Disco Sounds & The Disco Era
This category consists of disco, or disco sounds of the 70s-80s. Lots of great stuff in our music history. You’ll find some of the biggest dance hits of that era. Hope you enjoy the flashbacks.
I’d like to introduce young folk to the late Joe Tex. He was another favorite of mine I used to listen to all the time. I think that in this era of music streaming, young folk who are starting out in the music business today can learn a lot from knowing about artists like Joe Tex. The reason is because he only had a total of 27 songs that registered somewhere on the Top 100 Billboard Charts; however, only 3 of them reached Top 10 status.
Why is that important? Because the longer I blog, I’ve begun to clearly understand that numbers don’t always equate with someone’s true talent. Even more complicated than that, sometimes an album could be on the low #200 position, but a song on that same record could reach Top 10 status. Despite Joe only having 3 Top 10 Hits, his other music was so popular that even the singles that didn’t make good sales, were played very much on radio and clubs. So, there was no question about his vocal talent.
One of my very favorites growing up was a song called “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (with No Big Fat Woman) (1977).” It only peaked at #12, but this was the sh*t back in the day. I don’t remember not hearing this song on family parties and barbecues. You know, when you listen to the lyrics of this song, it was innocent yet hilarious! But, a song like this would never be made again in this day and age; every single “fat” activist would have overwhelmed both the artist and label with accusations of fat shaming. Great song tho.
Another popular favorite was “I Gotcha (1972),” which reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. I absolutely loved this song, because it had a very Blaxploitation feel to it. Sounded like it could have came straight out of a Cleopatra Jones soundtrack. Now, Joe didn’t only sing dance music; he sang a many of wonderful ballads. At #5 “Hold What You’ve Got (1965),” was a very popular song that contained a lot of true wisdom about love and relationships. Another beautiful ballad (but never made the charts); was called “Green Green Grass Of Home,” originally sung by Johnny Darrell. However, I only remembered hearing Tom Jone’s version. In fact, Joe kind of sounded like Tom a lot. My late grandpa used to play this a lot too. So many interpretations by many artists, but for the life of me I can’t find when Joe originally released this version. My best guess is around 1978. This wonderful and talented man was taken away from us at the age of only 49.Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner – Chap Guard, Great Barrier Coco Herbal Lavender For Skin And Lip
Boy, talk about a forgotten music group!! Man o man!! The Sylvers were a bunch of family members who decided to start a musical group in the early seventies, and kicked the dance scene’s ass with their incredible talent! The Sylvers grew up and raised in Chicago (Chicago must be like Nashville or something, a lot of big music acts seem to come from Chicago). There musical sound was very Jackson(esk), but mostly heavy on the funk. Watching them perform was almost like watching an African American version of The Jets.
It’s funny, it was amazing hearing some of the craziest things Black folk used to say back in the day. When I was a kid, I remembered a couple of family members who tried to tell us that The Sylvers were our cousins. I’ve NEVER saw any photos of them with at least one member of my immediate family. One person actually told me that they were our cousins because “we all had good hair.” 😂 🤣 Any young kids reading my blog, if there’s one thing you’ve got to learn from my blog, is that Black folk were OBSESSED WITH HAIR in the seventies. Oh my goodness!!
The Sylvers were active between the early 1970s thru 1985, and produced several albums. The first major hit of their career was a song called “Boogie Fever (1976),” which hit number 1, and stayed number 1 for one week. This song became a Black dance anthem back in the day! Their second biggest hit was a song called “Hot Line (1977),” which became another dance anthem as well. I remember them performing these songs on Soul Train. Another cute song is “High School Dance (1977),” and the beat was reminiscent of Sly Stone’s musical style. They’ve recorded some great songs that haven’t hit the charts. I recommend checking out “We Can Make It If We Try (1973).” It’s actually my most favorite of all their recordings.
Today, I’d like to write about an awesome classic, Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. The Hues Corporation probably became the most famous Black musical group on the planet, because of their hit “Rock The Boat,” which was released in 1974. This massively popular song became their one an only major hit single. The song reached #1 for a total of one week!
Song Reached #1 For One Week!
Although the song only stayed number one for a week; It felt like it was still number one for years I remember waking up, the stations were paying it; came home from school and the stations were playing it; barbecues parties were playing it; oh my goodness!! You young kids just don’t understand. Despite only having one big hit, that big hit was a major contribution to Black disco music.
They officially got together as a group in 1969, and dominated the disco scene with their first album featuring “Rock The Boat.” Now, according to sources, the single sold over 2 million copies. However, I don’t know what the cut off date was? Because even when the song finally dropped off the charts, we still heard it in commercials and other venues, which means it was till making money. I am almost positive that even when they removed their 7″ from circulation, the 12″ versions are usually sold for a lot longer. Not sure if those are under a different category? Interesting now that I think about it.
