That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band – 1975

October 16, 2018

Tahts the way i like it KCThis latest 70s hit is from one of the survivors of the disco era – KC and the Sunshine Band, and their 1975 hit, That’s the Way (I Like It).

kc and the sunshine band fax

  • KC and the Sunshine Band were formed in Florida back in 1973 by lead vocalist Harry Wayne Casey.
  • The name came from Harry’s surname; Casey = KC; their original name was KC & the Sunshine Junkanoo Band.
  • Although he originally used studio musicians, that soon changed. Early in the life of the band, Harry met Richard Finch. The two began to write songs together and the rest, as they say, is history. One of their first songs was Rock Your Baby (one of the very first songs to feature a drum machine) which was recorded by George McCrae and became a #1 US hit.
  • KC and the Sunshine Band released 13 studio albums – ten between 1973 and 1984, and a further three after reforming in 1993. They are still performing today.
  • Their self-titled second album was their greatest album success. It featured the hits, That’s the Way (I Like It), Get Down Tonight, and Boogie Shoes. Other hits included (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, I’m Your Boogie Man, and Please Don’t Go.
  • In all, the band produced seven Top Ten US singles, of which 5 went to #1.

that’s the way (i like it) fax

  • That’s the Way (I Like It) was the written by Harry Casey and Richard Finch. It was the second hit single for KC and the Sunshine Band (the first being Get Down Tonight) and come from the band’s second’s album which was self-titled.
  • The song is one of the few #1 singles to hit number one on more than one occasion during a one-month period. Having been at #1 in the US for a week, it was knocked off the top perch by Silver Convention’s, Fly, Robin, Fly. Three weeks later, That’s the Way (I Like It) was back for another week at the top.
  • That’s the Way (I Like It) peaked at #4 in the UK.
  • At the time of release, some considered the song to be rather risqué because of the obvious meaning behind the title as well as its chorus with multiple “uh-huhs.”
  • That’s the Way (I Like It) lyrics.

that’s the way (i like it) – kc and the sunshine band – 1975 – video

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Le Freak – Chic – 1978

June 18, 2018

chic-le_freak_1978Still touring, still featuring the incredible Nile Rodgers, still Le Freak remains their greatest hit – American band, Chic had a massive hit in 1978 with Le Freak.

chic fax

  • Chic was formed in 1976 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. One of their original names was, the Big Apple Band. This was dropped in favour of Chic when Walter Murphy released the single and album A Fifth of Beethoven under the name Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band.
  • Chic went on to produce a number of success disco hits, including: Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) (1977), Everybody Dance (1977), Le Freak (1978), I Want Your Love (1978), and Good Times (1979).
  • The band has been cited as having influenced many successful bands, including a number from the UK. John Taylor, bassist from Duran Duran, claims the bass part of their top 10 single Rio was influenced by his work with Chic.  Johnny Marr of The Smiths cited Chic as a formative influence. Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust was inspired by the bass guitar riff on Good Times.
  • Chic have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eleven times – the most nominated act not to receive induction. In 2017, Nile Rodgers was inducted for Musical Excellence.
  • The band still tours under the name, Nile Rodgers and Chic.

le freak fax

  • Written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Le Freak was the third single by American R&B band, Chic. It was the first of three singles from their second album, C’est Chic.
  • Released in September 1978, Le Freak was the band’s first #1 US single; it peaked at #7 in the UK. The following year, Chic had a second #1 US single with Good Times.
  • Many of Chic’s songs had deeper meanings. Le Freak commemorates the nightclub Studio 54 for its notoriously long customer waiting lines, exclusive clientele, and discourteous doormen. On New Year’s Eve 1977, Nile and Bernard were refused entrance to the club, where they had been invited by Grace Jones. The original lyrics refrain were “F*** off!” later tempered to “Freak out!”
  • Le Freak” was the first song to score the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 three separate times. Around five songs have since achieved this.
  • In 2018, Le Freak was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the US Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”
  • Le Freak lyrics.

le freak – chic – 1978 – video


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Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas – 1974

April 26, 2018

Kung Fu FightingRiding on the crest of the kung fu movie craze of the early-mid 70’s, Carl Douglas scored a massive 1974 hit with Kung Fu Fighting.

carl douglas fax

  • Carl Douglas was born in Jamaica in 1942 and began his music career in 1961.
  • Carl grew up in both Jamaica and California before moving to the UK to study sound engineering.
  • His first foray into performing came in 1964 when he formed the band Big Stampede. They released two singles with no chart impact.
  • By the early 1970s, Carl was a session musician with Pye Records.
  • In 1974, Indian-born music producer Biddu asked Carl to provide the vocals for a song, I Want to Give You My Everything. Biddu then gave Carl some music for lyrics Carl had written about Kung Fu.  It was a smash hit.  So much so that, Carl’s entire music career has been overshadowed by his 1974 hit, Kung Fu Fighting.
  • Carl was the first Jamaican to score a #1 hit in the USA.
  • The follow-up to Kung Fu Fighting—Dance the Kung Fu—bombed in the USA, but made it to #20 in the UK. Despite other minor successes, Carl is considered a one-hit wonder.
  • Carl now lives in Hamburg, Germany and owns a production company that supplies music for films and advertisements.

kung fu fighting fax

  • The writing of Kung Fu Fighting is credited to Carl Douglas, who, it is said, recorded it in ten minutes.
  • It was released as a single in 1974 and rode the crest of the martial arts movie craze of that time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting hit #1 on the singles charts in the UK, US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and New Zealand. It made the top ten in a number of other countries.
  • The song eventually sold eleven million records worldwide and is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting was rated number 100 in VH1’s 100 Greatest one-hit wonders, and number 1 in the UK Channel 4’s Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000.
  • In 1998, British dance act, Bus Stop released a Kung Fu Fighting remix which sampled the original vocals by Carl Douglas and included added rap verses. It peaked at #8 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 2008, American artist, CeeLo Green covered Kung-Fu Fighting. His version appeared on the soundtrack for the movie, Kung Fu Panda.
  • Kung Fu Fighting lyrics.

kung fu fighting – carl douglas – 1974 – video

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Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston – 1976

October 26, 2017

thelma-houston-dont-leave-me-this-way-1976Singer, actress, Grammy Award winner – Thelma Houston had a 1976 #1 hit with Don’t Leave Me This Way.

thelma houston fax

  • Born Thelma Jackson in Leland, Mississippi, by the time she was 23, Thelma Houston was married, had two children, and was signed to Dunhill Records.
  • Her first album, released in 1969, was produced by Jimmy Webb.
  • In 1971, she signed with Motown Records with little success.
  • As well as singing, Thelma loved acting. In 1974 she featured in The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, playing various characters during the show’s skits.  When the show was cancelled she worked on producing demo recordings and performing at small venues.
  • She also took acting lessons while working on her musical career. It was a slow climb for her: she recorded Do You Know Where You’re Going To which was set for single release when it was pulled and the song given to Diana Ross to serve as the theme song for the movie Mahogany.  She sang backing vocals for Jermaine Jackson on his album My Name Is Jermaine.
  • Then in 1976, Thelma Houston released her third album, Any Way You Like It. The first single from that album, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ 1975 song Don’t Leave Me This Way, went straight to #1.  It won Thelma a Grammy for Best Female R&B Performance in 1977.  She never had another top ten single.
  • Thelma still performs, however. She recently toured with Nile Rodgers and Chic.
  • She has appeared in half a dozen films and a number of television programmes, along with being featured on a number of movie soundtracks.

don’t leave me this way fax

  • Don’t Leave Me This Way was written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert.
  • The song has charted three times, first in 1975 as a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass – #3 in the US and #5 in the UK. Next in 1977 as a #1 US hit for Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1977 (peaked at #13 in the UK. Then a third time for British group the Communards in 1986 (#1 in the UK and #40 in the US).
  • Thelma Houston’s version was originally to be recorded by Diana Ross as a follow-up to Love Hangover. It was handed onto Thelma – some justice after she’d lost Do You Know Where You’re Going To to Diana.
  • Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Thelma’s version became an unofficial theme song for the AIDS epidemic in gay male communities of the west.
  • The song appeared in the stage show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and in the movie, The Martian (2015).
  • Cher has also covered the song in her live shows.
  • Don’t Leave Me This Way lyrics.

don’t leave me this way – thelma houston – 1976 – video

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Tell Me Something Good – Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) – 1974

June 22, 2017

Rufus - Tell me something good 1974A band packed with great musicians, Chicago band Rufus is best known for launching the career of lead singer Chaka Khan.

rufus fax

  • Starting life as “Ask Rufus,” the band Rufus had their beginnings in pop band, The American Breed. Ask Rufus formed in 1970 and, by 1972 Chaka Khan had joined.
  • 1972 saw the band sign with manager Bob Monaco (Minnie Riperton was signed with him also).
  • Bob persuaded ABC Dunhill records to stump up some cash to pay for a demo record. In two days, the band had recorded 11 songs and signed a long-term recording contract.
  • With their first album receiving moderate success, Rufus hit the studio again to record their follow-up album Rags to Rufus which included the Stevie Wonder song, Tell Me Something Good, and a song by Ray Parker Jr. and Chaka, You Got The Love – both songs became smash hits.
  • Rufus was a band blighted by in-fighting and inner-tension, partly because of the rise in fame of Chaka ahead of the rest of the band. Such was the power of Chaka’s performing that the record company began billing the band as, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan.  Often, at photo shoots and the like, only Chaka was photographed and her image alone was used in magazine articles and stories.
  • It wasn’t long before Chaka was releasing solo albums and finding great success; Rufus released an album without Chaka and it bombed.
  • By 1983, Rufus band members sensed that their tenure was over. They agreed to split on the terms they release one last live album to commemorate the occasion.  Chaka agreed to appear at their final concert performance which was filmed by Warner Bros.  The band then went their separate ways for good with Chaka becoming one of the most revered R&B artists of her generation with the release of the single I Feel for You cementing her reputation.
  • In all, Rufus released 11 albums and 30 singles in the time they were together.
  • The band won two Grammy awards: 1974: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Tell Me Something Good, and 1983: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Ain’t Nobody.

tell me something good fax

  • Tell Me Something Good was written by Stevie Wonder and recorded by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan in 1974.
  • The song peaked at #3 on the US singles chart.
  • Tell Me Something Good is one of the first songs to use the guitar talk box effect – it was played by Tony Maiden.
  • Rufus won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for Tell Me Something Good.
  • Cover versions of Tell Me Something Good have been performed live and/or recorded by artists including Pink, Dave Matthews and Stevie Wonder.
  • The song has appeared or been referenced in the US comedy shows, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will and Grace, and That 70s Show. Note that the captioning to the Will and Grace episode incorrectly credits the song to Sly and the Family Stone.
  • Tell Me Something Good lyrics.

tell me something good – rufus featuring chaka khan – 1974 – video – slower version

tell me something good – rufus featuring chaka khan – 1974 – video – faster version

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Knock On Wood – Amii Stewart – 1979

February 9, 2017

amii_stewart_-_knock_on_woodLast Saturday I had the pleasure of enjoying two and a half hours with the incomparable James Taylor. As an encore he sang the Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper song, Knock On Wood – a song that has been covered by many artists in a number of genres, including Amii Stewart who has a disco hit with it in 1979.

