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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

"I Will Follow Him" : 40th anniversary of José's signature song

Dernière mise à jour : 25 mars

Photo edited by Marco Rens (José Hoebee Fan Page on Facebook)

Forty years ago precisely, on June 5th, 1982, José Hoebee's second solo single, "I Will Follow Him", entered the Dutch charts (Top 40 and Nationale Hitparade). The following week, the record reached the Flemish hit parades (BRT Top 30 and Ultratop). In July 1982, José's cover version of Little Peggy March's 1963 classic hit the number one spot in the Netherlands and Belgium. One year after Luv's first break-up, José proved that she could be successful on her own and was nicknamed the "Dutch cover queen". Let's celebrate the 40th anniversary of José's most iconic solo record.

Photo edited by Marco Rens


In early March 1981, Luv's management announced the group's break-up. In the summer of 1981, Marga Scheide, José Hoebee and Ria Thielsch took part in the Hitkrant's zomerspelen (a summer multi-sport event with celebrities sponsored by teen magazine Hitkrant) at the Efteling theme park. To the public's great surprise, Luv' made a farewell performance on July 22nd, 1981, on Veronica's TV show "Nederland Muziekland" by performing their so-called final single "Tingalingaling".

Luv' on July 14th, 1981, in the garden of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel

As the most talented member of Luv', José recorded most of the trio's vocal lines in the studio. So expectations were high when she went solo.

In late November 1981, CNR/Carrere Records released José's first solo single "I'm So Sorry". The song was written by Piet Souer and produced by Pim Koopman (member of the legendary pop-rock band Kayak and producer of sister duo Maywood). This debut record was not a mainstream success. On December 5th, 1981, the track entered the Tipparade (the Dutch Bubbling Under Top 40 chart) and later peaked at #3. It failed to break into the Dutch Top 40 but reached #39 on the Nationale Hitparade (currently Single Top 100).

For her follow-up record, José decided to cover a pop classic from the 1960s: "I Will Follow Him".

"I Will Follow Him" was originally a French tune entitled "Chariot" written by Frank Pourcel (as J.W. Stole) and Paul Mauriat (as Del Roma). It was first recorded by "Frank Pourcel et Son Grand Orchestre" and appeared as an instrumental piece on the 1961 French LP "Amour, danse et violons No. 17".

Chariot by Frank Pourcel et Son Grand Orchestre (1961)

Jacques Plante wrote French lyrics, and British vocalist Petula Clark recorded the track, which became very popular in France.

Chariot by Petula Clark (1962)

The song was later adapted in English by Arthur Altman and Norman Gimbel. 15-year old artist Little Peggy March performed it as "I Will Follow Him" and made it a world sensation when it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1963 in the USA.

I Will Follow Him by Peggy March (1963)

Nearly 20 years later, José covered it and let Pim Koopman produce it. The famous sister duo Maywood (whose greatest hits were produced by Koopman) did the backing vocals.

On May 7th, 1982, CNR/Carrere put out José's I Will Follow Him.

On May 15th, 1982, José sang her new single live for the first time on the NCRV/Hilversum 3's radio show "Los Vast". The program, hosted by Jan Rietman, was broadcast from Oldeberkoop, the Netherlands.

Photos by Jos Theuns:

José interviewed by Jan Rietman on Los Vast

José singing "I Will Follow Him" live on the "Los Vast" radio show

On May 20th, 1982, José took part in Hitkrant's zomerspelen at the Beekse Bergen amusement park in Hilvarenbeek, the Netherlands. Girl groups Dolly Dots, Babe and Risqué as well as Vanessa, Anita Meyer, Bonnie St. Claire and British pop group Guys 'n' Dolls were among the personalities who competed against each other.

Photos by Jos Theuns

José Hoebee and Margot van de Ven (of Babe) - Photo by René Koekkoek for Babe and José Hoebee's fan pages on Facebook

On May 22nd, 1982, "I Will Follow Him" entered the Tipparade at #27. On May 26th, 1982, the single premiered on television. José sang it on Veronica's TV show "Nederland Muziekland komt naar je toe".

On June 5th, 1982, José's track officially reached the main Dutch charts: Top 40 and Nationale Hitparade. Holland's most-read newspaper, De Telegraaf, mentioned it in its "Hit Score" section on June 2nd, 1982.

De Telegraaf - June 2nd, 1982: I Will Follow Him entering the Dutch singles charts

Click here to read the article online

I Will Follow Him - Music Video

Due to the track's dance-pop orchestration, Limburgsch dagblad chose the single as "tip of the week" in its "Top Tien Limburgse Discotheken" (Top 10 Limburgian discotheques) on June 4th, 1982.

