In June of 1980 I became a teenager – 13-years-old. I successfully completed the 7TH grade at Robert Goddard Junior High School in Lanham Maryland, and I was also actively involved in the Boy Scouts. We used to go on regular hiking and camping trips up in the mountains along the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. I remember hiking through the small town of Harpers Ferry West Virginia on many occasions. It was one of the few portions of the trail that actually went right through the heart of a town. Although I don’t miss the hiking with heavy backpacks and rugged shoes I do miss the scenery. While we have a nice subtropical landscape here in America’s Riviera nothing can beat the beautiful views that I remember from high atop the A.T.
On the radio during that memorable time of my life was this funky jam. It’s often referred to as ‘Disco’s Last Dance’, as it wasn’t even released here in the States until January of 1980 – some six months after Disco allegedly died at a Chicago White Sox baseball game. It took another 5 months after that to reach # 1 on the U.S. pop chart where it stayed for the entire month of June of 1980.
Here’s Lipps Inc. with their unexpected and untimely # 1 Disco smash – a year after Disco died. Welcome to “Funkytown”. Population – You !
It’s time for the 35TH rockin’ edition of ‘The Major’s Friday Night Disco Party’ – one-half of the ‘Moldie-Oldie Music Weekends’ here on the big bellbottoms blog.
For about 19 months the ‘Friday Night Blogroll Review’ was the weekly tradition on here. That’s when I’d recap and link to my favourite blog posts of the week from all of my blogging friends. Unfortunately something happened along the way. The bloggers got lazy and gradually disappeared into oblivion. And then there were none (or one or two). It certainly wasn’t nearly enough to sustain a weekly blog post. But Fridays remained wildly popular on here. I had to take drastic action, so what was once a joke became a reality. I threatened some of my blogging friends that if they didn’t post a blog then I’d put on 1970s Disco music every Friday night. 35 editions later it’s a rousing SMASH !
This week on the ‘Disco Party’ I present to you one of the U.K.’s greatest Disco bands ever. They are Hot Chocolate, and this is their gold pop and Disco smash “Every 1’s A Winner”. Let’s kick it kids !
FLASHBACK with me to the Summer of 1978. It’s when Garfield made his debut in the comics section of daily newspapers everywhere. It’s when the world’s first test tube baby was born in England. It’s when Pope Paul VI died at the age of 80, and was succeeded by Pope John Paul I who died just a month later.
I turned 11-years-old on June 05TH 1978, and I successfully completed the 5TH grade at Magnolia Elementary School in Lanham Maryland. After all of these years it’s the 5TH grade that stands out above all of the rest as the most memorable of them all. It was memorable in a positive way – great teachers – great classes – great classmates. I really believe that the latter half of my grade school years (4TH, 5TH, and 6TH grades) were more influential and more valuable in molding my later adult life than the subsequent Junior High and Senior High school years. My writing skills today were conceived and developed during those latter grade school years.
On the radio during the Summer of 1978 Disco ruled, as it crossed-over in a big way from the big city nightclubs to mainstream pop, rock, and soul radio nationwide. The Bee Gees‘ younger brother Andy Gibb was only 20-years-old at the time, but he was one of the hottest solo acts in the world. Here’s his memorable Disco smash that spent most of June and all of July of 1978 at the very top of the national pop chart. It went on to become the # 1 song of the entire year here in the U.S. – as well as one of the biggest songs in American chart music history. Here’s “Shadow Dancing” on the ‘Disco Party’:
It’s the start of another fun ‘Moldie-Oldie Music Weekend’ here on the big polyester and bell-bottoms blog. I kick it off with my fan-favourite ‘Disco Party’ on most Friday nights because that’s how I roll with it !
Flashback with me – won’t you ? – to the Fall of 1976. Back then I was a short and skinny 9-year-old in the 4TH grade. I walked to and from (public) school, as it was located right in the middle of my Lanham Maryland neighbourhood. After school and on the weekends I loved to play outside past the end of the street – into the woods – and down by the creek. That’s when I first discovered one of God’s Great Creations – mosquitoes. I was also in the Cub Scouts, as I, Christopher Day, promised to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law Of The Pack.
Life was much simpler then, and the world was a whole lot smaller for me back in 1976 – the year of our Bicentennial.
On the radio The Ritchie Family (all-female act, but none of them were actually related to each other) were hittin’ it big with a pop, soul, and disco smash titled “The Best Disco In Town”. It was a medley of disco hits from the era set to a fresh new beat. The group was created and run by the same French producer who also created The Village People. Let’s dance:
Last week on the ‘Disco Party’ I featured the K.C. & The Sunshine Band classic “That’s The Way (I Like It)”. It spent a single week at # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1975. It was replaced at # 1 by “Fly, Robin, Fly” from Silver Convention out of Germany. In fact they were the first German act to ever hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Ironically after its 3-week run at # 1 was over with it was replaced at # 1 by the same song that it replaced – K.C.’s “That’s The Way”. That’s the way the top of the chart rocked back and forth between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1975 back when I was 8½-years-old.
What can I say about one of the most prolific disco acts of the era – K.C. & The Sunshine Band. Led by Miami born and bred Harry Wayne ‘K.C.’ Casey he and his ‘Sunshine Band’ cranked out numerous Disco hits over a 4-year time-span starting in 1975. If you’re my age or older then you probably remember dancing to “Get Down Tonight”, “That’s The Way”, “Shake Your Booty”, “I’m Your Boogie Man”, “Keep It Comin’ Love”, and “Boogie Shoes”. They are bonafide certified Disco smash hits that surely defined the era that was.
In honor of his 59TH birthday this Sunday here’s K.C. and his Florida Sunshine Band with one of their # 1 Disco smash hits:
One of the hottest hits on the radio, in the record stores, and out in the clubs during the last quarter of 1986 while I was living, working, and playing in the United Kingdom was “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards (Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles). It became the # 1 best-selling single of the entire year all across the British Isles. It was a spirited HI-NRG remake of Thelma Houston‘s 1977 # 1 Disco smash – which in turn was a remake of a 1975 Disco smash from Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes featuring the late great Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals. (Teddy died 9 days ago. He was 59.)
Here’s Thelma Houston’s version as performed on “The Midnight Special”: