With Just A Hint Of Amelia

Archive for the ‘Dance Crazes’ Category

hustleDear Princess Amelia I must apologise for November’s blog post not appearing until December. But I will make sure that your Christmas blog post arrives before 25th December! I thought that I’d give you a post about a dance craze because we haven’t done one of those for a while. I have chosen a classic disco hit from 1975 called “The Hustle”. It’s a mostly instrumental track recorded in 1974 by Van McCoy  and the Soul City Symphony for his album ‘Disco Baby’. I have played it hundreds of times in my days as a mobile DJ (perhaps more about mobile DJs in another post one day). The song was number one in both Canada and the USA and it reached number four in Holland and number three in the UK. I have a very strong feeling that it was a very big hit in Godderwil. Why do I have such a strong feeling? Mostly because I taught your Grandpa how to do the Hustle at your Mummy’s birthday party a few years ago. I’ll teach you the same moves next time we meet. But the fact that I made all those dance steps up myself when I taught your Grandpa, well we’ll just keep that to ourselves ok?

how-to-do-the-hustle-280x210I have put two videos into this post; the first is a quick lesson in how to dance the Hustle and the second is from some of the dancers on a wonderful old American TV show called Soul Train.

Granddad dances the Hustle with Deborah

Grandpa dances the Hustle with Deborah

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Dearest Princess Amelia, I am sure that your Mummy and Daddy may have thought that the title of this post mentioned Shakin’ Stevens. But I am very pleased to say that it doesn’t; it does mention a Streakin’ Stevens otherwise known as Ray Stevens. He had a lot of hits including  a few novelty songs. One of those songs might be quite appropriate for you especially as you like throwing off your clothes and shouting ‘Look at me’. That used to be called streaking, in fact it probably still is. I’m sure that it’s a lot of fun to do and that’s partly because the weather is hot and that you will be blissfully unaware of how embarrassed you might be when we remind you of that little habit when you’re 18. So enjoy it while you can and have a dance along to these Ray Stevens songs.

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The Streak” was a number one single in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and the UK in 1974. Maybe we should reissue it in Godderwil. Other novelty songs from Mr Stevens that I think you might like are “Bridget The Midget (The Queen Of The Blues)” and “Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast-Acting Pleasant-Tasting Green and Purple Pills“. The last of those is the longest song title ever to be a hit in the US charts, it was released in 1961. Ray also recorded some songs that weren’t novelties and I have given you two of those here as well; “Everything Is Beautiful” and “Indian Love Call“. I hope that you enjoy them all.

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0015 James Brown

Dearest Princess Amelia I was listening to a song the other day and I thought to myself, “my odd Daughter Amelia might like that” So that is how I decided to give you a post about music royalty, not proper Godderwil Royalty like you, just music royalty. I am talking about James Brown who was often known as the Godfather of Soul or the King of Funk. I think you will love dancing to some of his songs. I used to have many James Brown songs on 7 inch vinyl singles. You might need to ask your Daddy what those are!

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James Brown was a great singer and a superb dancer. He was almost as good as me! In fact Michael Jackson, who called himself the King Of Pop, got most of his dance moves from James Brown, except for the moonwalk which he got from Jeffrey Daniel from Shalamar. But we’ll save that for another day! Next time I come and visit you I promise I will dance to one of these songs with you; is that a deal? Take care Princess Amelia and enjoy these very funky songs.

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Dearest Princess Amelia. I hope that you get to see this post before Halloween is over, but if not you can still dance to the song I am sure. As in all the Kingdoms of the world it is Halloween night tonight in Godderwil. I hope that you have a spooky time and that you don’t get frightened.

I thought I would bring you what many people call a novelty song today. It was a hit in the year your Daddy was born and when I was only three years old! The Singer was Robert George Pickett, but he was better known as Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and his band was called the Crypt Kickers. The song was “Monster Mash” and I think it is still as much fun today as it was back in the olden days.

Click here to enjoy the song  and remember to scroll down for all the words. Next you can see some other children show you how to dance the “Monster Mash”

And finally here is the original song with some great cartoons.

I hope you have a Happy Halloween and I have one thing left to say……………………………………………………BOO!!!!!!!!

Dearest Princess Amelia it was a pleasure to spend some time with you at the weekend. You are a very beautiful princess who is a credit to the Kingdom of Godderwil. I’m sure that King John, Queen Caron and all of the rest of the Godderwil royal family are very proud of you. As one of your ‘Odd Parents’ I certainly am and I know that Aunty Catherine is too.

It’s time again for your monthly music lesson and this month I shall focus on a specific song. Not just a random song but one of my favourites that also has a far reaching influence. It was first released in 1979 when I still had traces of shaving rash, being a young whippersnapper of just twenty years young at the time. In those days I still had my mobile DJ partnership with my good friend Glen. Can you guess what we called ourselves? It was ‘Bill and Glen the Disco Men’. Do you like that?

The song was written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards who first played together in a band called New York City who had one massive hit in 1973 called “I’m Doing Fine Now”. Although I suspect that they probably weren’t doing as fine as their song suggested as they never had another hit. For a time Nile and Bernard were not sure what they should do next, they wanted to make good disco records, but they also wanted them to be a little different from everyone else. Nile had been listening to Roxy Music and loved their early free form electronic sound. Both he and Bernard Edwards had also played with many very talented jazz musicians. So they decided to combine those influences along with a very slick production and smooth orchestration and that is how their classic group Chic were born.

