Dance the Night Away – Van Halen – 1979

August 28, 2014

Van Halen - Dance the Night Away - 1979It’s hard to believe that 80s icons, Van Halen were around in the 70s, but it’s a fact—they released their first single, a cover of The Who’s, You Really Got Me, in 1978.  Their first top 20 hit was their 1979 release, Dance the Night Away.

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  • Van Halen formed in Pasadena, California, way back in 1972.
  • For their first 11 years, the band retained the founding line-up: Eddie Van Halen (guitar), David Lee Roth (vocals), Alex Van Halen (drummer), and Michael Anthony (Bass). David left the band in 1985
  • Despite great success throughout the 80s, Van Halen had only one #1 hit single—1984’s Jump.
  • The album, 1984, sold over 12 million copies in the US.
  • David left soon after to be replaced by with ex-Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar.
  • Over the next decade, Van Halen released four #1 albums.
  • PRZ-001317In 1996 Sammy left and Gary Cherone joined.  He lasted only a year and the band took time out until 2003.
  • By 2005, Michael had been replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang; David was back and the band was on a roll again.
  • At the time of writing, Van Halen is the 19th-best-selling rock act of all time in the US – 56 million albums (80 million worldwide).  Even in 2013, they were at #4 on the list of highest money earners.  They are one of only five rock bands that have had two studio albums sell more than 10 million copies in the US.
  • In 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

dance the night away fax

  • Peaking at #15, Dance the Night Away was Van Halen’s first top 20 US hit single.
  • Eddie has said it was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s, Go Your Own Way.
  • Van Halen 3David originally wanted to call the song, Dance Lolita Dance, but Eddie convinced him otherwise.
  • In a 2006 performance, David announced that he wrote Dance the Night Away as a tribute to an intoxicated woman who was having sex in the back of a truck and, when endeavouring to run away from police officers, ran into a bar Van Halen were playing at, with her pants on backwards.
  • Dance the Night Away appears in a number of movies including, Mission to Mars, Argo, and the trailer for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
  • Dance the Night Away lyrics.

dance the night away – van halen – 1979 – video

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Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry – 1976

August 14, 2014

Wild Cherry Play that funky music 1976 coverFor the second week in a row, a one-hit-wonder.  This time, American band, Wild Cherry and their 1976 #1 hit, Play That Funky Music.

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  • From a small Ohio steel mill town named, Mingo Junction, comes Wild Cherry.
  • The band’s name came from the brand of a cough drop band founder, Rob Parissi had in his pocket the day he endeavoured to come up with something creative!
  • Wild Cherry were active from 1970-1973 before, disillusioned, they parted company. In 1975, Rob decided to give it another go.  With a new set of musicians, he hit the road again.
  • One night, at the 2001 Club in Pittsburgh, a group of Afro-American fans kept coming to the stage and teasing, “Are you white boys gonna play some funky music?”  Drummer Ron Beitle took up the teasing and, in a group meeting in the dressing room, said to the band, “Play That Funky Music, White Boy.”  Rob was inspired – in five minutes he’d written the song with a pen he borrowed from the bartender.
  • wild cherry 2The band was signed to Sweet City Records (Epic/CBS) on the strength of the song’s potential.
  • Over the next few years the band changed line-up a number of times before disbanding in 1979.

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  • Play That Funky Music was written by Rob Parissi and recorded by his band Wild Cherry. Recorded in 1975, it was released in 1976.
  • Play That Funky Music hit #1 on the US singles chart on September 18, 1976.  It eventually sold over 2.5 million copies in the US alone.
  • The song listed at no. 73 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • In 1990, Vanilla Ice released a song that included an interpretation of Play That Funky Music.  He didn’t credit Rob as the songwriter and was later forced to pay $500,000 in a copyright infringement lawsuit.  Vanilla’s version didn’t initially catch on, but the B-side did.  On re-release, Play That Funky Music peaked at #4 on the US charts and #10 in the UK.

Play That Funky Music lyrics.

play that funky music – wild cherry – 1976 – video

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Pop Muzik – M – 1979

August 4, 2014

M Pop Muzik CoverIn reality just one man, Robin Scott, and the members of 80s band, Level 42, M were a one hit wonder with Pop Muzik, one of the very first hit songs of the new wave/techno era.

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  • M = English musician Robin Scott.
  • A one hit wonder, M released four albums and ten singles but only one single, Pop Muzik, made any impression on the charts.
  • A number of musicians were involved in M, most notably Level 42’s, Mark King, and Phil Gould.
  • By 1984, M were no more, however, Robin went on to produce and EP of African artists.  He then released an album of his own, Robin Scott & Shikisha, which was recorded in Kenya and featured musicians from various African nations.
  • A resurgence of interest in M and Pop Muzik followed U2’s use of the Steve Osborne remix to open their PopMart tour.

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  • Written by Robin Scott, Pop Muzik was released in the UK and US in March and July 1979 respectively.
  • Pop Muzik peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart—it was kept from #1 by Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes—but it went all the way to #1 in the US.
  • Robin said of Pop Muzik:

I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarise the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That’s why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, ‘All we’re talking about basically (is) pop music.

  • The baby on Pop Muzik’s single disc pictures Robin’s daughter Berenice.  She is now a singer and piano/keyboard player and composer in her own right.
  • Pop Muzik lyrics.

pop muzik – M – 1979 – video

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