Blog Archives

FlinterFile: Stock, Aitken and Waterman- Roadblock

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In the eighties, a very important producer trio was Stock Aitken and Waterman. Read the rest of this entry

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FlinterFile: Mel & Kim- Respectable

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In 1987, Stock, Aitken and Waterman had their first number 1 hit (UK) they composed and produced together. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Diana Ross- Chain Reaction

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In 1985, Diana Ross released her ‘disco’ album Eaten Alive, with some songs written by the BeeGees.  Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Linda Lewis- Class/Style

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In 1984, Linda Lewis released her disco record Class/Style (I’ve Got It). As a small girl, she performed with her father, which led to her first small roles. She played in the movie A Hard Day’s Night. In the seventies, she released several songs, and sung in the background for artists like David Bowie and Cat Stevens. The albums she made in the seventies selled the best, but this disco song only was a minor hit in the Netherlands. Enjoy

Linda Lewis- Class/Style (I’ve Got It)

FlinterFile: Dayton- The Sound Of Music

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In 1983, Dayton had its biggest hit in the UK. The band was formed in 1980 by a member of Sun and a member of Over Night Low. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Gwen McCrae- Keep The Fire Burning

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In 1982, Gwen McCrae had one of her disco hits in Europe. She was the wife of George McCrae, who had a big hit with Rock Your Baby. Read the rest of this entry

Is Uptown Funk plagiarism and what else was ‘stolen’ (borrowed!) in disco

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This week the message came that Uptown Funk would be plagiarism. The Sequence, a rap group from the eighties (with no hits on their name) claimed the song would be quite like their song Funk You Up. I think the simularities are very very very little, but there are several cases where it is more obvious. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: S’Express- Theme From S’Express

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In 1989, the S’Express made their way out of the station, ready to ride! In the US number 91, in the UK number 1… The man behind the hit was a DJ, Mark Moore. He had the idea to make an eighties disco record. So what do you do? Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Heatwave- Boogie Nights

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In 1977, Heatwave had their first hit. This song was their debut single, written by Rod Temperton, who later wrote hits like Thriller and Rock With You. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Gino Vannelli- People Gotta Move

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In 1974, Gino Vannelli connected black and white with one song. The italian Canadian was discovering the disco sound with his brother, looking for synthesizers and new recording methods. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Earth, Wind & Fire- Boogie Wonderland

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In 1979, Earth Wind & Fire had a hit with a song they nearly passed on to another group. The song, written by Jon Lind and Allee Willis, was the counterpart of all the boogie-disco songs that were produced. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: The Ritchie Family- The Best Disco In Town

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In 1976, soul changed into disco. Ritchie Rome, a producer, was helping the Philadelphia music scene to change to disco. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: The O’Jays- Back Stabbers

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In 1972, the O’Jays had their first hit. The song was written by Gene McFadden and John Whitehead (known for their hit Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now), helped by Leon Huff. The song was mainly inspired by problems John Whitehead had with family and friends. Huff played the piano, and arranged the orchestra, which had to fill up an empty space, as the stereo sound was becoming more common. Huff produced the song with Kenny Gamble, who owned the Philidelphia Label. The song became a hit: number 14 in the UK and number 3 in the US. Enjoy

The O’Jays- Back Stabbers

FlinterFile: Disco-Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes- Get Dancin’

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In 1974, a hairdresser made his way to the charts. Sir Monti Rock III, who was named Joseph Montanez when he was born, He was a regular on the show of Johnny Carson in the sixties, and had his first hit with this song. The next song, also disco, featured Jocelyn Brown as a background singer. This song was written by Bob Crewe, a former Four Seasons member and later the man who wrote Lady Marmalade among other songs. Get Dancin’ was a number 10 hit in the US and even number 8 in the UK. Enjoy

Disco-Tex & the Sex-O-Lettes – Get Dancin’

FlinterFile: Shalamar- I Can Make You Feel Good

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In 1982, Shalamar had one of the biggest disco hits in their career. The group started as some studio musicians, working together. The core of the group was formed by two background dancers in the show Soultrain. The group was mostly popular in the UK, as they had only one big hit in the US (The Second Time Around). They were trend setters and were the first to show the moonwalk (Michael Jackson was a big fan of Shalamar and later made the moonwalk famous). With this song, they had a number 7 hit in the UK. Enjoy

