The Trammps were not only one of the biggest musical groups of the 70s, they were also one of my favorite soul & disco infused groups ever. First off, let’s talk about their outfits back in the day. Look how boss they look above! These were the perfect color; I mean, the people who took the time to design and make these outfits were talented beyond belief. Now, a group like The Trammps didn’t really need fancy clothing, cause they were talented on their own. However, when they did perform with outfits like these, it made their act even more exciting!!! I miss this era so much.
Their album called Disco Inferno, released in 1976, under Atlantic Records, is chuck full of amazing hits. When The Trammps released this album, they laid down the law, and they hit hard! Almost every single song on this album was a powerhouse hit! Starting with my favorite song (which happens to be the same title of the album), “Disco Inferno.” This song offered 10 minutes and 59 seconds of pulsating disco beats, and vocals that meant business. Within the first 3 beats of this song being played at a party, we all immediately knew what song it was. That’s how popular! When “Disco Inferno” was put on the 4 album deluxe “Saturday Night Fever” sound track, it immortalized the group as the album became 16x platinum.
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything from singer and actress, Thelma Houston. I forgot what a talented singer she really was. I may be wrong, but, it doesn’t look like she has had any hits, or released any albums since the late 70s. The last CD I saw released was 2010, but unfortunately, it only had her old hits on it. Thelma, is best known for her iconic cult classic, reinterpretation of “Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes'” 1975 version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” released in 1977. The song instantly went to #1. Now, today’s song though, is about another reinterpretation she did called “I Got The Music In Me,” released in 1976. The song was originally performed by Kiki Dee in 1974. This was what I called “WTF” kind of song 😀 The reason why I say this, is because if we listen to the lyrics, I can’t make out what the song is actually about.
Ain’t got no trouble in my life, No foolish dream to make me cry. I’m never frightened or worried, I know I’ll always get by. I heat up (I heat up) I cool down (I cool down) When something gets in my way I go round it. Don’t let life get me down Gonna take life the way that I found it. [Chorus] I got the music in me, I got the music in me, I got The………
I think to myself, is the song talking about drowning her sorrows in music? Is she actually talking about the struggles of the music business? I never had a clue. Every once in a while we get one of those WTF songs, and this is one of them for me. However, It was a great song to dance to. Thelma was named “Best Female Artist” in 1977. She is still performing today in her early 70s. Rock on Thelma!!!
Today, I felt we must pay homage to Rick James’s protegees, The Mary Jane Girls! I loved these women, they had a LOT of major hits in the 80s. You know, they were so famous, I heard a rumor that they harbored some jealousy for one group member, because she seemed to have gained more attention from male fans then the other girls. Wow, imagine that!?!? Judging by how many times I remember hearing it back in the day, their song called “All Night Long,” released in 1983, under Motown Records, was the most popular. It was written by the man himself, Rick James. This was not only a perfect grove song, it was one of those “make out” songs at the same time. LOL
But, actually, although I still liked “All Night Long,” it really wasn’t my favorite jam. My most favorite jam from MJG was a song called “Candy Man.” Not to be confused with the movie “Candy Man.” LOL This song was also written by Rick James, and I like it because it was one of the very few popular “sexy” songs done by females that didn’t make them appear like sex objects only. How ironic, since it is alleged that Rick used to beat the women he went out with. I digress. There was another favorite of mine that I think didn’t get as much credit. It’s a song called “You’re My Heaven.” I think they sang the sh*t out of this song. They were truly a talented group, and harmonized perfectly with each other, despite whatever personal gripes they had of each other.
I wonder if any of my readers remember a guy by the name of Malcolm McLaren? Well, he was a musician and songwriter from London. He was also a very well known promoter, and at one time managed a group called “The Sex Pistols!” What a name for a group LOLOL 😀 Now, to be honest, I don’t particularly care for a lot of his music. I don’t mean that to be cruel, it’s just a lot of these London cats love to make a lot of weird experimental shit. LOL.
Anyway, I think he is worthy of writing about, because he produced two very huge hits that I’m sure most of us remember, one is called “Buffalo Gals.” Remember that? The song was a major top 10 hit in the UK. According to a number of articles I’ve read, Buffalo Gals only did mediocre in the united states. However, I remember the hip-hop community completely embracing this music mix. Maybe they just expected more since they killed it in the UK. The other major hit he produced in 1989, actually became #1 here in the states on the Dance Songs Chart, that song was called “Deep In Vogue.” I believe this was the start of the Vogue dance craze. However, just to let you straight people know, Vogue was around loooooong before it was made in to a fad in the late 80s.
A year after, Madonna came out with her smash #1 hit “Vogue,” which was recorded on her “Dick Tracy” inspired album. Interesting that a song like that would be on a comic book inspired album. If you’re interested, here is the video for “Vogue.” Boy!! How did I get from writing about Malcolm McLaren to Madonna!! See how many things are often tied together? Malcolm died in 2010 of stomach cancer.
