April 30, 1977: best selling 12-inchers, David & The Giants, ZZ Top, Heatwave, Moment Of Truth

Paul Saville manages Adrian’s record shop in Wickford Shopping Hall in Essex, which stocks all current 12-inchers.  To give a guide as to what’s happening with the big 45s, he’s sent a chart of their best sellers:

GEORGIE FAME: ‘Daylight’ (Island)
UNDISPUTED TRUTH: ‘You + Me = Love’ (Whitfield) (Billboard chart debut 7/24/76)
WILTON PLACE STREET BAND: ‘Disco Lucy’ (Island) (Billboard chart debut 12/18/76)
JACKSONS: ‘Enjoy Yourself’ (Epic) (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
TELEVISION: ‘Marquee Moon’ (Elektra)
CERRONE: ‘Love In C Minor’ (Atlantic) (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
BONEY M: ‘No Woman, No Cry’ / ‘Daddy Cool’ (Atlantic) (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
TAVARES: ‘Mighty Power Of Love’ (Capitol) (mentioned in Billboard column 6/5/76, Billboard chart debut 7/10/76)
EDDIE QUANSAH: ‘Che Che Kule’ (Island)

That last one’s a new one to me, too!

Most eagerly sought 12-incher of the moment must be the limited 300 copy pressing of MARVIN GAYE ‘Got To Give It Up’ / ‘Let’s Get It On’ / ‘I Want You’ (Motown PSLP 216).  Another hot promotional number is a special 12-inch sampler with BONEY M ‘Fever’ / TRAMMPS ‘Disco Inferno’ / CERRONE ‘Love In C Minor’ / SLAVE ‘You And Me’ / TELEVISION ‘Friction’ / EAGLES ‘Hotel California’ (WEA Int’l SAM 78) – wow wow!!  The commercial 12-inch is now out of the edited TRAMMPS ‘Disco Inferno’ (Atlantic K 10914), while the only strong track on the DETROIT SPINNERS 12-inch 70p EP is ‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’ (Atlantic K 10935).  Finally, the prettiest in package and content (though not very disco) is the promotional HEART ‘Dreamboat Annie’ (Arista/Mushroom), which at just 2:10 and 33rpm is crammed onto the first inch of the record . . . which wastes the whole idea.

New Spins

DAVID & THE GIANTS: ‘Ten Miles High’ (Capitol CL 15915)
Terrific freakily phased Northern stormer from ’68, with ‘Judy In Disguise’ beat and hit sound.

ZZ TOP: ‘Arrested For Driving While Blind’ (London HLU 10547)
Great get-it-on boogie, mixes well with Steve Gibbons’s ‘Tulane’ and the Queen 45.

HEATWAVE: ‘Slip Your Disc To This’ (GTO GT 91)
Fine funky tight flip, but the official ‘Too Hot To Handle‘ A-side’s a messy, poor relation of ‘Boogie Nights’.  Continue reading “April 30, 1977: best selling 12-inchers, David & The Giants, ZZ Top, Heatwave, Moment Of Truth”

April 23, 1977: “12-inch singles are still getting a mixed response”

12-inch singles are still getting a mixed response, with several DJ’s making some pertinent points about them.

Stevie Quinn (Mallorca) cynically observes, “having 12-inch copies available at less than a quid does help sell a single which wouldn’t necessarily hit the chart.  For instance, it was only the 12-incher that finally sold Boney M’s ‘Daddy Cool’ to the public – the same goes for Undisputed Truth, Jacksons, Cerrone, and will also apply to T-Connection’s ‘Do What You Wanna Do’, which will sell like crazy once it’s out.”

Alan Farmer (Penicuik) reasons, “I play 12-inch 45’s if they are the full version of a tune – not the edited 7-inch version – and prefer that speed to 33rpm as there is a marked quality increase at the higher speed, and wider groove spacing.”  (Not always the case, actually, Alan!)  “Also to a lesser extent, the ego-tripping element comes into it.  For me, 12-inch rools – OK!”

Johnny King (Bristol) puts his case both for and against the 12-inchers.  For them, he says.  “They’re far superior in quality; when in colourful cardboard covers, they’re easier to find and better protected; they’re becoming a big talking point between the dancers at Scamps and myself, thus helping my customer liaison.”

Against them, Johnny adds, “They’re bulky to store in the limited space available at a residency, giving me less room for LP’s; they’re recorded at both 33 and 45, causing confusion and mistakes, and should be standardised to one or the other; they’re often longer than the commercial singles, making them useful once the tune is known, but too long to establish easily as a newie.”

Dave Porter (Liverpool), who started the ball rolling, has the final word again.  “Before the situation gets out of hand, 12-inchers should be reserved for special product or good quality disco material, not just anything.  Already the idea is being abused in the hope that poor material will be played by DJ’s just because it’s on 12-inch.  When mailing them out, record companies should send the DJ an ordinary 7-inch copy too, as this will remind him about the 12-incher stored in another box . . . and should be easier to keep as a subsequent oldie.”