Shalamar- I Can Make You Feel Good

FlinterFile: Ben Liebrand- Dancer

Liebrand-Dancer

In 2015, Ben Liebrand released his new album Iconic Groove, 25 years after his first album, Styles. One of the iconic grooves that is on the album, is the groove of the song Dancer. The song was originally played by Gino Soccio, who started his career in the disco playing keyboards on an album for producer Pat Deserio. For Soccio, it was the only hit (number 1 in the US disco chart) before disappearing in 1982. That’s one of the reasons Ben Liebrand also made a Where’s Gino Soccio mix of the song. Enjoy

Ben Liebrand- Dancer

FlinterFile: The Whispers- And The Beat Goes On

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In 1980, The Whispers scored their first hit. Though they formed in 1964 (!), they had to wait a long time for their first hit. With a positive look on a broken relationship, they knew to get into the discos. Leon F. Sylvers III had written the song, and was said the Whispers should record the song. They knew right away they could make it a hit, but Sylvers had little hope it would succeed. However, it would be a big hit (like the Shalamar hits he produced), with a number 19 position in the US and even number 2 in the UK. Enjoy

The Whispers- And The Beat Goes On

FlinterFile: Isley Brothers- That Lady

isley brothers that lady

In 1973, the Isley Brothers reworked an old song to a disco song. The song Who’s That Lady, from 1966, was a cha-cha/bossa nova song. Ernie Isley saw the song as finished, but his brother Roland did not think so: The tempo, melody and lyrics changed and Ernie his guitar work became more prominent. He learned to play the guitar by paying close attention to Jimi Hendrix. The song became a number 14 hit in the UK and number 6 in the US. Enjoy

The Isley Brothers- That Lady

FlinterFile: Arthur Baker & the Backbeat Disciples- The Message Is Love

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In 1989, Arthur Baker released a remix of The Message Is Love. Al Green recorded it, after having a big hit with Put A Little Love In Your Heart (1988). Arthur Baker, who worked with artists like Afrika Bambaataa and New Order, remixed his song. The result was a number 38 hit in the UK, though it was a bigger hit in other parts of Europe, resulting in a number 4 hit in Austria, number 6 in Germany and number 12 in the Netherlands. Enjoy

Arthur Baker & the Backbeat Disciples (featuring Al Green)- The Message Is Love.

FlinterFile: The Rah Band- Clouds Across The Moon

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In 1985, the RAH band released a successful song. Or rather I should say: Richard Anthony Hewson released a successful song, since the RAH band had one member: Richard Anthony Hewson. Hewson, who was a successful producer for The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Chris Rea, Supertramp, Art Garfunkel and many, many others, invented the RAH band in 1977, when he wanted to release a song by himself. This was an instrumental hit, and the second hit, Clouds Across the Moon, was sung by his wife, Liz, and charted at number 6 in the UK. Enjoy

The RAH Band- Clouds Across The Moon

FlinterFile: Hot Blood- Soul Dracula

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In 1977, a some studio musicians got together under the name Hot Blood. Probably the one behind the group was the arranger behind Boney M., Stefan Klinkhammer. The studio musicians played the track, but are not to be found in the credits… well, what you’ve got in this song, is everything you would expect when saying the name Dracula: a vampire, laughs, and it is a surprisingly good disco song, too… it never made the charts in the US, but in the UK, it was a number 32 hit… in Japan, the single sold more than 400 000 times. Well, enjoy

Hot Blood- Soul Dracula

FlinterFile: Dan Hartman- Relight My Fire

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In 1979, Dan Hartman released the floorfiller Relight My Fire. The song, released as the follow-up of the hit Instant Replay, became a favourite among DJ’s in discotheques. With the 12 inch (which has a four minute intro called Vertigo), it was one of the records that always did a good job at party’s and discos. The music of the song was played by MFSB, the refrain (strong enough to walk on through the night) was sung by Loleatta Holloway, and Dan Hartman singing the rest made it a number 1 hit in the US dance chart. In the UK, it did not chart, until Take That recorded their version, which became number 1… Enjoy the original

Dan Hartman- Vertigo/Relight My Fire

FlinterFile: Vicki Sue Robinson- Turn The Beat Around

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In 1976, Vicki Sue Robinson released her only hit. Before recording the song, she performed on Broadway. She started in Hair, and later she performed in Jesus Christ Superstar. She also sung background vocals in Fame and sung for several commercials. This song was her only real hit, a disco song which was written by two keyboard session players. In the song, the music that is played is described, and the title, Turn The Beat Around, means to play a drum pattern again.  Gloria Gaynor later covered the song. The original charted at number 10 in the US. Enjoy