How many of you classic music fans knew that, in 1959, the legendary late Dinah Washington recorded the unforgettable song, “Unforgettable?” This is why I love blogging; because sometimes while researching, we come across interesting things we never knew! The song was written by Irving Gordon in 1951. The song peaked at #17 and stayed on the charts for about 13 weeks. I really love Dinah’s version of the song, although she sang almost every song as if she was on a Broadway stage. But that’s not a bad thing.
Now the interesting part of this is, originally Nat King Cole recorded Unforgettable in 1951, the song hit #12 on the billboard. Dinah’s recording did very well, she was only 5 positions shy of Nat’s, yet I don’t recall ever hearing Dinah sing this song on the radio. Now granted, it’s impossible to remember everything, but at the same time, this is considered a “song standard.”
In 1991, through the magic of audio technology Natalie Cole was able to sing with her late father again. Natalie paid a touching tribute to her father by recording “Unforgettable.” In 1992, she gave a stunning performance on the Grammy awards, with coordinated video of her late father. It was beautifully done. Surprisingly, her reinterpretation of the song didn’t do as well on the charts as I thought it would have. However, interesting enough, in terms of album sales, the album “Unforgettable: With Love” hit #1. I have a feeling the reason the song didn’t do well had to do with the fact, the song was a personal tribute (in comparison to her other work).
Wow!! This is an OLDIE!! I totally forgot about Ms. Nicolette Larson! Believe it or not, Nicolette was a very talented performer. But, unfortunately, she only had one hit to her career. It was a song called “Lotta Love.” The song was written by Neil Young, and recorded under Rhino/Warner Brothers Records. “Lotta Love hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and stayed on the charts for about 23 weeks. Even after the song dropped off the charts, people were still requesting this song on the radio. The song seemed to have appealed to mostly teenagers with new relationships.
Nicolette, appeared to have lived a pretty wholesome life. In many ways she reminded me a lot of a younger Juice Newton. She performed on many TV shows, and the first I remembered was a show called “Solid Gold.” Nicolette recorded so many albums and it’s a shame she only had one major hit, because I think she was really vocally talented. She probably just needed some better songwriters/producers; being that she was under Warner Brothers, I’d think she would have. “I’ll Fly Away (Without You) (1982),” from her album “All Dressed Up & No Place To Go” I thought was a nice song. But, I can’t even find it on any charts. But, that could have been simply, the labels did not push the song to the radio stations. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 from liver failure.
“Sly & The Family Stone” was the most eccentric band I’ve ever heard of (at least as far as what I remember). I mean, I wouldn’t compare him to being like the late Prince, but Sly and his group were eccentric in their own way (within that era). In my opinion, I feel that the above photo was Sly’s best look. He’s was very handsome there. I never liked that big ol’ “Afro-curl,” I guess is the best way to describe it. Sometimes he looked like he had on a party wig, and other times he looked like a tree of some sort. However, I understand the era. When it came to rock music, the 60s was about rebellion, individuality, and changing the social norms.
I’m pretty sure that their album called “Dance To The Music” was their first album. The song “Dance To The Music,” from the “Dance To The Music” album, was the first Sly song I remember hearing. I didn’t understand hardly any words then, but when I heard the beat of the song, it automatically made me want to jump and move my body. What was special about this song was that, it didn’t seem to go with any particular dance (and way had many). All we had to do was just move our bodies on the dance floor, and we were fine 😀 About a year later, Sly and his crew recorded another album called “Stand.” The first hit from this album I recall hearing was “Everyday People.” I really loved this song, and although I wasn’t old enough yet to understand the phrase “different strokes for different folks,” when I finally did understand, it became one of my biggest motto(s) to live by.
Before Curtis Mayfield became the solo legend he was, he was in a musical group called “The Impressions.” In addition to being a singer and songwriter, like many performers at the time, he was also a political activist. Akin to Bob Marley in many ways, in the beginning Mayfield’s music was all about social consciousness, and it showed in his album art. In the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t just singing and dancing to music that told the stories of Blacks in poor communities; they visually showed the harsh realities in their art work. Which by the way, I can’t help but to reflect on the extreme difference in album covers between then and now. Back then it was about reality. Today, it’s about showing your Photoshop skills, and finding an excuse to publish any kind of T&A (the bigger the better) (especially in hiphop).
I can’t help to notice, when I listen to his song “Stay Close To Me,” On the album called “This Is My Country,” I am immediately reminded of Pharrell Williams. I guess because most young people don’t have a damn clue about classic music, young kids think Pharell’s style is all originally his. Anyway…… Unfortunately, I can’t find the stats to this song, but I think it’s a really nice love song. However, I do know the song called “This Is My Country,” from the same album hit #5 on the Top 100 Chart, so I’m taking a guess that “Stay Close To Me” did at least mediocre. This album was published under Rhino Records.