CLASSICS: DISCO AND DANCE
“Get On The Floor,” by Michael Jackson. Man…. I played this song so much back in the day, the record practically turned to dust! LOL.. This was our jam back in the day, and it remains one of my favorite songs from the “Off The Wall” Album. I don’t know why I’m having trouble finding chart information for this song But it doesn’t matter, ’cause we all know that this is a 10+ platinum album in just the U.S. alone. By the way, I believe that the genius Quincy Jones produced this entire album. I miss MJ. Such a shame how drug addiction is killing our most beloved celebs.
Hansel Enrique Martinez and Raul Alfonso were both born in Cuba. They grew up with music in their blood. In 1976, both Hansel and Raul eventually came together and formed the group known as Charanga ’76. I happen to own an original 12-inch of one of their biggest hits of their career (in my opinion). It’s called “Music Trance,” released in 1979, distributed by Pimienta Records. This for sure, was a badass disco song!! The brass instruments were badass, everything about this song was hot back in the day (and still is). Definitely a lost treasure that young kids don’t know sh*t about today. What I love about this dance song, it’s one of the very few songs I’ve heard that has a strong American disco element, and yet the group still managed blend the core essence of Cuba in the song. There are also some other hits on this “Greatest Hits” album I vaguely remember, such as “Soy,” “Kuku-Cha Ku-Cha,” and “Wanda.” For those of you parents that care about culture, I highly recommend introducing this group to your kids. They’ve made a lot of great music back in the day.
If I’m not mistaken, “Rufusized” was the first album I purchased with Chaka Khan. There was only one song on this album I remembered being a hit. That was “Once You Get Started,” which reached #10 on the Hot 100 Charts. This funk dance song starts off with trumpets in the background, then you hear Chaka start off belting some serious high notes. When you hear this song for the first time, she’s letting you know you’re going to dance to this song! I can’t say this was a favorite album of mine, however, the single I believe was worth having. The song was written by Gavin Christopher, and I think they couldn’t have picked a better person than Chaka to carry this song.
This was a badass group back in the day. Jacques Fred Petrus (1949–1987) and Mauro Malavas got together and formed “Change.” However, all of their most popular hits, seem to be the ones all featuring Luther Vandros. In the late seventies & mid eighties, they’ve clearly dominated the disco era. The album called “The Best Of Change,” is (unless you’ve been living under a rock, I dare to say) the most memorable album of the 1980’s. The album itself reached #10, and one of my favorite songs from this album “The Glow Of Love,” not only did it hit #1, it also stayed #1 on the dance chats for 9 consecutive weeks! That’s a little over two months! I remember every single block party in the hood was playing this song. Change was smoking in deed. My other two favorites, which were also #1 were “A Lover’s Holiday,” and “Searching.” Now, I have this album at home, and it appears that Spotify has added additional bonus tracks on this album. The bonus tracks sounded alright, I wasn’t exactly shaking my butt to them, but they were enjoyable. The most important thing is, the album includes all the famous tracks we know and love.
You know, to be honest, I’m not sure if this group had other notable hits. But, as far as I’m concerned, this was the only song I liked from the group. “You’re Too Late,” was released in 1980, and peaked at #1 on the U.S. Dance Charts, and #28 on the R&B/Hip Hop Charts. As far as I can tell, this was their one and only major hit Now, personally speaking, it’s not that I think the band was horrible; their music was pretty decent; its just that it wasn’t enough for me to spend money on their albums. Much of their music contained a pop and funk style to them. It’s hard for me to place their kind of music, because when I listen to the groups albums spanning 10 years, their kind all over the place. This is a band you definitely have to have an acquired taste for.
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.
I loved Shalamar back in the day. I think Howard Hewitt had (and still has) an amazing voice. I never heard a voice like his before. This album is actually a compilation of songs from across many albums. I have to be honest, I don’t remember hearing a lot of them. However, all the important memorable hits are on it. Such as their biggest notable hit called “Second Time Around,” which hit #1 on the Hot 100 Singles Chart, AND #1 on the Dance Charts. This song became (along with many others) an anthem in the Black community. EVERYBODY was singing this song. If you didn’t know who Shalamar was, or wasn’t at least familiar with this song, people looked at you as though you must be from a different planet! 😀 Also “Right In The Socket,” I have this 12 inch. “A Night To Remember,” which is another favorite of mine, “Make That Move,” “Dancing In The Sheets,” and finally “This Is For The Lover In You.” Their song “This Is For The Lover In You” was a nice slow jam that people played a lot. Absolutely no home made cassette tape was complete without this song back in the day.
How do I explain Frankie Smith? Well, I say he is the Black cowboy version of Wolfman Jack (that is if you can remember that far back!) 😀 He was made famous by a song he did called the “Double Dutch Bus,” Released under Unidisc Music. Let me start off by saying, this wasn’t just an ordinary hit song, this song also represented a very serious movement in the 80s. Guys……. In terms of athletic activities that were traditionally for young girls, AND also closely associated with dance such as Cheer leading; Cheer leading has always been known as a very serious and cut throat competition in just about all High Schools. However, before the success of break-dancing, there was another form of athletic activity that emerged in a huge way from the Black poor communities. That was something called Double Dutch.
Double Dutch was serious business in the 80s (actually, we were doing it before the 80s). It wasn’t just something that poor Black girls did in the ghetto to keep themselves out of trouble, and away from boys. Tournaments were created specifically for Double Dutch. Thousands from all over would come to see these girls do their thing with their jump ropes, in the same way they would a football or basketball game. Schools would challenge each other and get the chance to win big trophies and other prizes. Mind you, many of the girls I’ve seen doing Double Dutch were heavyset girls, and they were just as good as the thinner girls. Yet there’s an attitude that people still have, that people from poor communities are not active? Bullshit! These girls did stunts and acrobatic moves you wouldn’t believe!! And of course you don’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it and just Google!! Frankie’s hit song brought attention to the world of Double Dutch competitions. Now both girls and boys are doing Double Dutch, and incorporating hip-hop along with their fancy moves. “Double Dutch Bus” reached #1 on the “Hot Soul Singles Chart,” and #30 on the Hot 100 Chart.”