Vicki Sue Robinson- Turn The Beat Around

FlinterFile: Time Bandits- I’m Specialized In You

time bandits i'm specialized in you

In 1982, the Time Bandits, a Dutch electro-funk discogroup had their biggest hit. The group, with frontman Alides Hidding (later more on him), started with the song Live It Up. This was a minor success. When Hidding had a solo hit, there was interest in his group, with whom he released I’m Specialized In You. It made a number 2 hit in the Dutch charts. The single did not reach as far as other singles did, such as Endless Road, which also was a hit in Australia! Enjoy

Time Bandits- I’m Specialized In You

FlinterFile: Ian Dury & the Blockheads- Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

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In 1978, Ian Dury wrote a song about his disability. At the age of seven, Ian Dury had polio and was disformed for life, which meant he had to use a walking stick. The lyrics had been there for some years, but the music wouldn’t fit. Chas Jankel, his partner in songwriting, was trying a disco-like style. However, it would not work. With a drum part of Dury, he could carry on, and made a good bass riff and an impressive saxophone solo (actually two saxophones being played at the same time by the same person). He then phoned home that he had written his first number 1 hit, which was right: the song hit number 1 in the UK! Enjoy

Ian Dury & the Blockheads- Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

FlinterFile: Amanda Lear- Follow Me

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In 1978, Amanda Lear released one of her biggest hits. The song, written by Amanda Lear, is a part of a bigger story about the devil tempting a girl. This part is about seduction. The music is inspired by Kraftwerk, but also fits in the disco era. Later it would be covered in several versions, including a High-NRG version. The song became a hit, peaking at number 3 in Germany and the Netherlands, and was also in the top 10 of a lot of European countries. Enjoy

Amanda Lear- Follow Me

Song of the day: Sheila & the B. Devotion- Spacer

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In 1979, Sheila & the Black Devotion made the song they would be remembered for. Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, who both were in Chic, it would be one of their bigger hits. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were successful with the sound they made with Chic, and were asked to use their knowledge in the production of other artists, such as Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. Sheila & the Black Devotion were, till their co-operation, a group which did not have a lot of success. This changed with the single Spacer, which managed to get top 10 positions over the world, and a number 18 position in the UK. Later, the song would be sampled for Crying In The Discotheque by Alcazar. Enjoy

Sheila & the Black Devotion- Spacer

Song of the day: Luther Vandross- Never Too Much

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In 1981, Luther Vandross released Never Too Much, his solo debut. He first was a singer in advertisements and sung the backing vocals in several songs. Roberta Flack, who also had him as backing singer, said he should try to put up a solo career. With the demos of Sugar and Spice and Never Too Much, he went to Epic Records, which offered him a job. This was a number 1 in the R&B chart in the US, and also hit the UK chart on number 44, starting his career as solo singer. Enjoy

Luther Vandross- Never Too Much

Song of the day: M.F.S.B.- T.S.O.P.

mfsb-tsop-the-sound-of-philadelphia-philadelphia-international

In 1973, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who owned a record label in Philadelphia, wrote a new theme song of the tv-show Soul Train, where quite some of their artists performed their songs. It was an instrumental hit, with vocals from the Three Degrees, who were just added to the label. When it was recorded, Gamble & Huff felt they had a hit. The owner of the tv-show, however, wanted it to be renamed, as Soul Train was his trademark. It was a big mistake: the song became a number 1 hit in the US. Enjoy

MFSB- TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia)

Song of the day: Odyssey- Use It Up And Wear It Out

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In 1980, Odyssey had their first and only number 1 hit in the UK. Despite the fact they did not make it to the charts in the US (their home country), it would be the start of a list of charting singles in the UK. Their first hit there had been of three years earlier, making it to number 5. They were back on the disco scene! Enjoy

Odyssey- Use It Up And Wear It Out

Song of the day: B.B.&Q. Band- On The Beat

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In 1981, a businessman developed a studio concept, a group that would record some albums. The B. B. & Q. Band was formed by people from Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens, three parts of New York. Their first album, which carries the name of the group, had one of their few hits on it. It was number 41 in the UK and number 8 in the US black singles chart. Enjoy

The B. B. & Q. Band- On The Beat

Song of the day: Patsy Gallant- From New York To LA

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In 1977, the Canadian singer Patsy Gallant scored her only hit outside Canada. By that time, she had already recorded several records, in both French and English. This song originally was a French song from 1964, called Mon Pays C’est L’Hiver. The text was changed and it managed to get on the UK chart on number 6. Enjoy

Patsy Gallant- From New York To L.A.

