Category: disco

On this day in music history: December 16, 197…

On this day in music history: December 16, 1977 – “A Fantasy Love Affair”, the debut album by Peter Brown is released. Produced by Cory Wade, it is recorded at Studio Center Sound Recordings, Inc. in Miami, FL and Sound Mixers Studios, Inc. in New York City from Mid – Late 1977. Born in the Chicago suburb of Blue Island, IL, Peter Brown displays an interest and aptitude for music early on. Encouraged by his mother, he studies piano and drums. Brown’s father, an electric engineer buys his son tape recorders to experiment with. Peter soon begins writing music and recording demos. Mastering the piano, his interest shifts to synthesizers learning how to program as well as play them. After high school, Brown attends The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago to study graphic arts, but drops out to pursue music. Acquiring a 4-track tape machine, Brown begins recording at home. During this time, he meets producer Cory Wade who is impressed by Brown’s demos and encourages him to assemble a band to fully realize his musical ideas. Recruiting Tom Dziallo (bass, guitar) and Pat Hurley (keyboards, backing vocals), they cut an early version of “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me” (#3 R&B, #18 Pop, #9 Club Play). Wade sends a copy of the demo to TK Records founder Henry Stone who offers Peter a contract, wanting to release it as is. Brown agrees to sign, but asks to add overdubs to finish it. The 4-track tape is transferred to a two inch 24-track tape, adding more instrumentation and vocals, including TK in house backing vocal group Wildflower. Once completed, it is released on the Drive Records imprint in July of 1977. The sensual, down tempo track is an immediate sensation in discos, crossing over to R&B, then pop radio. The 12" single makes history as the first million seller in that configuration. Brown then begins work on a full album, also recruiting keyboardist Robert Rans to his band, who becomes his main songwriting partner. Less than six months later, the album is ready for release. The cover features a provocative silhouette of a semi clad woman, standing in front of a window taken by Brown. The figure in the window is actually a cardboard cut out fabricated by the musician himself. “Dance With Me” (#5 R&B, #8 Pop, #4 Club Play) featuring label mate Betty Wright on backing vocals is released next. A filmed segment of Brown recording the song, is shown on the news program 60 Minutes while it is climbing the charts. The album spins off two singles with “You Should Do It” (#54 R&B and Pop) and the title track. In time, “Affair” is regarded as a seminal album of the Disco Era, with “Do You Wanna” being sampled by Ice Cube, DJ Quik, Ma$e and Erick Sermon, and “Dance With Me” being sampled by Def Jef, LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes, Blackstreet (Featuring Janet Jackson), and Blak Panta. “A Fantasy Love Affair” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and number nine on the R&B album chart.

Remembering dance music icon Sylvester (born S…

Remembering dance music icon Sylvester (born Sylvester James in Los Angeles, CA) – September 6, 1947 – December 16, 1988

On this day in music history: December 15, 197…

On this day in music history: December 15, 1979 – “Do You Love What You Feel” by Rufus & Chaka Khan hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, peaking at #5 on the Club Play chart, also peaking at #30 on the Hot 100 on February 2, 1980. Written by David “Hawk” Wolinski, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Chicago, IL R&B/Funk band. Following her guest appearance on Quincy Jones’ number one R&B hit “Stuff Like That” the previous year, the producer signs on to work with Rufus on their eighth album “Masterjam”. Sessions get underway at Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA in mid 1979 just as Jones is completing work on Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”. During the sessions for the song, Wolinski and Jones have a disagreement over the songs’ bridge, that nearly leads to “Hawk” withdrawing the song from the album. Eventually all is worked out in the end with the song being recorded as Wolinski intended it. Released as a single in late September of 1979, “Do You Love What You Feel” an immediate smash on R&B radio and on dance floors around the world. The song is also issued as a longer extended version (remixed by engineer Bruce Swedien) that is released in the US only as a promotional 12" to radio and club DJ’s (with original copies becoming sought after collector’s items), but is released commercially in the UK. The success of “Do You Love What You Feel” sends their album “Masterjam” to number one on the Billboard R&B album chart (#14 Pop), driving its sales to Gold status in the US. Over the years, “Do You Love What You Feel” has been sampled by rappers MC Shy D (“I Wanna Dance”), Fresh Kid Ice (“I Wanna Dance Y’All”), Poison Clan (“Some S*** I Used To Do”), Ras Kass Featuring RC (“Lapdance”)  SWV Featuring Brianna Perry (“Do Ya”), and The Jacka Featuring Husalah (“Love How It Feels”). Other elements of the song are interpolated into tracks by Cam’ron (“Rockin’ And Rollin’) and Murderbot (”More Guns”).