The group disbanded by the eighties, and once again reformed sometime in the 90s. I believe the current members are Flemming Williams, St. Claire Lee, & H. Ann Kelley. The group still looks good by the way, especially Flemming; I’ve read reports that he was heavy in to drugs unfortunately. Can’t say that I’m surprised at that. This was something that was unfortunately common. Other musicians loved to work with The Hues Corporation. To my understanding, they had great relationships with other groups such as The Spinners.
The Group Appeared In The 1972 Cult Movie Classic, Blacula!
There’s one other song that did not do too bad on the charts. The song is called “Rockin’ Soul,” which is on the same album. It reached #18 on the Top 100. I think it’s an ok song. It’s kind of reminiscent of “Rock The Boat,” it has that same obvious flavor. Let me say that this album was not a bad album; they’re a very talented group; it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a lot of huge hits.
I’d like to recommend one last song from this album. The song is called, “I’ll Take A Melody.” I am very surprised that this didn’t make the charts. The medley kind of reminds me of Ann Murry’s “A Love Song,” which is also another one of my very favorite classic country songs.
Oh boy. Do I remember the song called Ten Percent by Double Exposure. I was only nine years old when I was grooving to this song. Having said that, I guess this is one of those rare moments, when it comes to disco music, and disco remixes, the beat is important if you want people to dance. I don’t even think I was paying attention to the lyrics at that age; but boy did I love to groove to this song.
Group Was Extremely Underrated
As talented as this group was, the group was extremely underrated in my strong opinion. Although Ten Percent did reach the 2nd position on the Billboard Dance Charts, they should have had way more than that. That is, considering the fact that their sound was very close to that of Tavares, and The 4 Tops; and both those groups had huge success.
They Were Signed To Salsoul Records
I had absolutely no idea, or memory that they were signed to Salsoul Records at the time this gem was released. Now, if anyone knows about disco & Latin disco, the Salsoul label was IT back in the day. If you were signed to one of those labels, you were practically guaranteed a hit career. Maaaaaan please. I’m not going to even go in to their long music roster.
They’re still performing, and still looking good! Before I forget, I’d like to share another huge favorite, which hit the 15th position on the Dance Billboard Charts. The song in called My Love Is Free. A last huge favorite of mine that didn’t make the charts, and was released in 1978. The song is called, Perfect Lover. I just loved there ability to switch from disco to soul, and back again without missing a step.
Gosh…. 1979! I can’t believe how long ago it’s been. My favorite Stephanie Mills song of all times is on this album! As far as I’m concerned, the disco world closed the 70s era, with one of the best disco song ever! (in my opinion). “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’” had a smooth consistent beat, and it had the kind of beat that both young and old could dance too. This was the first gift my late aunt give to me @ the age of 12. I was the happiest boy ever that day. I played that song so much, I’m surprised the album didn’t turn in to dust. 😂 This was such a popular song, I’m suprised it didn’t rank higher on the billboards. What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ ranked #8 on the R&B charts, and #22 on the Top 100.
20th Century Collection
Mills possesses such a beautiful and unique voice in my opinion. It’s so distinctive that on the first note, fans all know exactly who it is! I’m surprised that Spotify doesn’t have more of her old albums. However, the have most, if not all of her major hits, as well as my favorite lesser known songs. I thought about creating a playlist, but instead just go to her 20th Century Collection.
At the almost end of the seventies, “I Love The Night Life (Disco ‘Round)” by Alicia Bridges released in 1978, has been one of my many ultimate 70’s disco favorites. Unfortunately, this was Alicia’s only major hit record in her entire career. It’s a shame because she really had a good voice. But, as I listened closely to her songs, her voice appeared to be all over the place. As if she and her producers were still trying to find where to place her voice. I really think she should have continued with the disco genre. There’s no doubt that if she had better song writers, her career would have continued to sore. Then again, the other probable factor was, she was already much older by the time she came out with her first record. It’s very possible they really didn’t know how to market her; and that “I Love The Night Life,” may have been one damn lucky hit!
Do you guys remember Maxine Nightingale? She had a disco hit called “Right Back Where We Started From,” released in 1976. The song peaked #2 position on the Top 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for 20 weeks. This song has became such an anthem, I’m surprised that the song dropped off the Top 100 so soon. Even today, the song has been Shazam’d almost a third of a million times! This was not only a fun and danceable record, it was one of the few positive “let’s get back together” songs we had in the 70s. Maxine was musically immortalized because of this song. Maxine also had one more major hit, however this one was a slow jam. The song is called “Lead Me On.” “Lead Me On,” peaked at the fifth position on the Top 100 charts. You know it was interesting, as I was researching the music stats, I discovered that this song was written by David Lasley and Alle Willis. This surprised me quite a bit, because for some reason, I could have sworn one of the BeeGees written this song. It sounds exactly like the kinds of music they had written and performed.