Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Your Guilty Pleasure: Ain't No Doubt, We Are Here to Party

This is happening because this song, while I've enjoyed it as basic four-on-the-four schlock that I recall from the back of the Toyota Corolla as a kid, hides more under its sunny, multitracked surface. Too late to be trailblazing and too transparent to be influential, Heatwave emerged from London, that hotbed of disco excess, and landed squarely in Donna Summer's lap during the spring of 1977 with their first album, Too Hot To Handle (the heat theme continues with all of their albums--Central Heating, Hot Property--until they kinda gave up and just called their 1980 effort Candles). Johnnie Wilder was an American serviceman landed in the UK after discharge and hooked up with Englishman Rod Temperton via the usual "band looking for..." ad in Melody Maker. And if the name Rod Temperton sounds familiar to you just sit with it. ...Sit with it...sit with it... think back to the record you opened up time after time, gazing at the flawless skin and Saturday Night Fever suit and the baby tiger dangling (foreshadowing!) over his knee...sometimes you glanced at the credits, maybe watched them spin on the turntable, and the name turned there, "Thriller" (R. Temperton) (5:57)...yeah. He wrote "Thriller." And "Boogie Nights."

If you can endure the lion's mane polyester jumpsuits and male headscarves, you can pick out Rod, he's the white dude on keys with the visage, to borrow a phrase from The Simpsons that I always borrow, straight out of the Big Book of British Smiles. Rod wrote one of my all-time favorite songs of all time, "Rock With You," having been recruited by Quincy Jones, who was impressed with all of Rod's heat-related recordings, to collaborate on Off the Wall.

"Boogie Nights" has a real funk foundation. You can hear the infamous "the One" in it; I'll just let the man who learned it the hard way explain what that is. And I'd like to say extremely unauthoritatively that Rod and crew brought real funk cred to the erotic whispers and flimsy Giorgio Moroder beats that skittered across the dancefloor in '76 and '77.

And this song provided the title of one of my all-time favorite movies of all time -- the one with the amazing, one-shot opening sequence that uses the disco song that is another of my all-time favorite songs of all time. The one that does not include "Boogie Nights" (R. Templeton) (3:56).

If there is an unnecessary (and unrequested, I know) lesson here, it's that there's more to everything than your eye sees and transmits to your brain parts. Sometimes, you have to let your ass parts move to the four-on-the-floor and the One, give your brain parts a rest, and just enjoy.

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