May 1, 1976: “If they don’t dance to it, please don’t chart it!”

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was possibly the start of it, and now John Miles’s ‘Music’, ABBA’s ‘Fernando’ and the Four Seasons’ ‘Silver Star’ continue the puzzling pattern.

All these records are extremely popular as chart hits, but do you actually dance to them?

They have all cropped up in our contributing DJ’s Disco Chart returns, which would suggest that you do, but if so – how do you dance to them?  Their common characteristic is a muddle of tempos, some fast and danceable but others being patches of dead slowness.

If the DJ’s slip just the fast bits into their show, that might be the answer. If you manage to dance to both the fast and the slow bits, you’re better than I thought!  And if you go and sit down to listen to the record, it’s not really a disco record.

Just because a record is popular, it isn’t automatically a disco hit. Discos are for dancing, and that is what this page and the Disco Chart are all about.  If Pop hits are appearing in the Disco Chart, yet are only there because they’ve been requested by people who don’t dance to them they don’t deserve to be there.

DJ’s and dancers alike, please let me know the answer to this question! And DJ’s – if they don’t dance to it, please don’t chart it! 


New Spins

MUD: ‘Shake It Down’ (Private Stock PVT 65) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
After many doubts, not to mention fights with the record company, Mud have made the big break and put out their first foray into the hustling New York disco sound. They needn’t have worried – it’s an extremely exciting Pip Williams production, immensely infectious, that comes complete with false finish to catch you on the hop!

VICKI SUE ROBINSON: ‘Turn The Beat Around’ (RCA 2673) (Billboard chart debut 2/14/76)
This invigoratingly fast percussive hustler has been galloping along at the top of the NY disco charts for some time, and will obviously be big here too. ‘Common Thief’ flip is similarly good.

O’JAYS: ‘Livin’ For The Weekend’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 4189)
With more initial impact than ‘I Love Music’, which was too skitteringly tricksy for many, this power-packed frantic pounder is truly music for the guts!

DERRICK HARRIOTT: ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ (Trojan TR 7981)
The 20-year-old Frankie Lymon classic sounds great reggaefied with mid-tempo rhythm and falsetto multi-tracking. Good slower ‘Dancing The Reggae‘ flip has stereo FX.

WARREN SMITH: ‘Red Cadillac And A Black Mustache’ (Charly CS 1006)
Another Rockabilly oldie that’s already huge with the boppers, this is one that they dance to in double time. Sun worshippers will love the ‘Dear John‘ flip too.

DAVID BOWIE: ‘TVC 15’ (RCA 2682)
Despite DJ expectations that ‘Stay’ would be the single from ‘Station To Station’, this Roxy Music-ish ‘uh-oh-uh-uh-oh’ complex rhythm jogger is it.

THE CHARLES RANDOLPH GREAN SOUNDE: ‘Star Trek’ (UK USA 15) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
Already causing a stir with DJs, this hustling hi-hat treatment of the popular telly theme ties in nicely with the series’s return.

ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS: ‘Let’s Groove, Pt. 1’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 4250) (mentioned in Billboard column 12/6/75, Billboard chart debut 12/13/75)
His best since the similar ‘Tighten Up’, Archie’s huge NY disco hit surprisingly fared less well as a single than the official A-side here, the less subtle ‘Soul City Walk.’

STYLISTICS: ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ (H&L 6105050)
Elvis’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ hit gets a cantering archetypal NY hustle treatment that’s brightly perky if ultimately vacuous.

JACOB MILLER: ‘Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay’ (2nd Tracs SKL 5)
Otis Redding’s autobiographical classic transfers perfectly to a Trenchtown setting, with mid-tempo reggae rhythm, scat singing and ‘Version’ flip.

GENE AUTRY: ‘You Are My Sunshine’ (Ember EMBS 348)
The Singing Cowboy may seem unlikely disco material, but his happily swirling fast waltz treatment of the Governor Jimmy Davis classic is ideal for the old folks at MoR gigs.

A WING & A PRAYER FIFE & DRUM CORPS: ‘Charleston’ (Atlantic K 10750) (mentioned in Billboard column 2/7/76, Billboard chart debut 3/6/76)
Thankfully edited, their discotized version will be fun for some – but if so why not try a proper version? Relaxed ‘Eleanor Rigby‘ flip.

