Let’s play a game of stump YouTube.  A lot of people visit this site to view stupid pet tricks and stupid human tricks.  Well, there’s nothing wrong with that because YouTube was created to allow people to share their home videos.  We prefer to use this site as a giant listening booth, a central location to check out new and old music.  Sure, there are many sites that offer musical sound bites, but YouTube is relatively safe and free of spam.

Every quarter we compile a list of “rare” recordings and see if anyone has posted them on the popular site.  We want to focus on songs that came out before YouTube was established and especially before record companies phased out the commercial 12-inch vinyl single.  That’s because it requires a little more work to upload something that exists only on vinyl.

 


As you listen to our playlists below (press [►]), tell them Dance Radio Post sent you.

 

MTH 3 

Giorgio – Son of My Father 3:42 (1972)
Dunhill Records
moroder.net, geffen.com
U.S. pop:  No. 46
[]
[] Italian version
[Sale]

Most dance music fans know Giorgio Moroder as Donna Summer’s (see below) producer and the man behind Blondie’s “Call Me” and Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” and his own “Chase,” the fetching instrumental from “Midnight Express.”  What many people don’t know is that Moroder released five solo albums in the 1970s.  As one of the first synthesizer-based singles to hit the charts, it is remarkable that a song like “Son of My Father” did as well as it did.  But keep in mind top 40 radio was more open to new and different sounds back then.

Give U.S. radio credit for sticking with Moroder’s version even though a cover by Chicory Tip had just topped the U.K. charts a few weeks earlier.  In a battle of dueling singles, the version by Chicory (the group’s stateside name) entered the U.S. charts one week after Moroder and peaked at No. 91.  “Son” has become a sports anthem with football fans in Britain.

Donna Summer – Once Upon a Time… 69:21 (1978)
Casablanca Records
donnasummer.com, casablanca-music.com, moroder.net
U.S. albums:  No. 26
U.S. pop:  I Love You, No. 37; Rumour Has It, No. 53
U.S. club:  No. 1
[] Once Upon a Time 4:02
[] Fairy Tale High 4:25
[] Now I Need You/Working the Midnight Shift 6:09/5:07
[] Queen for a Day 5:59
[Sale] [MP3 Sale]

As one of dance music’s biggest stars, Donna Summer certainly needs no introduction.  So why include one of her albums here?  Well, among her first nine studio albums, this was one of two that failed to make the top 25 and produced only two minor pop hits.  Mainstream audiences may consider the double-platinum “Bad Girls” her signature album.  Yet for fans of electronic music, this double album is producer Giorgio Moroder’s (see above and below) magnum opus.  This is a concept album—a musical Cinderella story—that’s complete with reprising themes and interludes.  Ironically, it was recorded in only a few days, proving once again the best albums are made without fuss on a modest budget.

Most people don’t have a strong reaction to specific musical instruments.  The synthesizer is one of the few exceptions.  Some people find its sound cold and, well, synthetic.  The only instrument more polarizing is country music’s steel guitar.  Critics often talk about producer Phil Spector’s wall of sound; Moroder kind of created an electronic version of that with this album.  So it turns out Summer’s iconic “I Feel Love” from an earlier album was just an appetizer.  The synthesizer had come a long way since 1969’s “Switched-on Bach” (refer to MTH 2).

Cory Daye – Pow Wow/Green Light 7:14/6:10 (1979)
New York International Records
U.S. pop:  Pow Wow, No. 76
U.S. club:  No. 8
[] Pow Wow
[] Green Light
[Sale]

The former lead singer of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (“Whispering/Cherchez la Femme/Se Si Bon,” “I’ll Play the Fool”) embarked on a solo career and wowed the clubs with these two tracks from her debut album.

Giorgio – E=MC2 49:56 (1979)
Casablanca Records
moroder.net, casablanca-music.com
U.S. albums:  Did not chart
U.S. club:  No. 4
[] Baby Blue 4:53
[] What a Night 4:54
[] I Wanna Rock You 6:30
[Sale]

This album and 1977’s “From Here to Eternity” are Giorgio Moroder’s two biggest solo albums.  By the time he recorded “E=MC2,” Moroder had already produced several albums for Donna Summer (see above).  The interesting thing is he didn’t use his star vocalist as a guest on this album, something unimaginable in today’s synergy-obsessed music business.  When the Dance Music Hall of Fame (hybridlinks.com/dmhof) was established in New York in the mid-2000s, one of the first inductees was none other than Moroder, a well-deserved recognition since his work has inspired many artists.  So forget the Grannies—er—Grammys.