Limburgsch dagblad - June 4th, 1982

Click here to read the article online

On June 11th, 1982, José sang "I Will Follow Him" on the Tobbedansen section of the TROS game show "Te land, ter zee en in de lucht" (hosted by Ron Brandsteder).

Press clippings:

The June 15th, 1982 edition of Algemeen Dagblad featured an article entitled "Moment of truth for José".

Algemeen Dagblad - June 15th, 1982

Click here to read the article online

The singer promoted her record on another top-rated TV show: AVRO's TopPop.

Leeuwarder courant - June 16th, 1982

De waarheid - June 17th, 1982

Click here to read the article online

Limburgsch dagblad - June 17th, 1982

Click here to read the article online

June 23rd, 1982 saw José's return on "Nederland Muziekland komt naar je toe" filmed during the garden festival Floriade 1982 in Amsterdam. The TV program was chaotic. The audience went wild. Fortunately, José and Dolly Dots were able to sing their songs. After their performance, the broadcast had to be interrupted.

Dinsdagblad - June 29th, 1982

José telling the chaotic broadcast of Nederland Muziekland

José on Nederland Muziekland

José was on the cover of the week Nr.26 issue of Hitkrant in late June 1982.

I Will Follow Him's exposure in the media paid off. On July 3rd, 1982, the single hit the number-one spot on the Dutch Top 40. Due to its chart-topper status in Holland, José won a Veronica Award in 1982. José's track spent one week at #1.

José was part of a prestigious list of artists (including John Lennon, George Michael, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross) who had #1 hit singles in the Netherlands as members of a group and as solo singers. This list appeared in the 1997 edition of "500 Nr. 1 Hits uit de Top 40", a book written by Johan van Slooten and published by Gottmer Becht Groep:

To celebrate I Will Follow Him's success, a party was held with the artist and her friends.

José, Maywood and Pim Koopman

Bonnie St. Claire and Maywood congratulating José on her #1 hit

José and her producer Pim Koopman

José and Marga Scheide in Hitkrant - July 1982

De Telegraaf - July 3rd, 1982

Click here to read the article online

From July 17th, 1982, I Will Follow Him stayed three weeks atop the Flemish charts (BRT Top 30 and Ultratop).

Photo edited by Marco Rens

José graced the cover of the July 1982 issue of Favoriet magazine.

José performed her song on the German TV show "WWF Club" which aired on October 1st, 1982. The single never charted in Goethe's country.

German promo card

WEA distributed José's record in Spain but it didn't enter the local charts. The artist's name was spelled Yozé in Cervantes' country.

Spanish presentation of "I Will Follow Him" by Yozé

In November 1982, Atoll Music/Barclay released "I Will Follow Him" for the French market.

French presentation of "I Will Follow Him" (Atoll Music/Barclay)

"I Will Follow Him" enjoyed a revival in the 1990s when a scene of US comedy "Sister Act" (starring Whoopi Goldberg) featured a funny cover. This version is currently trendy on TikTok.

Sister act (1992)

In 2005, Flemish producer Serge Ramaekers (who formed the New Beat group "Confetti's") remixed José's I Will Follow Him. The remix was included on the compilation "Alle hits & unieke bonustracks" and was a minor hit in early 2006.

On April 29th, 2010, José gave her biggest fan Jos Theuns a special gift: her legendary "I Will Follow Him" dress with white and pink stripes. Jos received this unique present as he visited the singer backstage at her concert with Anny Schilder in Vuren, the Netherlands.

José giving Jos her white and pink "I will Follow Him" dress (2010)

Photo by Jos Theuns and edited by Marco Rens

In 2011, a dream came true: José and Peggy March recorded a new version of their signature song as a duet. It was released as a bonus track on Peggy's album "Always and Forever" one year later.

Peggy March & José Hoebee - I Will Follow Him (2012)

In late 2016, a commercial for the Apple iPhone 7 featured Nigerian-born singer Toulouse performing a slowed-down and plaintive ballad version of this classic pop hit (renamed "I Will Follow You"). It created a sensation on the internet. Toulouse's cover version opened at No. 2 on Billboard and Clio’s monthly Top TV Commercials chart, on the strength of 95,000 Shazam tags, 26,000 downloads sold and 1.3 million U.S. streams tallied during October 2016. The single also appeared on two other Billboard charts, climbing to No. 6 on the R&B Digital Song Sales chart and No. 17 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart. On this occasion, Billboard magazine interviewed Peggy March about this phenomenon and posted an article on its website (even mentioning José!!!). Click here to read it.