CHARLIE: ‘The Old Fashioned Way’ (Power Exchange PX 215)
Charlie’s a chick, who hustles so darned fast that the fox-trotters will be able to dance to her quite happily at half speed.

THE WURZELS: ‘The Combine Harvester’ (EMI 2450)
Rustic accents do a suggestive-sounding re-write of Melanie’s ‘Brand New Key’, which could be good! ‘The Blackbird‘ flip is kinda ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’. Jolly stuff, you know!

PEGGY LEE: ‘I’ve Got Them Feelin’ Too Good Today Blues’ (A&M AMS 7225)
Jaunty vocal ragtime, slurred Mae West-style for MoR jocks.

CHOCOLAT’S: ‘Brasillia Carnaval’ (Aquarius AQ 1) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/11/75)
This year’s Continental contender for the ‘El Bimbo’ stakes.

FRANNIE GOLDE: ‘Stop (And Look Around)’ (Atlantic K 10737)
Modern B-side with squeaky chix and the sort of beat that might be good up North.

ROBIN SARSTEDT: ‘My Resistance Is Low’ (Decca F 13624)
Exquisite Hoagey Carmichael lilter taken at a tricky fast waltz tempo which might now go MoR following all the radio plays.


UK Disco Top 20 – May 1, 1976

01 04 Silver Convention – Get Up And Boogie – Magnet
02 01 Barry White – You See The Trouble With Me – 20th Century
03 05 Brass Construction – Movin’ / Changin’ – UA
04 02 Hank Mizell – Jungle Rock – Charly
05 13 Roger Collins – You Sexy Sugar Plum – Fantasy
06 07 Hot Chocolate – Don’t Stop It Now – Rak
07 03 Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You – GTO
08 17 Trammps – Where The Happy People Go – Atlantic
09 06 Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me – Pye
10 NE Fox – S-S-S-Single Bed – GTO
11 16 Pioneers – Feel The Rhythm – Mercury
12 10 Andrea True Connection – More, More, More – Buddah
13 NE Vince Taylor – Brand New Cadillac – Chiswick
14 09 Tina Charles – I Love To Love – CBS
15 12 Isaac Hayes – Disco Connection – ABC
11 RE Four Seasons – December 1963 – Warner Bros.
17 NE Linda Lewis – Baby I’m Yours – Arista
18 NE James & Bobby Purify – I’m Your Puppet – Mercury
19 NE Diana Ross – Love Hangover – Motown
20 NE Rimshots – Do What You Feel – All Platinum
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (mentioned in Billboard column 2/14/76, Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#2 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#3 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/17/76, Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#7 (Billboard chart debut 4/3/76)
#8 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/8/75, Billboard chart debut 2/14/76)
#12 (mentioned in Billboard column 1/3/76, Billboard chart debut 1/17/76)
#14 (Billboard chart debut 3/13/76)
#15 (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
#19 (Billboard chart debut 2/28/76)
#20 (mentioned in Billboard column 11/1/75)


Songs mentioned in “DJ Hotline”:

DON WOODY: ‘Barking Up The Wrong Tree’ (MCA)
BABE RUTH: ‘Elusive’ (Capitol) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
DAVID RUFFIN: ‘Heavy Love’ (Tamla Motown) (mentioned in Billboard column 8/2/75, Billboard chart debut 11/1/75)
STRUTT: ‘Front Row Romeo’ / ‘Time Moves On’ (Brunswick LP cuts – US import) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 4/3/76, Billboard chart debut 4/10/76)
LEE ELDREN: ‘How’s Your Love Life Pt. 2’ (Mercury – US import)
CHANTER SISTERS: ‘Band Of Gold’ (Polydor)
JIMMY JAMES: ‘I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me’ (Pye) (Billboard chart debut 4/17/76)
BIDDU: ‘Exodus’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 9/20/75)
CAMEO: ‘Find My Way’ (Chocolate City – US import) (mentioned in Billboard column 11/15/75, Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
WILLIE HUTCH: ‘Concert In Blues’ (Tamla Motown)
PETER FRAMPTON: ‘Show Me The Way’ (A&M)
KEITH EMERSON: ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ (Manticore)

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