August 27, 1977: “Elvis Presley was the biggest influence on my formative years”

Elvis Presley was the biggest influence on my formative years, and back in the fifties/early sixties could literally be called my god. When, as an innocent kid, I heard a 78rpm wind-up gramophone playing his ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ in 1956, I experienced the only true mystical revelation of my life. I didn’t know what it was and couldn’t make out the words, but I knew that this was for me.

From that point on, I suffered the teasing that all true fans know, and the chiding of my parents for growing sideburns (which I kept until the beard grew in ’70!).

Without Elvis, I may well have become interested in music anyway – but without Elvis would music have been the same? Certainly, it was to recapture the intensity of his earlier records that in the early sixties I turned towards R&B and soul music when his own material became less potent. Thus my life was moulded.

As a DJ, I naturally use many Presley platters whenever the occasion calls for some rock ‘n roll, and experience has taught me that (of his uptempo tunes) this is the Elvis Top Ten: ‘Return To Sender’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Hound Dog’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Wear My Ring Around Your Neck’, ‘Mean Woman Blues’, ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’, ‘All Shook Up’, ‘I Got Stung’, ‘Baby Let’s Play House’ (the last being his best rockabilly bopper).

He wasn’t meant to die. Ever. But then he wasn’t meant to get old, grow fat and play Vegas, either.


New Spins

GIORGIO: ‘Utopia – Me Giorgio’ (Oasis 1)
Wow! Donna’s producer now hits us with his own synthesizer pounder – a fast instrumental in the Space bag – but wait for his terrific continuously seguing album, out in a fortnight . . . it’s dynaMITE!

CELI BEE & THE BUZZY BUNCH: ‘One Love’ (TK XC 9145) (BNDA debut 4/9/77)
Great long-awaited frothy fast rhythm rattler, particularly good after the trite singing stops in the second half. It’s a full-length 8:08 commercial 12-incher, in T-Connection style!

STEVIE WONDER: ‘Another Star’ (Motown TMG 1083) (BNDA debut 10/23/76)
Almost as pretty as ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ and always big in US discos, the happy subtle salsa-style rhythm builder’s been remixed for 45.
Continue reading “August 27, 1977: “Elvis Presley was the biggest influence on my formative years””

August 20, 1977: Disco chart expands to a Top 50, Emotions, Space, Floaters, Crystals

New Spins

EMOTIONS: ‘Best Of My Love’ (CBS 5555) (BNDA debut 6/11/77)
Powerhouse squeaky chugger, truly huge on import and a US smash for months, belatedly rushed out here by DJ demand.

SPACE: ‘Magic Fly’ LP (Pye NSPL 28232) (BNDA debut 6/4/77)
Hottest album of the summer for disco synthesizer freaks: ‘Carry On, Turn Me On’ actually has some Donna-type chanting, while the pounding ‘Tango In Space’, hit title track and ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ are purely instrumental – and very exciting.

FLOATERS: ‘Float On’ (from LP ‘Floaters’, ABC ABCL 5229)
For those without the 12-inch, the full 11:49 version is best begun at the great “Aquarius, Libra, Leo, Cancer” start of the vocal half. There are other nice slowies and some faster dancers too.  Continue reading “August 20, 1977: Disco chart expands to a Top 50, Emotions, Space, Floaters, Crystals”

August 13, 1977: Donna Summer, La Belle Epoque, Jean-Michel Jarre, Camouflage, Diana Ross & The Supremes

New Spins

DONNA SUMMER: ‘Down Deep Inside’ (Casablanca CAN 111) (Billboard chart debut 7/2/77)
The theme from ‘The Deep’ is more ‘Love To Love’ than ‘Feel Love’, though the jittery thump beat is bang up to date. Instrumental flip.

LA BELLE EPOQUE: ‘Black Is Black’ (Harvest HAR 5133) (Billboard chart debut 6/18/77)
Huge Northern import from Europe, now 12-inched at 70p, is the old Los Bravos ‘I’m On Fire’ tune given the Munich sound.

JEAN MICHEL JARRE: ‘Oxygene (Part 4)’ (Polydor 2001721)
More continental synthetics like Space and Donna, but less urgent in tempo.  Continue reading “August 13, 1977: Donna Summer, La Belle Epoque, Jean-Michel Jarre, Camouflage, Diana Ross & The Supremes”

August 6, 1977: Star Wars singles, Mass Production, Instant Funk, Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch, Ritchie Family

‘Star Wars’, America’s blockbusting sci-fi movie smash, shown here later in the year – has sparked off a new craze and a US chart war of its own. The John Williams-penned main theme (a bit like ‘Born Free’ and ‘The Big Country’ combined) is a straight sound-track winner by London Symphony Orchestra (20th Century), but the disco battle rages between Meco (Millennium), Graffiti Orchestra (Prodigal) and David Matthews (CTI). Meco (Meco Monardo in mufti) has the most interesting version, being edited from a continuous 15:47 album track medley of all the film’s music in disco style, with great freaky synthesized sound effects on ‘Music Inspired by Star Wars, and Other Galactic Funk’ (Millennium MNLP 8001).

