ONCE AGAIN the spotlight hits the podium. Ray McVay strikes up the band, Peter Gordeno comes dimpling into view, and . . . what the hell has this to do with disco? Yes folks, on a more serious note, it’s time for the Hammy Awards for 1980!
LABEL OF THE YEAR:
“White Label”, the hottest logo of the lot (at least at Record Shack!).
RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR:
WEA (including Atlantic, Elektra, WEA, Warner Bros, Whitfield, Carrere), way out ahead with their number of hits among our year-end chart champs.
RUNNERS UP: (scored by number and stature of hits):
2) CBS (including CBS, Epic, Philadelphia International, Tabu, TK),
3) PRT (including Calibre, Sugarhill, Excaliber, Casablanca, Vanguard),
4) Phonogram (including Mercury, De-Lite, Ensign),
5) RCA (including Solar, RCA, 20th Century-Fox, Milestone),
6) Motown, 7) Arista, 8) EMI (including Capitol, Island, EMI, UA, Source),
9=) DJM/Champagne, 9=) A&M.
HIT OF THE YEAR:
Whispers: ‘And The Beat Goes On’ (Solar).
IMPORT OF THE YEAR:
Ned Doheny: ‘To Prove My Love’ (Japanese CBS Sony LP – evidently due for belated CBS 12in soon).
12in OF THE YEAR:
‘Bits & Pieces III’.
LP CUT OF THE YEAR:
MFSB: ‘Mysteries Of The World’ (US TSOP – purely because it’s the biggest so far not yet to be put out on 12in).
OLDIE OF THE YEAR:
Donald Byrd: ‘(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes’ (US Blue Note LP ‘Live At The Roxy’).
HITS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN (if they’d been better marketed):
Raydio: ‘For Those Who Like To Groove‘ (Arista), Ben E ‘King: ‘Music Trance‘ (Atlantic), Ronnie Laws ‘O.T.B.A. Law‘ (UA), Starship Orchestra: ‘You’re A Star‘ (CBS), Bobby Thurston: ‘You Got What It Takes’ (Epic).
MARKETING PLOY OF THE YEAR: Arista creating a buzz on Tom Browne ‘Funkin For Jamaica’ via acetates and getting the 12ín out here ahead of the US.
Record Shack proving you can fool some of the people some of the time by making them think that a white label is in itself worth buying blind. Morgan Khan’s belief that anything already recorded can be made more saleable by a remix.
DISCO PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR:
Morgan Khan, still with a word power problem but now slightly better understood, whose enthusiasm for disco is a 24 hour-a-day obsession.
RCA’s David ‘Rowdy’ Yeats, whose real job is actually in Marketing but that doesn’t stop him.
TREND OF THE YEAR:
EVENT OF THE YEAR:
Showstopper Promotions’ Knebworth National Soul Day (and not any ill-fated imitations!)
JOCK OF THE YEAR:
Chris Hill, still the most visible, audible, sensible and outright most impressive of them all.
MIXER OF THE YEAR:
IN THE GROOVE:
SLIMMER OF THE YEAR:
SHOULD TRY HARDER:
FIRST ON THE ‘URBAN COWBOY’ COUNTRY & WESTERN BAND- WAGON:
James ‘Fish’ Heron (which bandwagon was that, or was it really big in Stranraer?).
IF KELLY MARIE CAN DO IT WHY CAN’T SPARGO AND MASSARA?:
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO:
Boney M, Chic, Sister Sledge?
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR:
ALBUM SLEEVE YOU’D LEAST LIKE TO WAKE UP NEXT TO:
Prince: ‘Dirty Mind’.
WETTEST TIME OF THE YEAR:
February 1980 in Los Angeles with ‘The Wonderful World Of Webb’ Tours.
BEST TRIP OF THE YEAR:
M1 – M6 – A66 – A595 to the Whitehouse in Whitehaven.
MOST TRAVELLED ROUTE OF THE YEAR:
A12 to and from Caister.
COFFEE TABLE TOME OF THE YEAR:
Bruno Brown’s ‘Family Album’.
DANCE OF THE YEAR:
A NICE LADY REALLY:
WHO SHOT J.R.?:
Don Ghostey (or was it Geno D’Sothy?).
WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES (SCAM OF THE YEAR):
Well, that little lot will have to do. Thanks for all your Christmas cards. See you in the New Year . . . and (I almost forgot) – KEEP IT GOOD!
1980 – THE YEAR that “disco died”. Oh Yeah? The Americans for some reason may have got cold feet and allowed the media to kill the goose that in 1979 had laid so many golden eggs, but here in Britain if anything, disco in chart terms was never more powerful. The economic recession may have resulted in fewer records being sold, and as the year wore on, in fewer people going out dancing so often, but for several reasons it was obvious that the British are a disco-orientated nation. It is true that 1980 probably saw a real fragmentation within the disco arena of clubs, pubs, mobiles, dance halls and all other venues, dividing them into those that specialise in general popular “dance” music and those that specialise in hard jazz-funk, soul or what is known now as disco. Despite this broadening of the mass taste in dance music, the market for soul-type disco showed its strength as sales of other types of music slumped around it. Soul has always been a fairly predictable seller (just as has been the year’s other “unexpected growth music”, heavy metal) so that when sales in general reached a low ebb, the fans and especially DJs buying the disco releases in their usual steady amounts were enough to push certain records into the charts on sales that previously would not have been sufficient to reach the Top 75. Of course, once a record is seen to be selling, even if in fact only relatively within a depressed market, the media may be more inclined to feature it and – the important factor – record shops to stock it. When those conditions were allied to Top Of The Pops being off the TV screens, the disco hits really had a field day! Jazz-funk may not have won over everyone – the year’s biggest seller (John Lennon not-withstanding) was Kelly Marie, proving that old-style zingy “disco” is still alive too, and Liquid Gold, Ottawan, Lipps Inc, the Nolans and more are a legacy from the previous almost prehistoric disco era who still loom large within the sphere of generally popular dance music. However, it’s fairly safe to say that never before have so many surprisingly hard-core soul and jazz-funk records scored so consistently well within the pop sales charts. Even if radio is unwilling to feature the music outside of its specialist programmes (the ratings of which have grown this year too), at least it’s obvious that this is the music that a large and loyal following are prepared to buy. So, disco is dead? Long live disco! Continue reading “December 27, 1980: Hammy Awards 1980 / “The year that disco died” / End of Year Chart 1980″