This week’s 12-inch releases (promotional and commercial) include ELTON JOHN ‘Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)’ (Rocket GUAD 1) – both long and edited versions, re-mixed by Tom Moulton! – AVERAGE WHITE BAND ‘Goin’ Home‘ (Atlantic SAM 76), J. VINCENT EDWARDS ‘Too Hot To Handle‘ (Pye 7N 45687), SERGIO MENDES ‘The Real Thing‘ / ORLEANS ‘Reach‘ (Elektra / Asylum SAM 77), OZO ‘Anambra‘ (DJM DJT 10764) – both long and edited.  All are at 45rpm.

New Spins

WILLIAM BELL: ‘If Sex Was All We Had’ (Mercury 6167424)
Dynamite sexy smoocher, flip to his Memphis-sound US smash ‘Tryin’ To Love Two‘.

DONNIE ELBERT: ‘What Do You Do’ (All Platinum 6146321)
Superb mellow groover, hidden as flip to the squeakily speeded-up Shirelles oldie ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’.  Continue reading “April 23, 1977: “12-inch singles are still getting a mixed response””

April 16, 1977: Marvin Gaye, Karma, Deep Purple, Simon May, Yvonne Elliman

New Spins

MARVIN GAYE: ‘Got To Give It Up’ (from LP ‘Live’, Motown TMSP 6006) (Billboard chart debut 4/2/77)
The ultimate 12-incher, one whole side of double LP devoted to this incredible, ethereal, jaunty chugger, feather light but funky.

KARMA: ‘Funk De Mambo’ (A&M AMS 7283) (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)
Much-imported percussive funker, complex but catchy.

DEEP PURPLE: ‘Smoke On The Water’ / ‘Woman From Tokyo’ (Purple PUR 132)
Double disco dynamite!  Continue reading “April 16, 1977: Marvin Gaye, Karma, Deep Purple, Simon May, Yvonne Elliman”

April 9, 1977: “The flood of 12-inch singles continues.”

The flood of 12-inch singles continues as more and more record companies realise that the initial sales spurt generated at small cost by a limited number of these “big 45’s” is enough to make the single show up on the national charts.  Hence, incidentally, the reason why many 12-inchers bear the same catalogue number as the ordinary 7-inch version!

Feelings among DJ’s are still mixed about the 12-inch phenomenon.  Personally, I find myself using more albums now that I’ve mixed up the 12-inchers with them in my LP boxes – others find the 12-inchers too bulky to carry.  Again, I prefer them at 33 1/3rpm, finding that the slower speed produces less friction from the slip-mat and makes them easier to cue.  However, the majority now prefer them at 45rpm, as the speed then doesn’t need changing by DJ’s who don’t normally use many albums.

Dave Porter of Liverpool’s Oscar club has written in with his views: “The US and UK disco charts are now dominated by 12-inch products – how long before the record companies send out everything in that form?  I can see the supposed advantages – different mix, longer version, eye-catching appeal – but will they still be special when and if that happens?”

“They are already on sale to the public before there has been any standardisation of playing speed, so that DJ’s and customers alike are confused by the often unmarked difference of speeds.  They are neither LP’s nor singles, but take up the space of the former.  I tend to forget about them, as I find the 7-inchers much handier to use and remember.”

Those are Dave’s thoughts: what are yours?  Let me know, both DJ’s and general public.

This week’s 12-inch releases are JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON ‘A Real Mother For Ya’ (DJM DJT 10762) – a semi-slowie with not much disco appeal – of which 5,000 commercially-available copies have been pressed, and CAROL WOODS ‘I’m In Wonderland’ (RCA PB 5012 DJ) – a 7:14 Northern squawker with a long instrumental break from Ian Levine – of which only 800 promotional copies were made.  Continue reading “April 9, 1977: “The flood of 12-inch singles continues.””

April 2, 1977: TK label launch – Ralph MacDonald, Timmy Thomas, Latimore, KC & The Sunshine Band.

RCA’s first product on their new TK label – British outlet for Florida’s complex of TK, Glades, Alston, Dash, Marlin, etc – is a set of four albums and two singles.  However, the big news is what’s yet to come!  At the beginning of May, RCA will be launching the TK Disco 12-inch series in this country, selling the highly-prized “big 45’s” at an economical price.

Their plan is to press the first 10,000 copies of all the TK releases in 12-inch form, making 7-inch two-parters for radio and subsequent commercial release.

Slated to lead the 12-inch assault are T-CONNECTION ‘Do What You Wanna Do’, an insistently rattling stormer that’s rightly the States’ biggest disco hit of the moment, FUNK MACHINE ‘Funk Machine’ and JIMMY BO HORNE ‘Get Happy’.

Meanwhile, the initial release of albums sees the influential percussionist RALPH MACDONALD finally out on his own.  As a supersession accompanist he’s been largely responsible for the current percussion trend in disco music.  His ‘Sound Of A Drum‘ (TK XL 14030) has his big hit dancer, the happy ‘Calypso Breakdown’, as well as the lovely ‘Where Is The Love‘ and Latin-type ‘Mr. Magic‘.

TIMMY THOMAS ‘The Magician‘ (XL 14044) has his big ‘Stone To The Bone’, a light and airy instrumental with chix, but the title-track single (XB 9052) is a more forceful and less effective vocal.  Continue reading “April 2, 1977: TK label launch – Ralph MacDonald, Timmy Thomas, Latimore, KC & The Sunshine Band.”