Mass Production ‘I Believe In Music’ (US Cotillion LP/Disco 12-inch) has been rushed out to a few key jocks prior to its UK release soon. A real hotsie, it combines rattling percussion, ‘Dazz’ bass and voice-box gimmickry with the group’s heavy brass and vocal sound for an almost overpowering onslaught. It sure is excitingly busy if not exactly tuneful – but as T-Connection managed to sell on its sheer disco power, then so should this. The ‘People Get Up’ flip has a good DJ intro before hitting a more Brass Construction groove.  Continue reading “August 6, 1977: Star Wars singles, Mass Production, Instant Funk, Celi Bee & The Buzzy Bunch, Ritchie Family”

July 30, 1977: Bruce Johnston, Philadelphia International All Stars, James Brown, George Benson, Muscles

New Spins

BRUCE JOHNSTON: ‘Pipeline’ (CBS 5514) (Billboard chart debut 7/16/77)
Dynamite disco retread of the Chantay’s old surfing instrumental, on 7-inch here in all its 6:50 power and glory.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL ALL STARS: ‘Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto’ (Philadelphia Int’l PIR 5451) (Billboard chart debut 7/23/77)
Superb funky chugger featuring Messrs Rawls, Paul, Bell, Pendergrass, Levert and Ms Sharp. Try mixing with Marv’s ‘Got To Give It Up’!

JAMES BROWN: ‘Honky Tonk’ (Polydor 2068834)
Specially lengthened happily whapping ’72 version of Bill Doggett’s instrumental classic, with similarly lengthened ‘Brother Rapp‘ flip.  Continue reading “July 30, 1977: Bruce Johnston, Philadelphia International All Stars, James Brown, George Benson, Muscles”

July 23, 1977: Space, Blonde On Blonde, Peter Gabriel, Yellow Dog, Four Seasons

New Spins

SPACE: ‘Magic Fly’ (Pye 7N 25746) (Billboard chart debut 6/4/77)
Donna Summer-like (though less shrill sounding) synthetic instrumental pounder, rushed out to beat import sales.

BLONDE ON BLONDE: ‘Subway’ (Chrysalis CHS 2158)
Pretty page 3 duo do the Bee Gees hustler surprisingly well – worth checking.

PETER GABRIEL: ‘Modern Love’ (Charisma CB 302)
Great chunky white rock funker, should go well with Bad Co, Roxy & Co.  Continue reading “July 23, 1977: Space, Blonde On Blonde, Peter Gabriel, Yellow Dog, Four Seasons”

July 16, 1977: Floaters, Shalamar, C.J. & Co, Grace Jones, Detroit Emeralds

Anchor Records’ set of 12-inch EPs on their ABC label – known as “+Fours” – feature 4 tracks each artist and cost 99p (normal price in 7-inch form though). The acts chosen are not very disco orientated, but useable tracks are JOE WALSH ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ / ‘Walk Away (Live)’ (ABE 12002), MAMAS & PAPAS ‘Dedicated To The One I Love’ / ‘California Dreamin’’ / ‘Monday Monday’ (ABE 12006), ALICE COOPER ‘Department Of Youth’ (ABE 12001).

Island Records have three reggae 12-inchers in their “Limited Edition” series – the freaky fast JUNIOR MURVIN ‘Tedious’ (IPR 2001), throbbing slow CONGOES ‘Congo Man’ (Black Swan BS 1) and cool bassy GEORGE FAITH ‘To Be A Lover’ c/w UPSETTERS ‘Rastaman Shuffle’ (BS 2).


New Spins

FLOATERS: ‘Float On’ (ABC 4187)
Much imported dreamy smoocher, 12-inched with elongated 11:49 and edited 4:13 sides. The last half of the long side is much stronger than the short singles version, which stupidly misses the catchy slow “Aquarius, Libra, Leo, Cancer” intro. A summertime smash!

SHALAMAR: ‘Uptown Festival’ LP (Soul Train FL 12289) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 4/23/77, LP Billboard chart debut 5/14/77)
For those without the 12-inch, here’s the full 8:52 version – plus a copy of the Jacksons’ great ’75 leaper, ‘Forever Came Today‘.

C.J. & CO.: ‘Devil’s Gun’ LP (Atlantic K 50380) (LP mentioned in Billboard column 4/16/77, LP Billboard chart debut 4/23/77)
The full 7:14 title track, similar 9:30 ‘We Got Our Own Thing‘ and 7:30 ‘Sure Can’t Go To The Moon‘ are hotter than a pistol!  Continue reading “July 16, 1977: Floaters, Shalamar, C.J. & Co, Grace Jones, Detroit Emeralds”