Taco Ockerse (born July 21, 1955), known mononymously as Taco, is an Indonesian-born Dutch singer and entertainer who started his career in Germany. In 1981, Taco signed his first record contract with Polydor in West Germany for two record releases, whereon he released his first single, “Puttin’ On the Ritz”, which in 1982 was issued by RCA Records for US release.
In 1982 Taco released a synth-pop cover version of “Puttin’ On the Ritz” as a single from his album After Eight, released on Polydor of Germany. The single was accompanied by a music video, the original version of which contains characters in blackface and has since been banned from many networks. An alternative version eliminates many shots of the blackface characters, though some remain.
The cover also musically references other Irving Berlin songs, such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, and “White Christmas”.
The single was a global hit, reaching No. 1 on Cashbox as well as No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Irving Berlin, then 95, the oldest ever living songwriter to have one of his compositions enter the top ten. It was certified Gold by the RIAA for selling over one million copies. It was Taco’s only hit in the United States. This version of the song was ranked No. 53 in VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s special.
The song topped the charts in Sweden and New Zealand, and it entered the Top 5 in numerous countries including Australia, Norway, Austria, and Canada