Song of the day: ABC- The Look Of Love

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In 1982, ABC had their biggest hit in the UK. The song is split in four parts, with part one the best known (the album version), the second the instrumental version, the third part a remix and the fourth part an acoustic version. It was very popular in the discos, making it a number 1 hit in the US disco charts. In Canada it also was number 1, and in the UK it was a number 4 hit. Enjoy

ABC- The Look Of Love

Song of the day: The Real Thing- Can You Feel The Force

can you feel the force real thing

In 1979, the Real Thing released one of their disco hits. They started as a band playing soul covers of American hits, but this did not bring them success. After that, they toured with David Essex, playing before his show started. When Eddie Amoo joined them as a guitarist, their success started. Influenced by Star Wars, they made this song, which became a number 5 hit in the UK. Enjoy

The Real Thing- Can You Feel The Force?

Song of the day: Yarbrough & Peoples- Don’t Stop The Music

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In 1980, Yarbrough & Peoples made their debut. They brought the song to number 7 in the UK and number 19 in the US, and even number 1 in the US R&B chart. After the song left the charts, it became a favourite to sample in other songs. Artists who sampled the song were TLC, Puff Daddy and 2PAC. Enjoy this lovely disco hit

Yarbrough & Peoples- Don’t Stop The Music

Song of the day: Thelma Houston- Don’t Leave Me This Way

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In 1976, Thelma Houston released a cover of Don’t Leave Me This Way. The original song was recorded in 1975 by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes as an album track. However, it did reach the charts in the US, number 3 on the disco chart. Motown had thought of Diana Ross covering the song, but eventually gave it to Thelma Houston. It made it to number 1 in the US soul, club and normal chart. In the UK, it made it to number 13. In the eighties, the Communards also recorded the song, reaching number 1 in the UK. Enjoy

Thelma Houston- Don’t Leave Me This Way

Song of the day: Jimmy Bo Horne- Dance Across The Floor

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In 1978, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne recorded his biggest hit ever. The song was written by Harry Wayne Casey, better known from KC & the Sunshine Band. It made it to number 8 in the R&B chart in the US. His other disco singles didn’t do so good or completely flopped. This song, however, has survived till today! Enjoy

Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne- Dance Across The Floor

Song of the day: Tom Browne- Funkin’ For Jamaica

tombrowne funkin for jamaica

In 1980, Tom Browne brought us a memoir of New York, where he grew up. He thought about writing this song when he visited his parents at their home. The vocals were done by Toni Smith and Tom Browne played the saxophone. It would be a number 1 hit in the US R&B chart and a number 10 hit in the UK. Enjoyn this disco hit

Tom Browne- Funkin’ For Jamaica

Song of the day: Giorgio Moroder- Chase

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Giorgio Moroder was the man behind the success of Donna Summer, especially for composing the music for I Feel Love. Because of this success, Alan Parker asked Giorgio Moroder to compose music for his movie Midnight Express. Moroder did so and made the piece Chase, which is an electronic instrumental music piece. It would be a number 33 hit in the US, and later, in a remixed version, even a number 1 in the club chart. Enjoy

Giorgio Moroder- Chase

Song of the day: Ottawan- D.I.S.C.O.

disco ottawan

You can guess it already: it’s Saturday, so we’re going to dance with a nice disco hit! This song was made by a French group named Ottawan, and it was recorded and released in 1979. The song would make it to number 2 in the UK in the following year. The original song, first recorded, was made in French! So why name your song D.I.S.C.O.? Since the woman in the song is Delerious.Irresistable.Superficial.Complicated.Oh-oh-oh. Enjoy

Ottawan- D.I.S.C.O.

Song of the day: The Trammps- Shout

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In 1959, the Isley Brothers recorded a song called Shout. They wrote it as a response to a song by Jackie Wilson, namely Lonely Teardrops. It reached 47 in the US, but was already covered a lot. Johnny O’Keefe took a chance in Australia, Joey Dee & the Starlighters went to number 6 with it, Lulu took it to number 7 in the UK, the Shangri-Las made a cover, as well as the Kingsman and many others. Even the Beatles, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen did a version of it! And the Trammps used it in 1975 as one of their first disco hits! Enjoy

The Trammps- Shout

Song of the day: Karen Young- Hot Shot

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Saturday night: time to get dancing! This song is very good to do that, since it was the number 1 on the US hot club songs chart for two weeks! On the normal US chart, it would make it to number 67. It came from the album Hot Shot, which was released in 1978. Though it was the only hit by Karen Young, it would be remembered: Daft Punk sampled a part from the song in 1996 and Blondie made a cover in 1999. Karen Young died in 1991, but this song will always stay alive! Enjoy

