May 15, 1976: “That makes it a disco record?!”

Two weeks ago I suggested that if records like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Music’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘Fernando’ were being requested but not danced to, they did not deserve to be included in a disco chart.

DJ response was varied though fairly united as to the non-danceability of the records mentioned.  Only Steve Lloyd (SL Discos, Llanelli) found that his 16 to 19 year old audiences danced to the whole of the Queen and ABBA sides.

Stuart (Raquels, Wakefield) said “no, no, no” they don’t dance, and observed that the records mentioned were requested mainly by fellas who had no dress sense and were generally untidy – not the sort of guys that a girl would look at, let along dance with!  When ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was current he in fact refused to play it because he knew it would upset the people who were dancing.

“Dirty Harry” Park (Corner House, Heaton), Frank Wavish (De-Luxe Disco, Plympton) and Les Aron (Seagull Club, Selsey) play the popular non-dancers at the start (and sometimes at the end) of the evening, and having got them out of the way then get on with the real disco records.  But they don’t chart the non-dancers.

Ian Walton (Caesars Lodge, Nailsworth, Stroud) recommended making a diplomatic excuse about not playing the non-dance record requested (“Sorry, I broke it!”), and then playing something else by the same artist that is danceable.  Another way in his eyes is not to buy the dreaded record in the first place!  He finds that ‘Music’ is a good closing record if faded up from a slowie into the “classical” break and voiced-over before the final climax.

Predictably, the dancers’ angle was represented exclusively by some female fans of Freddy Mercury and Queen.  Elizabeth Fletcher (Egham) thinks ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is bliss and the ideal accompaniment for a lovely intimate smooch with a dishy male.  Kathleen Easton (Catford) finds it the most perfect accompaniment for free expression.  In fact, her idea of free expression is to rehearse for days to the music and then dance in a trance before three hundred college students, none of whom could dance to it at all.  That makes it a disco record?!

Yvonne Castle (Charlton) doesn’t request Queen because her local DJ won’t play it, but he does play the flip which she can dance to.  In any case she finds that she can dance to all these records just by “doing her own thing” regardless of tempo changes, which is as good an answer as any.  Continue reading “May 15, 1976: “That makes it a disco record?!””

May 8, 1976: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Dion, Sound 9418, Muscle Shoals Horns, Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band

New Spins

HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES: ‘Tell The World How I Feel About ‘Cha Baby’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 4238) (Billboard chart debut 12/6/75)
A disco and radio smash in New York three months ago (check back to my Disco 1976 reports for interesting reading with hindsight), this shortened LP cut remains a perfect blend of soulful vocal and hustling thumping rhythm.

DION: ‘The Wanderer’ (Philips 6146700)
A classic that has gained in stature since it hit in 1962, Dion’s powerful swaggering macho love ’em and leave ’em stomper is all set to hit again.  ‘Little Diane‘ makes a fine flip for fans, but can’t equal the top for dynamic disco oomph.  A must!

SOUND 9418: ‘The Yam’ (UK 131)
Debuted by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in 1938’s ‘Carefree’, this gaily tripping instrumental works well as happy MoR – even if it is more clodhopping than toe-tapping in its heavy-handed rhythm.  Actually, I’m impressed!  Continue reading “May 8, 1976: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Dion, Sound 9418, Muscle Shoals Horns, Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band”

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

April 24, 1976: Silver Convention, AC/DC, Donna Summer, The Moments, Alan White

New Spins

SILVER CONVENTION: ‘Discotheque Volume 2’ LP (Magnet MAG 5011) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 3/27/76, Billboard chart debut 4/17/76)
A predictable but effective disco formula makes ‘No No Joe’, ‘San Francisco Hustle‘ and ‘You’ve Got What It Takes‘ into dancefloor rivals for lead track ‘Get Up And Boogie’ in the States, while here the catchy clapping rhythm pattern of ‘Play Me Like A Yoyo’ could be bigger.

AC/DC: ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N Roll)’ / ‘Can I Sit Next To You Girl’ (Atlantic K 10745)
Not to be missed by rock jocks, these Aussie youngsters boogie Stones/Elton John-style, with bagpipe noises yet! Yeah, they get it on — and possibly even more on the punkier flip.

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Love Trilogy’ LP (GTO GTLP 010) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 3/6/76, Billboard chart debut 3/20/76)
Side one flows without a gap through ‘Try Me’, ‘I Know’, ‘We Can Make It’ and ‘Try Me I Know We Can Make It’. . . clever, huh? This time it’s all quite funky, fast and bouncy, with the energy level picking up at each shift in emphasis until the very last section, which is the only weak link.  Continue reading “April 24, 1976: Silver Convention, AC/DC, Donna Summer, The Moments, Alan White”

April 17, 1976: Babe Ruth, Mandrill, The Corries, Jonathan King, Teagarden Revival

New Spins

BABE RUTH: ‘Elusive’ (Capitol CL 15869) (Billboard chart debut 11/29/75)
A funky disco hit since last year, this joyfully leaping album cut is finally out on 45, though edited in half.

MANDRILL: ‘Panama’ / ‘Disco-lypso’ (UA UP 36103) (Billboard chart debut 1/24/76)
Happy calypso-ish A-side should be good MoR while the funkier flip (a US hit) is much stronger disco fare.

THE CORRIES: ‘Wha Wadna ‘Fecht For Charlie’ (EMI 2447)
‘Jungle Rock’ cum ‘Burundi Black’ drumming sound makes this jig-type folk song a left-fielder that could reward adventurous jocks.  Continue reading “April 17, 1976: Babe Ruth, Mandrill, The Corries, Jonathan King, Teagarden Revival”

April 10, 1976: Kool And The Gang, Jeff Perry, Suzanne Stevens, Glenn Miller, Easy Street

New Spins

KOOL AND THE GANG: ‘Love And Understanding’ (Polydor 2001645)
This perturbing funky hustler has a long instrumental build-up to some KC-type chanting which oozes in through the rhythmic crescendo, only to end in a strange mid-air anti-climax.

JEFF PERRY: ‘Love Don’t Come No Stronger’ (Arista 51)
Slow intro to a happily romping Pop-Soul hand-clapper of wide appeal.

SUZANNE STEVENS: ‘Make Me Your Baby’ (Capitol CL 15861).
Maddeningly nagging melody sung by a cool Anne Murray/Helen Reddy voice over lightly hustling backing.  Continue reading “April 10, 1976: Kool And The Gang, Jeff Perry, Suzanne Stevens, Glenn Miller, Easy Street”

April 3, 1976: Keith Emerson, Atlanta Disco Band, Mel Blanc, Chubby Checker, Mutter Slater

New Spins

KEITH EMERSON: ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ (Manticore K 13513)
ELP’s Keith turns to his “other” piano as he knocks out a great swinging version of Meade Lux Lewis’s 1930s boogie-woogie raver. Authentic in every way, Benny Goodman-type backing and all!

ATLANTA DISCO BAND: ‘Bad Luck’ (AriolaAmerica AA 102) (Billboard chart debut 10/4/75)
A disco smash since last year on import, this ultra-rhythmic bumpy bass and jiggly guitar instrumental is an established classic already. Drummer Earl Young was never busier!

MEL BLANC: ‘I Taut I Taw A Puddy-Tat’ (Capitol CL 15866)
Probably best if used only in part, as a surprise insert, this vintage silliness is indeed Tweetie-Pie and friend of cartoon fame. Lotsa laffs, while the flip’s ‘That’s All Folks’.  Continue reading “April 3, 1976: Keith Emerson, Atlanta Disco Band, Mel Blanc, Chubby Checker, Mutter Slater”