Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers were a 1980s and early 1990s novelty pop music act from Rotherham, Yorkshire, UK. The face of the group was Jive Bunny himself, a cartoon rabbit who appeared in the videos, and also (as a human being in a costume) did promotional appearances for them. Doncaster DJ and producer Les Hemstock created and mixed the J.Bunny concept for father and son team John and Andrew Pickles. Ian Morgan a fellow DJ and producer also engineered and mixed the first albums. Ian was replaced in the early 90's with DJ & Producer Mark "The Hitman" Smith.
They are the third artist ever to have their first three releases go to number one on the UK Singles Chart, a feat they achieved between July and December 1989. The previous bands to do so were Gerry & the Pacemakers and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. They also went to number one in several other countries around the world.
Jive Bunny's three number ones were "Swing the Mood", "That's What I Like" and "Let's Party". All three songs used sampling and synthesisers to combine pop music from the early rock and roll era together into a medley. The results were somewhat like Jaap Eggermont's Stars on 45, although he had hired "sound-alike" singers and musicians to recreate the music from scratch.
Each song used a sampled instrumental theme to join the old songs together, in much the same way as dance music megamixes. "Swing the Mood" began with Glenn Miller's famous "In the Mood" (a recording dating back to 1939), followed immediately by rhythmic re-editing of Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie". "Swing the Mood" was #1 for five weeks on the UK singles chart in 1989, and quickly caught on in the United States, where it reached #11 on the Billboard Charts.
"That's What I Like" featured the theme music from the television police drama Hawaii Five-O, with overlaid excerpts from rock hits like Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Ernie Maresca's "Shout, Shout (Knock Yourself Out)". "Let's Party" (released originally in the U.S. as "March of the Mods") used "March of the Mods" (also known as the Finnjenka Dance), interpolating Del Shannon's "Runaway" and The Wrens' "Come Back My Love" among others.
The original European medleys featured the original recordings by the original artists. Legalities prevented certain of the original recordings to be reused in America, so the American Jive Bunny releases substituted later re-recordings of the same tunes by Bill Haley, Del Shannon and others.
The original idea for the project came from Les Hemstock on the DJ-only Mastermix DJ service. John Pickles (Father of Andy) was strictly speaking never in the band, but the owner of the label and effectively the manager.
Les Hemstock later became a trance DJ working with the likes of Paul Van Dyk. Andy Pickles went on to found hard house record label Tidy Trax with fellow DJ Amadeus Mozart. Ian Morgan became a successful club DJ & Mark "The Hitman" Smith later worked in the industry as a label manager and producer.