Saturday, October 1, 2016
Ah, the Seventies!
But for my money this was the most diverse time for popular music on radio airwaves, with Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult, Lynyrd Skynyrd and James Taylor all sharing time on DJ playlists.
Those playlists were discretionary (meaning no one told the DJ what to play) which led to radio exploration of deeper album cuts (rather than the lip-service that term has been given for the last thirty years), and it was before MTV, so a performer did not have to be a supermodel to get signed-they had to be talented.
In the middle of all that was disco-often derided, but no question that it had an impact on pop culture.
Gloria Gaynor had one of the genre's landmark songs, much to the chagrin of anyone who has been in a bar where they host karaoke.
Here is Gaynor's original,
This is for REFERENCE only-if you vote on this, it's kind of like a vote for an independent candidate-I'm not going to count it.
I was one of those people to whom the words "Disco Sucks" had religious significance in the seventies, and there was a time when I would have said it's not hard at all for a cover to top a disco single.
But as I've aged, I've mellowed, and I will allow that Gaynor's song is somewhat iconic. However, alternative rock band Cake do an excellent job, tweaking the lyrics and breathing new life into the song with their trademark guitar sound and other touches.
Another version by Chantay Savage keeps the song in the R&B side of things but slows the tune down to a 90's ballad. While Savage is not necessarily unique enough as a performer to separate herself from the other R&B artists of her decade, she still has an interesting take on the song.
This is the version I am pitting against Cake's cover.
Savage's version hit #28 of Billboard's Hot 100, ad Cake's reached #24 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, but you can decide for yourself which attempt is better and let me know in the comments.
And remember-if you vote for Gaynor's version, you may not be punished in this life, but you will spend your afterlife listening to really bad karaoke singers!
You may feel that's an empty threat, but think about it-they're going to heaven, too, and they're gonna need an audience.