amii stewart fax

  • Amy Stewart was only four years old when her father signed her up for singing and dancing lessons. Because there was already Amy Stewart registered with Actor’s Equity, he changed the spelling of her name to Amii.
  • Amii began her show business life as a dancer – she even studied ballet and modern dance. It was while touring with the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, that she met Barry Leng, a record producer who signed her for Hansa records.
  • Knock On Wood was her first single and it went straight to #1 in the US and #6 in the UK – she even earned a Grammy nomination for it. Her second single was a medley that included The Doors‘ Light My Fire.  That peaked at #5 in the UK but stalled at #69 in the US.
  • Amii now lives in Italy. She still performs but, more often it is in a stage show rather than a disco.  In 2000, she toured as part of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the part of Mary Magdalene.  Then, in 2003, she starred in the musical Lady Day, in the role of Billie Holiday; the musical was written and produced by her.
  • Amii released 17 albums, the last in 2012.

knock on wood fax

  • Written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper in 1966, Knock on Wood was originally performed by Eddie. His version peaked at #28 on the US singles chart and spent a week at #1 on the US soul chart
  • The song has been covered by artists as diverse as Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967, Wilson Pickett, The American Breed, David Bowie (1974), Amii Stewart (1979), Eric Clapton (1985), Michael Bolton (1992) and James Taylor (last Saturday night).
  • David Bowie’s single is lifted from his 1974 David Live album.
  • Amii Stewart’s version of the song is the most successful. It was Amii’s debut single from her album of the same name.  Recorded late-1978, it was realeased in January 1979 and reached #1 on the US charts and #6 in the UK.  A remixed version was released in the UK in 1985, peaking at #7.
  • Knock On Wood lyrics.

knock on wood – amii stewart – 1979 – video

knock on wood – eddie floyd – 1967 – original version

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September – Earth, Wind & Fire – 1978

August 31, 2016

EWF September 1978Originally The Salty Peppers, Maurice White’s band, Earth, Wind & Fire went on to huge success which included the 1978 hit, September

 earth, wind & fire fax

  • Rolling Stone Magazine declared Earth, Wind & Fire to have “changed the sound of black pop”.
  • Founded in Chicago in 1971 by Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire grew out of a previous band with the very uncool name of The Salty Peppers.
  • EWF 1aOther band members included Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay and Andrew Woolfolk.
  • Earth, Wind & Fire has received 20 Grammy nominations, winning six awards.  Maurice and Philip have won Grammys as individuals.  The band has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • With over 100 million records sold, the band is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
  • But it doesn’t stop there, incredibly, five band members, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn and Al McKay, have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • Throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s, Earth, Wind & Fire had a number of funk/disco hits, including: Shining Star, Devotion, Can’t Hide Love, September, Boogie Wonderland, and After the Love Has Gone.  Despite a plethora of hits, the band hit the #1 spot on the US singles charts only once – with Shining Star in 1974.  September was their highest charting UK hit (#3).
  • Earth, Wind & Fire have influence many artists with three in particular, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, and Dionne Warwick, heaping praise on the band.
  • Maurice passed away in February 2016 but the band continues to perform with Philip Bailey still leading the vocals (which he previously shared with Maurice).EWF 2

earth, wind & fire trivia

  • Earth, Wind & Fire was the first African-American act to sell out Madison Square Garden.
  • President Barack Obama invited Earth, Wind & Fire to perform at the White House for the first social event of his administration.

september fax

  • SEWF 1eptember was released as a single by Earth, Wind & Fire on November 18, 1978. 
  • It was written by Earth, Wind & Fire members, Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis.
  • It was recorded during the I Am sessions and featured on the band’s The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1.
  • September reached #1 on the US R&B chart, #8 on the US singles chart, and #3 on the UK singles chart.
  • The song was also later released as December.  Chord changes andmelody remained identical, with the lyrics re-written for the “…Twenty-fifth of December…”
  • September has been covered and sampled by numerous artists and appeared in dozens of movies and television programmes.
  • September lyrics.

september – earth, wind & fire – 1978 – video


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