Karen Young- Hot Shot

Song of the day: Frantique- Strut Your Funky Stuff

Frantique_Strut_your_funky_stuff

A completely forgotten disco group, I guess. I would have forgotten about them, too, if I didn’t just hear them on the radio. They released this song on their album Strut Your Funky Stuff in 1979. The song made it to number 10 in the UK, which would be the only hit Frantique ever had. Though they disappeared, this song still stands! Enjoy

Frantique- Strut Your Funky Stuff

Song of the day: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars- Uptown Funk!

uptown funk

A few weeks ago, Mark Ronson (famous from the remix of Valerie by Amy Winehouse) and Bruno Mars released their new single. The song is the single of Mark Ronson’s new album, which will be released next year. It was an instant hit: number 1 in the UK, number 3 in the US. The song sounds like the good disco from the seventies/eighties, and is very danceable! Enjoy and dance to

Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars- Uptown Funk

Song of the day: Loleatta Holloway- Love Sensation

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In the early eighties, disco was at his height. That’s the reason Loleatta has such a big smile: she had two hits in this time! One was Crash Goes Love, the other was the song of the day. The song was written and produced by Dan Hartman (Relight My Fire), who made a lot of records with this woman. It would be a number one hit on the dance chart, and it is said that this was an exchange: Holloway was allowed to sing on Relight My Fire, so he wrote the song. Dance and enjoy

Loleatta Holloway- Love Sensation

Song of the day: Van McCoy- The Hustle

van mccoy the hustle

Seventies and disco… they go perfectly together. Another example is this song from 1975, which would be a number one in the US and a number three in the UK. With over one million copies sold, it probably is one of the most popular disco songs. It all started in a nightclub in New York City, where the musical partner of Van McCoy saw patrons do the hustle. Van McCoy wrote the song and recorded it with quite some musicians. A few years later, in 1979, Van McCoy wanted to make a 12 inch single out of the song. He died before it was finished… enjoy

Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony- The Hustle

Song of the day: Amii Stewart- Knock On Wood

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A disco song which wasn’t a disco song when it was written. Not that it is strange, because quite some disco songs were no disco songs in their origin. Knock on Wood was written by Eddie Floyd in 1966, and recorded by its writer. It peaked at number 28 in the US. David Bowie then recorded the song, on a live album, in 1974, and made a single out of it. This would do number 10 in the UK. The biggest hit, however, would come in 1979, when Amii Stewart changed the music into disco, making it a number one hit in the US. Her version would be succeeded by several other covers, none of which were successful. Enjoy

Amii Stewart- Knock On Wood

Song of the day: Moments & Whatnauts- Girls

moments & watnaughts girls

Let’s dance tonight on a seventies pre-disco song! The song was made by two seperate bands, who occasionally worked together: the Moments and The Whatnauts. They recorded a song together, written by Harry Ray and Al Goodman (from the Moments). When they recorded the song, the original Moments were not existing anymore. Later, the band would be renamed to Ray, Goodman & Brown. The song would do number 6 in the UK, number 25 in the US soul chart and number one in the Netherlands. Enjoy

Moments & Whatnauts- Girls

Song of the day: Wild Cherry- Play That Funky Music

play that funky music

Disco at its best in the seventies! Of course it’s a funk song (note the title) and a good one too! Billboard put it on number 73 of the best songs ever, which is not bad for a dancing record. It was recorded in 1975 by the band Wild Cherry, when it was written by member Rob Parissi (the singer of the band). Guitarist was Bryan Bassett, and they invited four horn players to play the horns in the song! It would peak at number one in the US, and it would sell over 2 and a half million records in the US alone! It would make number 7 in the UK. Later, Vanilla Ice took the song, recorded it and paid Rob Parissi a half million dollars since he had forgotten to note him as the writer of the song. The B-side of that single, by the way, was Ice Ice Baby, which was also accused of copyright infringement, this time by Queen and David Bowie. Enjoy

Wild Cherry- Play That Funky Music

Song of the day: Patrick Cowley- Menergy

menergy patrick cowley

An eighties disco song today! And the text on the front is only partly true: it was a number one in the US disco/dance chart, and not in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Just like the other singles of Patrick Cowley, the song managed to get in the Top 10 of the disco chart, but did not enter the normal chart. The song was later released with the vocals of Sylvester. In the normal version, the song is great, but the best version still is the 12 inch, which lasts for nearly 9 minutes! Enjoy

Patrick Cowley- Menergy