Leaps n Bands #76: George McCrae – Rock your Baby (1974)


The Jemtunes ‘Leaps n Bands’ series is, throughout 2020, featuring a track by track expose of the albums that have spoken loudest to me over the years.

But Jemtunes 75-84, running between 28 May and 15 June, features 10 singles instead. Mainly because, when many of us now of a certain age first started buying records, the format of choice was the humble 45. And there was a lot of influence there.

“Rock Your Baby” was the debut single from George McCrae. Written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC and the Sunshine Band, it was one of the landmark recordings of early disco music. A massive international hit, the song reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top of the chart in July 1974. It is one of the fewer than 40 all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

Earth Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland (Starters for Ten #145) 5/10 (15)

Starters for Ten 2019 – #145: Top Ten Boogie tracks: 190525

Earth Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland (1979)

Throughout 2019 Jem of Jemtunes is taking you through 36 top tens and one top five. Tunes for a whole gamut of reasons including genre, mood, time of year or simply time itself. Sometimes there’s be words but mostly it’ll simply be the music. Because music always speaks for itself.

Continuing the 15th – featuring my top ten boogie tracks, and running between 21 and 30 May – here’s Boogie Wonderland released by Earth, Wind & Fire in 1979.

The picture above is the promo for the Love Supreme Festival they headlined in July 2018 and to which we had the privilege of attending.

Queen – Hot Space (Epic 2017 #242)

The Epic 2017 Project #242: 170830

Queen – Hot Space (1981)

Hot Space – Queen’s tenth studio album – was released on 21 May 1982 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the United States. Marking a notable shift in direction from their earlier work, they employed many elements of disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music for this one. This made the album less popular with fans who preferred the traditional rock style they had come to associate with the band. Queen’s decision to record a dance-oriented album germinated with the massive success of their 1980 hit “Another One Bites the Dust”.

“Under Pressure”, Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie, was released in 1981 and became the band’s second No.1 hit in the UK. Though included on Hot Space, the song was a separate project and was recorded ahead of the album, before the controversy over Queen’s new disco-influenced rock sound. The album’s second single, “Body Language”, peaked at No.11 on the US charts.

In July 2004, Q magazine listed Hot Space as one of the top fifteen albums where great rock acts lost the plot. Most of the album was recorded in Munich during the most turbulent period in the band’s history, and Roger Taylor and Brian May despised the new sound, with both being very critical of the influence Freddie Mercury’s manager Paul Prenter had on the singer.

Having said all that, I still really like the album – and for all the right reasons. Here’s ‘Back Chat’

Herbie Hancock – Monster (Epic 2017 #111)

The Epic 2017 Project #111: 170421

Herbie Hancock – Monster (1980)

Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock (born April 12, 1940) started his career with Donald Byrd.  Then he  joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences.

His best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”

Monster was his twenty-ninth album.  Released as a follow-up to the “Feets” album, it avoided jazz and funk in favor of disco.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Epic 2017 #045)

The Epic 2017 Project #045: 170214

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (2013)

random_access_memories

This was the French duo’s fourth studio album, released on 17 May 2013 by Daft Life and Columbia Records. The album pays tribute to the late 1970s and early 1980s American music, particularly from Los Angeles, the theme reflected in the album’s packaging, as well as its promotional campaign, which included billboards, television advertisements and a web series.

Unlike their previous albums, Daft Punk recruited session musicians to perform live instrumentation and limited the use of electronic instruments to drum machines, a custom-built modular synthesizer, and vintage vocoders. The album features collaborations with Giorgio Moroder, Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Pharrell Williams. It is the first Daft Punk album released by Columbia Records.

KC & the sunshine band – That’s the way (I like it) (Leaping Ahead #131)

As I’m away these next few days, here’s ‘Leaping Ahead’ parts #130 – #135 all in one go.

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #131: 160510

[Song from a band beginning with K]

Released in June 1975 by the American group KC and the Sunshine Band from their self-titled second studio album, ‘That’s the way’ at the time, was considered by some to be rather risqué because of the obvious meaning behind the title as well as its chorus with multiple “uh-huhs”. Of course – any suggestion like that just adds to the song’s popularity – something which has very definitely stood the test of time.