On this day in music history: August 13, 1985 – “The Show” / “La Di Da Di” by Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew / Doug E. Fresh & M.C. Ricky D. is released. Written by Douglas E. Davis and Ricky Walters, it is the first single and biggest hit for the rap group from New York City. Born in Barbados and raised in Harlem, NY, Doug E. Fresh pioneers the vocal percussion sound beatboxing, mimicking the sound of a drum machine with his mouth. After appearing on “Pass The Boo-Dah” (parodying Musical Youth’s “Pass The Dutchie”) with DJ Spivey and Spoonie Gee (the Boo-Dah Bliss Crew) in 1983, Doug releases his first single “The Original Human Beat Box” on Vintertainment Records in 1984. He then forms Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew consisting of fellow M.C. Ricky D. aka “Slick Rick” (born Richard Walters) and DJ’s Chill Will (Will Finch) and Barry Bee (Barry Moody). The group land a deal with Reality Records in 1985, and go into the studio with jazz musician Dennis Bell (Dave Valentin) and engineer Ollie Cotton to record their first release. Re-creating the sound of a live performance in the recording studio, they come up with “The Show”. Based around the “Inspector Gadget Theme”, the six and a half minute plus track features Fresh rapping and beatboxing, passing lines back and forth with Rick throughout. It also includes the insistent scratching of the phrase “Oh My God”, taken from The Cold Crush Brothers’ single “Punk Rock Rap”. The B-side “La Di Da Di” features Slick Rick rapping over Doug’s beat box accompaniment, spinning an outrageous tale of going about his day, then being confronted by his ex-girlfriend and her mother who is also after him. Released in the late Summer of 1985, both songs make an immediate impact on the street, and quickly spreads to radio. “The Show” / “La Di Da Di” races up the Billboard R&B singles chart peaking at #4 on October 12, 1985, becoming only the fourth rap single in history to be certified Gold. It is also a big hit internationally, peaking at #7 on the UK singles chart in November of 1985. In the wake of its huge success, “The Show” inspires a pair of answer “diss” records, including “No Show” by Symbolic Three, and “The Show Stoppa” by Super Nature (#46 R&B). The latter is the debut by future rap superstars Salt ‘N’ Pepa. In time, “The Show” and “La Di Da Di” go on to become two of the most important and influential songs in Hip Hop. Both are widely sampled and interpolated into other rap classics over the years, with the original recording of “The Show” being used in the films “New Jack City” and “CB4”. “La Di Da Di” is also covered by Snoop Dogg (as “Lodi Dodi”) on his debut album “Doggystyle” in 1993. Later CD releases of original tracks by Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew have the interpolated lyrics from “Michelle” and “Sukiyaki” removed from both when the song publishers do not grant permission for their use. “The Show” / “La Di Da Di” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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