Adonis – We’re Rocking Down the House 6:30 (1986)
Trax Records
myspace.com/adonis303, traxhouse.com
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]
[Sale] [MP3 Sale]

If you heard this song on the radio or in the clubs back in the 1980s, then you must be a huge fan of house music.  For the rest of us, we heard the track that sampled Adonis five years later first.  In preparation for this issue of MTH, we listened to Chicago’s Adonis Smith for the first time in 2011.  And we agree with the criticism—probably true for everyone who was exposed to MI 7 (see below) first—that this record’s musical arrangement is surprisingly bland and underwhelming, not to mention very similar to New Edition (“Cool It Now,” “Candy Girl”) and others who preceded this record.  But there’s no denying the power of that vocal line.  If Casablanca Records is the dominant disco label of the 1970s, Trax Records is the house music label of the 1980s.

MI 7 – Rockin’ Down the House (1992)
Chill Music
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[] Original Mix
[] Chop Mix

This U.K. artist’s name (note the letter I) is perhaps a play on MI6, the British intelligence service.  In any event, the name is not M17 (as in M-Seventeen).  Thanks to the Internet, we can all read the label on the single, so let’s put an end to the confusion.  This breakbeat classic—sounding a little like early drum ‘n’ bass—is helped immeasurably by the Adonis (see above) sample.  With no time listed for each track on the various MI 7 singles, we can’t be sure what people uploaded on YouTube is exactly as advertised.

Apres-hunt

YouTube has passed our test again.  As wonderful as the Internet is, beware of misinformation and missing information.  Stay tuned for our next test in December.  We leave you with something extra….

Top 10 Club Artists of the 1980s

  1. Prince
  2. Madonna
  3. Janet Jackson
  4. Sylvester
  5. Aretha Franklin
  6. New Order
  7. Michael Jackson
  8. Pet Shop Boys
  9. Depeche Mode
  10. Evelyn King

Source:  Joel Whitburn’s Hot Dance/Disco, 1974-2003

Note that Record Research (recordresearch.com) has decided not to publish a second edition.  You all should try to convince the company to reconsider.

MTH 2

Walter Carlos – Switched-on Bach 40:13 (1969)
Columbia Records
wendycarlos.com, columbiarecords.com, sonymasterworks.com
U.S. albums:  No. 10
[■] Sinfonia to Cantata No. 29 3:20
[■] Two-Part Invention in D Minor 0:55
[■] Prelude & Fugue No. 2 2:43
[■] Brandenburg Concerto No. 3:  I – Allegro 6:35
[Sale]

Long before the U.K.’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra got listeners hooked on a medley of classical compositions over a steady dance beat in 1982 and before Walter Murphy gave Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony a disco arrangement in 1976, another German composer got electrified.  Classical musician Walter Carlos played a selection of Bach compositions on the Moog synthesizer.  Against all odds, this album went top 10 in the U.S. and sold half a million copies—it would sell another half a million by 1986—making it one of the best-selling classical recordings of all time.  But perhaps the most amazing feat was the fact that it received three Grammy nominations and won them all, including classical album of the year and best classical performance, instrumental soloist.  Note that Robert Moog won Grammys’ Trustees Award the same year.  Coincidence?

Like Regine in the premier issue of MTH, Carlos also has an interesting back story.  You’ll notice a discrepancy as soon as you try to look up this album.  After an operation in the early 1970s, Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos.  Hence all CD reissues of this groundbreaking record are credited to the new name.  So if you have a copy of the original vinyl album, it’s a collector’s item on many levels.  Three sequels of sorts in the next 10 years never enjoyed the same commercial success as “Bach.”  Movie buffs know Carlos composed the music for “Tron” and two classic Stanley Kubrick films, “A Clockwork Orange” and “The Shining.”  But Kubrick ended up using very little of her original scores in those films.

In the history of electronic music, the name Carlos belongs up there with Leon Theremin and Robert Moog (refer to our Facebook archive on Theremin).  Unfortunately, you won’t find too many of Carlos’ recordings on YouTube because her agent is quick to demand their removal.  The Wikipedia page for “S-OB” does have a 30-second sound clip.