Toulouse : I Will Follow You (2016)

Italian retail clothing company Diesel used We Are Albatross' cover of the song (also renamed "I Will Follow You") for its 2019 "Be A Follower" campaign.

I Will Follow You by We Are Albatross (Diesel commercial - 2019)

Commercial performance

"I Will Follow Him" by José spent 10 weeks on the Dutch Top 40 (from June 5th to August 7th, 1982) and reached #1 for one week on July 3rd, 1982. It stayed 11 weeks on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands (from June 5th to August 14th, 1982) and peaked at #2 for weeks (June 26th and July 3rd, 1982).

The single did also well in Flanders (Belgium): it spent 11 weeks on the BRT Top 30 (June 12th to August 21st, 1982) and 12 weeks on the Ultratop (June 12th to August 28th, 1982). It was a chart topper on both charts for three weeks, from July 17th to July 31st, 1982.

José's single eventually sold 100.000 copies in Benelux and peaked at #6 on the Europarade (a list combining the charts of ten European countries).

I Will Follow Him (2005 version) reached #90 on the Dutch Single Top 100 on February 18th, 2006 and was present on this chart for one week.

TV appearances

* May 26th, 1982: Nederland Muziekland komt naar je toe (Veronica, Netherlands)

* June 11th, 1982: Te land, ter zee en in de lucht/Tobbedansen (TROS, Netherlands)

* June 17th, 1982: AVRO's TopPop (Netherlands)

* June 23rd, 1982: Nederland Muziekland komt naar je toe (Veronica, Netherlands)

* October 1st, 1982: WWF Club (WWF, Germany)

* December 26th, 1982: Veronica Awards (Veronica, Netherlands)

* January 2nd, 1983: Top '82 (Veronica, Netherlands)

* March 15th, 1985: I Love You and I Will Follow Him on Klassewerk (KRO, Netherlands)

* April 11th, 2003: I Will Follow Him (Live) on Het Gevoel van 1982 (KRO/Nederland 2, Netherlands)

* Unknown broadcast date in the Autumn 2004: Tijd Voor Muziek (VSM TV, Netherlands)

* March 16th, 2011: interview with José Hoebee and Peggy March about their duet "I Will Follow Him" on KoffieMAX (MAX/Nederland 1, Netherlands)

* March 16th, 2011: interview with José Hoebee and Peggy March on Shownieuws (SBS 6, Netherlands)

* July 3rd, 2011: Brabant Toppers (Brabant 10, Netherlands)

* Unknown broadcast date in 2014: Noheyo and I Will Follow Him on Limburgs Zomerhit Festival (TVEllef, Netherlands)

* September 20th and October 4th, 2014: Noheyo and I Will Follow Him on Toppers van Oranje (Oranje TV, Netherlands)

Tracklisting & release

I Will Follow Him

7" vinyl single (45 rpm) - original release by CNR/Carrere Records in May 1982

Original Dutch front cover of "I Will Follow Him"

  • A side: I Will Follow Him (Altman, Del Roma, Stole, Plante, Gimbel) - 3:01

  • B side: If I Could Be Near You (P. Koopman) - 3:02


José: lead vocals

Caren & Alice (Maywood): backing vocals

All instruments played by Pim Koopman

Recorded and mixed at DMC studios, Baarn and Soundpush studios, Blaricum

Produced and arranged by Pim Koopman

Engineered by John Smit and Jan Schuurman

Instruments supplied by HVK Music

Design – Myosotis

Management – Interlinde Management

Photography: Govert de Roos

Clothing: Sfinx Hilversum Amsterdam

CNR/Carrere released José's rendition of "I Will Follow Him" as a single in Benelux, Portugal and German-speaking countries and licensed it to various labels in Europe: Barclay Records in France (where the singer was strangely credited as "José José"), WEA in Spain and Epic in the UK.

Click here for details about the release of "I Will Follow Him".

"I Will Follow Him" was included on José's first album "The Good Times" (released in November 1982). It also appeared on the compilation "Alle Hits & Unieke Bonustracks" in 2005.

German edition of "I Will Follow Him" (CNR)

Spanish edition (WEA)

French edition (Barclay)

UK edition (Epic)


Books by Johan van Slooten published by Gottmer Becht Groep:

  • 500 Nr. 1 Hits uit de Top 40, 1997

  • Top 40 Hitdossier 1956-2005 (9e editie), 2006

  • 50 Jaar nummer-1-hits 1956-2006, 2006

Source: Luv' and José weblog archives, Facebook (José Hoebee Fan Page (Marco Rens) - José Hoebee Mijn Idool - Jos Theuns),, Dutch Rock Pop Institute,,, YouTube

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