 12-inch single "White Horse," (1983) a funk-influenced dance song with a memorable baseline that became popular in US dance clubs. The record was championed by none other than Prince. The record was later sampled by Monifah for her hit "Touch It" (US, #9).

"White Horse" was an anti-drug abuse themed track about people who were lured into the drug culture/lifestyle ("White Horse" was another word for heroin) that was commonplace in the 1980s, with its famous lyrics, "If you want to ride...don't ride the white horse", and, "If you want to be rich, you've got to be a bitch". The latter part of the track that used the word "bitch" was edited out when it was played on the radio in the 1980s, but can now be heard uncensored today.

In 1989, American rap act, 2 Live Crew heavily sampled "White Horse" for the single "Get the Fuck Out of My House".

For a number of years Laid Back was fairly quiet, but they resurfaced in 1989 with the catchy single "Bakerman," (featuring famous Danish singer Hanne Boel) a hit in most European countries (including #9 in Germany) and a minor success in the UK charts where it reached number 44 (1990). It received plenty of airplay because of its unusual video, directed by Lars von Trier, which had the band skydiving while "playing" its instruments. Its vocal remix with Shaun Baker reached #1 in Greenland in 2006.

Two greatest hits compilations followed in 1995 and 1999.

In 2002, the duo composed the soundtrack of feature film Flyvende Farmor, for which they were awarded a Robert, one of Denmark's top film awards.

Album Releases

  • 1981: Laid Back
  • 1983: Keep Smiling
  • 1985: Play It Straight
  • 1987: See You in the Lobby
  • 1990: Hole in the Sky
  • 1993: Why Is Everybody in Such a Hurry
  • 1998: Laidest Greatest
  • 1999: Unfinished Symphonies
  • 2004: Happy Dreamer

Audio sample

See also

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