Bryan Adams – Let Me Take You Dancing (Disco Mix by John Luongo) 5:35 (1979)
A&M Records
bryanadams.com, amoctone.com, amcorner.com (fan site), disco-disco.com/djs/john-l.shtml (fan page)
U.S. club:  No. 22

[] ← Editor’s note:  Hurry! (2011/10/01)
[] A DJ’s disco megamix (one-minute snippet starting at 4:44)
[] A fan’s acoustic cover
[Sale]

This song is like a lost track in Bryan Adams’ catalog (“[Everything I Do] I Do It for You,” “Heaven”).  Ditching the original pop-rock version released in his native Canada, A&M Records ordered a dance remix for the American market (keep in mind disco was reaching its peak in 1979).  Because his vocals were sped up beyond recognition, Adams has reportedly disowned this version ever since.  You won’t find this song on any of his greatest hits or live albums—not even the original version (it’s not listed on his official site either).  It wasn’t until 1982 when Adams entered the U.S. pop charts.  And it all came full circle when he was featured on Chicane’s No. 3 club classic “Don’t Give Up” in 2000 (his vocals were once again digitally processed to smooth out his rock styling).

We were really looking forward to finding both versions of “Dancing” on the Internet…guess we waited too long.  Jim Vallance (jimvallance.com), Adams’ longtime collaborator, used to provide audio clips for all the songs he co-wrote on his site.  And we know at least one person had to remove this remix from YouTube due to complaint.  It seems someone just doesn’t want you to listen to this song.

Machine – There But for the Grace of God Go I 5:01 (1979)
RCA Records
rcamusicgroup.com, kidcreole.com
U.S. pop:  No. 77
U.S. club:  No. 8
[]
[] Live version by Kid Creole and the Coconuts
[Sale]

From Bryan Adams on helium to something a little more serious.  This record is not your typical disco fare.  The song’s social commentary seems to have more in common with protest songs from an earlier decade; the lyrics are a far cry from “boogie oogie oogie.”  So how did this New York group score a minor top 40 hit with this single?  Well, it was on a major label and the year was 1979.  Or maybe radio stations were aware the ringleader of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (“Whispering/Cherchez la Femme/Se Si Bon,” “I’ll Play the Fool”) was behind Machine.  August Darnell would form Kid Creole and the Coconuts (“I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby,” “Endicott”) two years later.  Darnell and company wanted to create music that defied racial boundaries and radio formats.

Every Saturday night there’s a radio station somewhere playing dance oldies from the 1970s.  It’s too bad all you hear are Donna Summer/Chic/Village People.  Would it kill them to play Machine once in a while?

The Flirts – Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime) 5:25 (1982)
“O” Records
disco-disco.com/artists/bobby-o.shtml (fan page)
U.S. club:  No. 28
[]
[Sale]

Bobby Orlando founded “O” Records in New York in the early 1980s.  He had five club hits under the name Bobby “O” (“Sorrow,” “She Has a Way,” “I’m so Hot for You”) and assembled studio groups like Barbie & The Kens (“Just a Gigolo”).  He also put the Flirts on his label.  Though this is not the female trio’s biggest hit, a song like “Jukebox” is a good example of Orlando’s dance-new wave sound.  He also produced the original version of the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” (see the premier issue of MTH).  “Passion,” the Flirts’ first club hit, was sampled by Felix da Housecat in 2002 (“Silver Screen Shower Scene”).

Desireless – Voyage, Voyage 4:12 (1988)
CBS Records
desireless.net
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]
[] Extended Remix 6:45 (later reissued as Maxi Version)
[] Britmix 7:06
[] Euro Remix Remix 6:12
[Sale] [MP3 Sale]

We decided to include this French import mainly for American listeners.  That’s because it was a big hit just about everywhere else.  By the way, you can guess an old song must have been a smash if a YouTube posting has been viewed 12 million times, which is the case with one “Voyage” video.  This synth-laden track calls to mind “Fade to Grey” by Visage and the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” which was a No. 1 hit in America in 1982.  So why did “Voyage” fail on this side of the Atlantic?  Perhaps U.S. radio didn’t want any more electronic music by the late 1980s.  As much as we like the original version, some of the remixes actually sound like they would be a better fit for today’s mix show.  Latin radio sometimes plays “Vuela, Vuela,” the 1991 Spanish remake by Magneto.

Desireless is French singer Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop; “Voyage” is her only global hit.  Kudos to KITS for introducing this song and Cube’s “Love’s Taboo” (refer to the premier issue of MTH) to the Bay Area.

Vangelis – Anthem (2002 FIFA World Cup Official Anthem) (2002)
Sony Classical Records
sonymasterworks.com, elsew.com (fan site), js16.com
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[] Orchestral Version 4:33
[] JS16 Remix Radio Edit 3:46
[■] JS16 Club Mix 5:36
[Sale] [MP3 Sale]

Anyone who follows our Facebook musings closely may recall we mentioned this song in the World Cup edition of Mega6 in 2010.  So we knew back then somebody has posted it on YouTube—no surprise since FIFA matches attract over one billion TV viewers.  We’re fairly certain the remix by Finland’s JS16 (“Stomp to My Beat”) was the one used by Univision/TeleFutura during the broadcast in the U.S.  Huge TV ratings don’t always equal strong sales/airplay for FIFA music.  This instrumental was a top 10 hit in Japan, one of the two host countries that year.

Besides composing film music (“Chariots of Fire,” among others), Greek-born Vangelis was one half of Jon & Vangelis.  Together with Jon Anderson (of Yes fame), the duo had two top 10 hits in the U.K. in the early 1980s.

Apres-hunt

Since YouTube did so well last time, we didn’t think we’d stump the site so soon.  To be fair, based on comments and broken links, we know people did upload “Switched-on Bach” tracks and “Let Me Take You Dancing” in the past.  We leave you with something extra….

Top 10 Club Artists of the 1970s

  1. Donna Summer
  2. The Trammps
  3. The Ritchie Family
  4. Gloria Gaynor
  5. The Salsoul Orchestra
  6. Vicki Sue Robinson
  7. T-Connection
  8. Silver Convention
  9. Chic
  10. Carol Douglas

Source:  Joel Whitburn’s Hot Dance/Disco, 1974-2003

Note that Record Research (recordresearch.com) has decided not to publish a second edition.  You all should try to convince the company to reconsider.

MTH [Premier Issue]

Cliff Nobles & Co. – The Horse 2:25 (1968)
Phil-L.A. of Soul
U.S. pop:  No. 2
U.S. club:  N/A (no Billboard club chart until 1974)
[]
[Sale] [MP3 Sale]

We always thought of this instrumental as one of the first disco hits.  Of course, no one used that term back when it climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Our hunch was correct because a part of Cliff Nobles’ group begat MFSB, whose 1974 chart-topper “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” featuring the Three Degrees (also known as the theme from the TV show “Soul Train”) sounds like an offspring of “The Horse.”  The studio group helped define the 1970s Philly sound along with the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, and others.  Some members left to form the Salsoul Orchestra (“Tangerine”).

Originally released as the instrumental B-side to “Love Is All Right,” “The Horse” is one of those rare occasions when radio actually preferred the instrumental version to one with vocals.  Back then radio was more open to instrumental tracks.  The fact that this single sold over a million copies probably helped Nobles get over the rejection of his vocals (his two subsequent Hot 100 entries were both instrumentals).

Regine – Je Survivrai (I Will Survive) 7:07 (1979)
Prism Records
regine-lesite.com
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]
[Sale]

The world—the English-speaking part anyway—wasn’t exactly clamoring for a French version of Gloria Gaynor’s dance anthem.  But at the peak of disco mania, a French record label decided to release a remake just as Gaynor’s original topped the U.S. pop chart.  A small New York label eventually licensed the French version for release stateside.  Although it never made the U.S. club chart, this cover is noteworthy because of the singer—and does she have a back story.

French singer Regine Zylberberg was already a part of New York’s jet set by the time she recorded her remake.  She had moved into New York’s Delmonico Hotel (now Trump Park Avenue) in the mid-1970s.  She owned a chain of exclusive nightclubs around the world, including one on the ground floor of Delmonico.  A local newspaper dubbed her “Queen of the Night,” so it’s no wonder Andy Warhol painted her picture.  Before coming to America, Regine had already made the record books.  She was the manager of the world’s first discotheque in Paris and served as the first club DJ, spinning records on two turntables instead of using a jukebox (now you know why “discotheque” is a French word).  She opened her own club, Chez Regine, in the Latin Quarter in 1957.  From staying alive in occupied France to appearing on a reality TV show in 2005, the woman is a survivor.

The Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls 5:18 (1984)
Bobcat Records
petshopboys.co.uk, disco-disco.com/artists/bobby-o.shtml (fan page)
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]
[Sale]

This is the first version of the song that would become the Pet Shop Boys’ first No. 1 hit two years later (on EMI-America Records).  The grunts on this version made it sound more raw, but Neil Tennant’s rap was more cheeky and sassy.  The 1986 version has a slower tempo and plays up the strings—and the rap is slightly edited.  Which one you prefer probably depends on which version you heard first.  This first take was mixed by Bobby “O.”  We’ll have more to say about him in the future.

Cube – Love’s Taboo 6:00 (1987)
Baby Records
babyrecords.it
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]

We really thought this Italian import would stump YouTube for sure.  As far as we know, this song was not a big hit in any country.  It turns out someone—in Italy, of course—posted it in 2009.  This is easily one of the 10 best dance recordings of the 1980s.  It still holds up well because the musical arrangement wasn’t too terribly trendy (give credit to the horn section).  Anything that sounds trendy or state-of-the-chart today will likely sound dated tomorrow.  Think freestyle, drum ‘n’ bass, and very soon dubstep.  The fact that lead singer Paul Griffiths sounds like Gilbert O’Sullivan (“Alone Again [Naturally]”) on this record only makes it stand out more.  No one has uploaded the four-minute version on the seven-inch single.  But we doubt a shorter mix could top this 12-inch version.

There’s not a lot of information about Cube on the Internet.  According to an Italian fan page on Facebook, the trio released one album and five singles between 1982 and ’86—same as Discogs database.  In Italy, two of the singles were released on the venerable Casablanca Records.  YouTube comments seem to suggest only KITS Bay Area played this song in America at the time (surprised KROQ Los Angeles didn’t follow suit).  Yes, there was a time when program directors didn’t do a record promoter’s bidding or care about chart placements.  All of us who put together a playlist—for radio or for fun—should ask ourselves a simple question:  what is the “Love’s Taboo” pick in our set?

Womack & Womack – Teardrops 5:00/7:42 (1988)
Island Records
islanddefjam.com
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]
[Sale]

We don’t know what possessed Island Records to release a 12-inch version of this song by this non-dance artist.  You can certainly sway to the original version, the lead single from the duo’s fourth album.  Maybe it has something to do with the “footsteps on the dance floor” lyric.  The extended mix isn’t all that different from the album version.  Before the 1990s, producers didn’t go crazy with dramatically different remixes.  They would usually put certain instrumental passages in a loop, turn up the drums and percussion, and call it a day.

At first we were pleasantly surprised to find this song on YouTube.  After we discovered that it was a top 10 hit in quite a few countries outside the U.S. (American radio ignored it), then we understood why.  You won’t be able to get the line “She cries on every tune, every tune, every tune” out of your head.  It’s bittersweet to know that if a good song fails in one market, it’s not necessarily the end of the story.  A garage remake by the U.K.’s Lovestation was a top 10 club hit in 1999.  This husband and wife duo has quite a musical pedigree:  she is the daughter of Sam Cooke and he is the brother of Bobby Womack (“Lookin’ for a Love”).  Cecil and Linda Womack did score one top five club hit in 1984 (“Baby I’m Scared of You”).

Yolanda Adams – Never Give Up (Lake and Rizzo Late Night Radio Remix) 4:26 (2002)
Elektra promotional CD
yolandaadamslive.com, elektra.com, myspace.com/ernielake, djmikerizzo.com
U.S. club:  Did not chart
[]

Confession:  We knew we would find this song on YouTube because we helped put it there.  Someone had inquired about it a little over a year ago, and we pointed him in the right direction.  After he got hold of a digital copy, he uploaded it in June 2010.  Note that there are two other dance remixes (plus three dub versions) of this gospel song on the promotional CD, one of which (by Mike Rizzo) was posted in November 2010.  Yolanda Adams did have one minor club hit in 2001, a remix of “Open My Heart.”  Her latest TV appearance was on the 2011 Grammys as part of the Aretha Franklin tribute.  While Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson did their usual vocal gymnastics (yawn), she demonstrated that her voice has so much more warmth and range.

Apres-hunt

So YouTube passed our first test with flying colors.  Will we be playing stump SoundCloud in five years?

Cool Web Surfers Don't Cut and Paste

Would you like to share this Web page with friends? Don't cut and paste. Provide a Web link to this page or refer to its Web address. We invite all content providers to join our Don't Cut and Paste campaign.

 

Copyright © 2002-2017 Calba Media LLC. All rights reserved.