dirty martini

old music for new people

let’s do the timewarp September 10, 2008

spain loved the 70s so much, it decided to keep them forever.

seriously, something i noticed while in spain recently, is that they don’t renovate or update for the sake of it. some of those shop fronts, signs and decor have been there for more than 30 years, untouched.

similarly, why update your sound if it still works? disco clearly resonated within spanish ears, and they’re reluctant to let go.

with the dismal british news the only english-language entertainment we could get on our hotel, it made perfect sense. if ain’t broke…

this was not a new revelation however, i have been reminiscing about the retro fabulousness of spanish holidays for a while now….check this post on novelty disco

70s disco magic

baccara – yes sir i can boogie

brothers johnson – stomp

crown heights affair – you gave me love

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

hues corporation – rock the boat

jacksons – can you feel it

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

nolans – i’m in the mood for dancing

ottawan – d.i.s.c.o

phyllis hyman – you know how to love me

tina charles – i love to love

viola wills – gonna get along without you

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the soundtrack to any spanish holiday between 1977 and 1983 September 30, 2007

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if you went on a family holiday to benidorm, torremolinos, majorca or anywhere on the costa brava between the late 70s and mid 80s then this post is for you.

disco produced some enduring classics, yet most of the tunes that endured once the initial fad died down were the novelty tunes. these formed a staple musical diet for spanish hotels, wedding receptions and church hall discos until about 1990.

we used to go to the same hotel in majorca every year until i was about 8. it was the hotel flamingo in c’an pastilla, an area now overrun with germans. it was at this very hotel that i was introduced to the german-towel conundrum. my dad used to just chuck them in the pool. i loved sitting by the pool with my feet dangling whilst drinking chocolate milkshake with lots of ice.

i loved the hotel. it had shiny marble floors and the decor was brown and orange, well into the 80s. i used to gaze at the spanish kids tv – they looked like the muppets, but i couldn’t understand a word they were saying. i used to play donkey kong in the bar until we went out at night, where i would sit drawing until my parents were pissed.

when we would get back to the hotel, the disco would usually have started. and this was the inevitable playlist. i would jump around in my rara skirt, and wish i was allowed to wear makeup.

download here

baccara – yes sir i can boogie

bee gees – night fever

cliff richard – we don’t talk anymore

earth wind and fire – let’s groove

gonzales – i haven’t stopped dancing yet

ian dury and the blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick

liquid gold – dance yourself dizzy

kelly marie – feels like i’m in love

ottawan – hands up

rod stewart – do ya think i’m sexy

taste of honey – boogie oogie oogie

tina charles – i love to love

 

club tropicana drinks are free August 5, 2007

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a scene from almost any 80s edition of totp in the summer. the palm trees and pineapples used to get dusted off in the bbc props department and plonked onstage for mulleted dancers in hawaiian shirts to dance around. in preparation for their holiday in benidorm.

summer anthems used to sound sunny, they weren’t about rain. of course rihanna isn’t old enough to remember the 80s. and many people won’t remember when we had actual seasons instead of increasingly bizarre and extreme weather.  when we were flying back from majorca in 1983 it snowed, in may, on the back of two weeks of sun. now, that wouldn’t be quite so surreal.

so here is my 80s summer countdown, one for each year. i’m winging it a bit on the early to mid 80s as i don’t remember much, and songs have different meanings to different people anyway.  i didn’t want to venture into agadoo territory…but while we’re on the subject, i miss those holidays where you could rely on a playlist of black lace, the tweets, bucks fizz and shaddap your face. novelty records should have stayed in the 80s though some british people still love them. last week at work, the finance team (admittedly only two people) were playing the chicken song by spitting image full blast.

i remember a particular year at butlins – thats an 80s holiday destination, kids – dancing to true blue by madonna, when the going gets tough by billy ocean and we don’t have to take our clothes off by jermaine stewart. to this day, me and my mum smirk when we hear these songs.

these are the sounds played in the garden that little girls made dances up to. on ghettoblasters powered by up to 8 huge batteries. that soon ran out so they sounded too slooooow.

80s summer anthems, by year – download here

1980 – lakeside – fantastic voyage

1981 – cool notes – i should’ve loved ya

1982 – teena marie – square biz

1983 – kc and the sunshine band – give it up

1984 – debarge – rhythm of the night

1985 – mai tai – body and soul

1986 – janet jackson – when i think of you

1987 – jets – crush on you 

1988 – taylor dayne – tell it to my heart

1989 – bobby brown – every little step

 

70s baby 80s child… July 9, 2007

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i’m proud to be a disco era baby, born the same time as saturday night fever.obviously this means i don’t have very clear recollections of disco, but there is evidence that it had an influence on my infant years.  a photo exists of me at about 18 months old, looking terrified as my dad, a bee gees lookalike in obligatory tight shirt, sporting shoulder length flicked hair, beams.  my mum, in my christening photos, looks like a member of hot gossip.

I also don’t remember saturday night fever first time round, but an eight track cartridge of the soundtrack became one of the first albums I played, along with abba and the wombles, whenever I could get near the stereo – a big wooden Baird monstrosity, like the tv. eight tracks were fairly childproof, which perhaps explains why my parents had one, since they weren’t exactly early adopters…they only got into cds about 5 years ago.

my recollection of the novelty disco that followed – ymca, ottawan, boney m – is sadly slightly sharper. I can clearly recall stomping around our majorca hotel singing ‘hands up, baby, hands up…’ and forcing my very straight and very unenlightened dad to march up and down with me in a camp fashion to ‘in the navy’ by the village people. if asked what activity I wanted to take part in, apparently the answer was always the same – I wanted to go to the disco.

still, the first time I really heard chic was probably as an underage clubber in one of those great cheesy late 80s/early 90s clubs that are slowly becoming extinct. you know, carpet on the walls, lots of mirrors, peach wine (this was before alcopops) and a fat dj. during their retro half hour, a pointless exercise since no one in the club was over 18, they would play some disco before the obligatory birdie song and god awful jive bunny style 50s rock and roll.  if you weren’t around then, you have no idea how much clubs have improved over the last 15 years. unless you’ve been to a chicago rock café, in which case, you know.

disco was a nice introduction to music, let’s face it, punk was around at the same time so I had a narrow escape. to me, as to many others, it is a soundtrack to hazy flashbacks of high chairs and swirly 70s brown and orange wallpaper that prepped us for the clubbing mayhem of the 90s. it paved the way for dance music in all its forms and its appreciation belies the frankly pathetic ‘disco sucks’ movement perpetrated by US rednecks. get back in your caravan and turn up your insipid MOR rock – the glitterball is here to stay.

12 dazzling disco gemsdownload here

average white band – let’s go round again

 

 

black ivory – mainline

chic – my forbidden lover

dan hartman – instant replay

delegation – heartache no9

diana ross – the boss

jean carn – was that all it was

loleatta holloway – runaway

melba moore – this is it

odyssey – native new yorker

rose royce – is it love you’re after

sheila and b devotion – spacer