I will tell you a bit more about Chic another time, for now let’s learn about that wonderful feel good song that is “Good Times” It really is a fantastic song in it’s own right but it’s main riff has reached across the musical spectrum. The instrumental track was used as the backing track to the first rap hit; “Rappers Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Nile and Bernard successfully took the Sugarhill Gang to court over the use of that sound and are now credited as co writers of “Rappers Delight”. A year or two later the “Good Times” sound or something very similar to it could be heard in Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”, “This Is Radio Clash” from my favourite band of all time ever and “I Need You Tonight” from INXS among others.

George Michael covered the song in concert when he was still a part of Wham back in 1983. It has been sampled a lot since the Sugarhill Gang picked it up. Including Michelle Gayle’s 1995 “Happy Just To Be With You” The original Chic version of the song was available in both 7 and 12 inch vinyl versions that were 3 minutes 24 seconds and 8 minutes 13 seconds long respectively. As a mobile DJ with obvious good taste I in fact owned both versions, although I only have them electronically these days. The song also featured on Chic’s album ‘Risqué’ which included two other hit singles among its total of just seven songs. Those other hits were “My Feet Keep Dancing” and “My Forbidden lover”.

I have copied all the words to the song at the end of this post so that you can sing along to it with the Royal Mummy and Daddy. Really it’s only you that is allowed to call them that though! I said earlier that this is a real feel good song and you can tell it is just by reading some of the lyrics; ‘Leave your cares behind’ and ‘put an end to this stress and strife’, for example. Then there is the mention of boys and girls, you should listen carefully to the girl’s part, which goes ‘Girls will be girls cute pony tails and curls’ so now you know how to do your hair. I would love to say that I have curls and a pony tail, but that would be a little untrue wouldn’t it? Also any song that mentions roller skates has to be pretty cool doesn’t it?

“Good Times” is also an excellent dance song and I hope that you will enjoy dancing to it. All you have to do whenever you dance is to do it as though no one is watching. That’s my philosophy anyway! So follow the instruction in the song ‘Let’s cut a rug, a little jive and jitterbug’ shake your hips and get dancing!

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times Good times

These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

Happy days are here again

The time is right For makin’ friends

Let’s get together How ’bout a quarter to ten

Come tomorrow Let’s all do it again

Boys will be boys Better let them have their toys

Girls will be girls Cute pony tails and curls

Must put an end To this stress and strife

I think I want to live the sporting life

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times

Good times These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

A rumour has it that It’s getting late

Time marches on Just can’t wait

The clock keeps turning

Why hesitate

You silly fool You can’t change your fate

Let’s cut a rug A little jive and jitterbug

We want the best We won’t settle for less

Don’t be a drag Participate

Clams on the half shell And roller-skates Roller-skates

Good times These are the good times

Leave your cares behind

These are the good times

Good times These are the good times

Our new state of mind

These are the good times

 

Amelia (and obviously anyone else who is reading this post) are you all sitting comfortably again? Did you enjoy last months story? Ok then let’s begin another story about some wonderful (and possibly not so wonderful) music. Growing up is full of lessons, some you remember and some you forget. One of the ones that many people don’t forget is what their first dance craze was. Mine was probably the Twist, but it could so easily have been the Hucklebuck or the Mashed Potato. They were in the 60s and later the 70s brought us the Funky Chicken, the Funky Penguin, the Soul City Walk and the Hustle along with many others. I can also claim the honour of not only seeing your Granddad perform the Hustle but also teaching him the steps. I’ll let you into a little secret though, I made those steps up!There was also the Bump, which I won’t go into here, but Amelia you really should talk to your Mummy about a song called “The Bump” by Kenny. It’s a song that your Mummy loves, but it really isn’t very good and I think only you can convince her that her taste in 70s dance craze songs is not very good. We don’t want her damaging the reputation of the Kingdom of Godderwil do we?

So let’s get back to some good dance craze songs and for today’s story we will focus on the Twist, but I think we will come back to some of the others one day. Let’s begin with “The Twist” which is very old, in fact as old as Uncle Bill. It was originally recorded by Hank Ballard as a B Side of “Teardrops On Your Letter” in 1959 and was a hit in the USA. It became really popular back in 1961 and was one of the first popular dances that you could do on your own. Strangely the song itself was never a big hit in the UK, although Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again” was a big hit, reaching number 1 in the UK and number 8 in the USA. The Faerie folk of Forest Rise tell me that it also reached the top twenty in Godderwil too. Chubby went on to have a whole range of Twist related hits, including; “Slow Twisting” (with Dee Sharp), “Twistin’ USA”, “Twist It Up” and a revamp of the Twist recorded with the Fat Boys in 1988 which was called “The Twist (Yo Twist)” Chubby’s real name was Ernest Evans, can you guess why he was called Chubby? Well it wasn’t really because he was fat. It was a play on words from the name of the great Fats Domino who was popular at the time. They replaced Fats with Chubby and added another popular game as a surname; Checkers as opposed to Dominoes. But if Chubby had been given his name on this side of the big pond he would be known as Chubby Draughts.

There are also some other excellent Twist related songs which you can listen to and shake your hips to as well. There’s “Twist And Shout” by the Beatles, which was originally recorded by the Isley Brothers (not a lot of people know that), “Twisting The Night Away” by the late, great Sam Cooke and an excellent more modern twisting song from the 80s, Dire Straits “Twisting By The Pool”

Now you can test your twisting skills by dancing to some of those twisting songs;

Amelia which is your favourite twisting song? Mine is “Twisting The Night Away” by Sam Cooke


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