On this day in music history: December 14, 197…

On this day in music history: December 14, 1977 – “Saturday Night Fever” opens in theaters across the US. Released by Paramount Pictures, it stars John Travolta and is directed by John Badham. The low budget film about a young working class man spending his weekends dancing in a Brooklyn discotheque becomes a pop cultural phenomenon, grossing over $237 million at the box office, and is the breakthrough film role for Travolta. Initially Paramount has very low expectations, with some studio executives referring to it as “a vulgar little movie”. Their minds are changed when theater audiences respond enthusiastically to the first teaser trailer, which features John Travolta strutting down the street to the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”. The actor also receives an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1978. The soundtrack album featuring five tracks by the Bee Gees goes on to sell more than thirty million copies worldwide. The R-rated film’s popularity is so great, that Paramount re-edits the film and resubmits it to the MPAA for a PG rating so Travolta’s younger fans can see it with out being accompanied by an adult. This version of the film is the one that is aired on television, when it makes its network debut on ABC on November 16, 1980 (with further alterations), and is briefly issued on home video along with the original theatrical cut. Due to legal complications regarding clearances for the all of the music featured in the film, “Saturday Night Fever” does not make its debut on DVD until 2002, just in time for the twenty fifth anniversary of its original release. Since then, it has been reissued again on DVD for its thirtieth anniversary in 2007 and on Blu-ray disc in 2009. The iconic white three piece suit worn by John Travolta in the film is purchased at auction in 1979 by film critic Gene Siskel, whose inner lining includes an inscription to the critic from Travolta himself. After Siskel’s death in 1999, the suit is auctioned again by Christie’s to an anonymous buyer in the UK.

On this day in music history: December 6, 1975…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1975 – “I Love Music (Part 1)” by The O’Jays hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on January 24, 1976, also topping the Dance/Disco chart for 8 weeks on November 22, 1975. Written and produced by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, it is the fourth chart topper for the R&B vocal trio from Canton, OH. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with members of the studio band MFSB, the basic track to the song is cut live with minimal overdubbing. The song is also significant as being on the first major hit records to be mixed using console automation on the studios’ mixing board (by engineer Joe Tarsia). Released as the first single from the group’s ninth studio album “Family Reunion”, the single quickly becomes a big hit not only on pop and R&B radio, but also becomes a mainstay of the disco era. “I Love Music” is covered by several different artists over the years including versions by house music artists Rozalla and Darryl Pandy. “I Love Music (Part 1)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: December 2, 1978…

On this day in music history: December 2, 1978 – “Le Freak” by Chic hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also hitting #1 on the Hot 100 for 6 weeks (non-consecutive) on December 9, 1978. Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the first number one single for the New York City based R&B/Funk band. The song is inspired by an incident when Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgersm are denied entry into Studio 54 on New Year’s Eve 1977, after being invited by Grace Jones. The duo encounter the discos’ notoriously brash doorman Marc Benecke, who brusquely tells them that they are not on the guest list. Upset at the rebuff, the pair go back to Rodgers apartment around the corner and jam, coming up with the song, which is initially titled “F*** Off”. Realizing that they’re on to something, the lyric is changed, from “f*** off” to “freak out”. Taking into mind the current popular dance “the freak”, they re-title the song “Le Freak”. Released in late September of 1978 as the first single from the bands’ second album “C’est Chic”, it becomes the largest selling single in the history of Atlantic Records, shifting an astounding six million copies in the US alone. The single is such a massive seller, eventually it is taken out of print for a time, with Atlantic and Chic fearing that it will impede on sales of “C’est Chic”, which sells nearly two million copies. “Le Freak” makes further history on the Hot 100 when the record hits number one three times during its run on the charts. After it hits the top of the pop chart on December 9, 1978 it is bumped from the top by “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond returning to the top (on December 16, 1978) after being displaced by “Le Freak”. It holds on to the top spot for two more weeks over the Christmas holiday before being bumped from the top by the Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven” on January 6, 1979. Startlingly, two weeks later, Chic return to the top for the third and final time on January 20, 1979 for three more weeks. Regarded as a definitive recording not just of the Disco Era, but of 70’s music period, it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2015. “Le Freak” is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 27, 197…

On this day in music history: November 27, 1978 – “Love Tracks”, the sixth album by Gloria Gaynor is released. Produced by Freddie Perren & Dino Fekaris, it is recorded at Mom & Pop’s Company Store Studios in Studio City, CA from Mid – Late 1978. Following her breakthrough in early 1975 with her cover of The Jackson 5 classic “Never Can Say Goodbye” and the subsequent follow ups “Honey Bee”, and “Reach Out I’ll There”, Gloria Gaynor finds that her next three albums fail to match the success of her sophomore album. The singer is paired with former Motown staff songwriters Freddie Perren (The Jackson 5, The Miracles) and Dino Fekaris (Rare Earth) to write material and produce the album. Released in the late Fall of 1978, the album initially gets off to a slow start when the song “Substitute” is chosen as the first single. Club DJ’s flip the single and begin playing “I Will Survive”, forcing Polydor Records to quickly reissue the single with “Survive” as the A-side when it becomes an instant smash, and also remaster the LP with the eight minute long “disco mix” of the song. It spins off one more single with the follow up “Anybody Wanna Party” (#16 R&B) in the Spring of 1979. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2013 by BBR Records with five bonus tracks including the extended 12" mixes of “Anybody Wanna Party”, Substitute" and three versions of “I Will Survive” (the original 12" mix, the Spanish language version “Yo Viviré” and a previously unreleased mix by Tom Moulton). “Love Tracks” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 24, 197…

On this day in music history: November 24, 1979 – “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” by Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #20 on the R&B singles chart on January 5, 1980. Written by Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts, it is the fourth pop chart topper for Streisand and Summer. Having previously written the Oscar winning smash “Last Dance” (#3 Pop, #8 R&B) for Donna Summer and the pop/disco hit “The Main Event/Fight” (#3 Pop) for singer and actress Barbra Streisand, songwriter Paul Jabara sets his sights on writing a song pairing the two divas. A joint production between Summer’s producer Giorgio Moroder and Streisand’s producer Gary Klein, the basic track for “Tears” is recorded at Rusk Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA and features musicians James Gadson (drums), Neil Stubenhaus (bass), Greg Mathieson (keyboards), Jay Graydon, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (guitars), and is arranged and conducted by Mathieson. The vocals are recorded at Village Recorders in Los Angeles on August 28, 1979. The track also features background vocals by Maxine & Julia Waters and Luther Vandross (also the vocal arranger). Though the record is an instant smash, it effectively ends Summer’s working relationship with Casablanca Records label head Neil Bogart. Summer is infuriated when she discovers that Bogart has leaked the song to radio early while her then current single “Dim All The Lights” is still climbing the charts. Donna is anxious to see her single reach number one on the pop chart as it would be her first completely self written song to hit number one. She asks her label boss to hold back the new single for a couple weeks, until her record peaks. Bogart agrees, and then goes back on his word leaking “No More Tears”. Radio stations begin playing it immediately, forcing it to be rush released. When this happens, several major stations drop “Dim All The Lights” from their playlists in favor of the new song, causing it to stall at number two, while the duet rockets past it to number one. The uptempo dance track is simultaneously released on Streisand’s album “Wet” and Summer’s greatest hits album “On The Radio”. “Tears” is released with differing mixes on each singers’ album, featuring one or the other more prominently in the mix. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on October 20, 1979, it rockets to the top of the chart five weeks later. Selling more than two million copies between the 7" and 12" single releases, it is one of the biggest selling singles of 1979. The song is later parodied by comedian Eddie Murphy on his self-titled debut album in 1982. “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” are certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 24, 197…

On this day in music history: November 24, 1978 – “Blondes Have More Fun” (subtitled “…Or Do They?), the ninth studio album by Rod Stewart is released. Produced by Tom Dowd, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Sounds Interchange, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Criteria Studios in Miami, FL from Summer – Autumn 1978. The album is one of Stewart’s most successful and controversial. Its centerpiece is the single "Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (#1 Pop, #5 R&B) whose full on disco sound earns him new fans and disdain from rock critics and older fans, feeling he has sold out to current musical trends. Stewart is also sued by Brazilian composer Jorge Ben when it’s revealed the songs’ refrain is borrowed from his song “Taj Mahal”. The album also spins off the single “Ain’t Love A Bitch” (#22 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2000, as part of the Warner Remasters series. It is also issued as a SHM-CD by WMG in Japan in 2009, and packaged in a mini-LP sleeve replicating the original gatefold album sleeve. “Blondes Have More Fun” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 22, 197…

On this day in music history: November 22, 1977 – “Chic”, the debut album by Chic is released. Produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios and The Power Station in New York City from September – October 1977. After playing together in various incarnations since first meeting in 1970, bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers form the band Chic in 1976 with keyboard player Rob Sabino, drummer Tony Thompson and singer Norma Jean Wright rounding out the basic line up. A DJ friend of theirs named Robert Drake gives them an opportunity to make demo recording of their song “Everybody Dance”, by sneaking them into Electric Lady Studios after hours where he works part time as a recording engineer. A few weeks later, Drake invites Rodgers to The Night Owl, an upscale disco where he DJ’s. Spinning two acetate discs he has cut of Chic’s demo of “Everybody”, Rodgers watches him in stunned amazement as the DJ spins the discs non stop for nearly an hour to the euphoric crowd on the dance floor. Shortly after this, the band return to the studio to cut the single “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”, which attracts the attention of Buddah Records executive Tom Cossie who options the record for release. When Cossie moves to Atlantic Records only a couple of weeks after Buddah releases “Dance”, he takes the band with him, signing them with Atlantic in spite of the fact they had been previously rejected by the label. The debut album by the New York City based R&B/Disco band is recorded in only three weeks for a budget of $35,000. It features all original songs written by Edwards and Rodgers with vocals by Norma Jean Wright, Alfa Anderson, Diva Gray, David Lasley, Robin Clark and Luther Vandross. It spins off the hit singles “Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)” (#6 R&B and Pop) and “Everybody Dance” (#12 R&B, #38 Pop). Originally released on CD in the early 90’s by Atlantic, the original CD is deleted and goes out of print for several years. It is reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2006, with WEA in Japan remastering and reissuing it on CD in 2011. Out of print on vinyl for more than thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music in 2016. The album is remastered and reissued on CD and vinyl again, as part of the box set “The Chic Organization: 1977 – 1979” on November 23, 2018. “Chic” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty seven on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.