Sunday, March 30, 2014
GQ - Disco Nights
Today (March 30th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Disco Nights, the debut album from GQ. This 1979 release spent thirty-five weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 13. It also reached number 2 on the US Billboard R&B chart. GQ was a four-man group consisting of Emmanuel LeBlanc (vocals and guitar), Herb Lane (keyboards), Keith Crier (bass) and Paul Service (drums).
Side one begins with the smash hit "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)". As the first single, it went to number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 3 on the Billboard Dance chart, and number 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Of course, I have known about this track since the hey-day of disco. It instantly takes me back to dancing around my bedroom, practicing steps while the song played on the radio. The brief chant-along, salsa-infused bridge was an added bonus.
"Make My Dreams a Reality", the third single, went to number 8 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This one has a lighter rhythm to it yet still very workable for dancing.
This then slow down with the romantic ballad "It's Your Love".
The B-side to the second single was "Spirit", an up-tempo message of unity and love.
Side two opens with "This Happy Feeling", a dance track filled with joy and positive energy.
"Wonderful" sticks to a similar template as the last two tracks, in music and theme.
The band chose to cover "Boogie Oogie Oogie", the 1978 dance smash hit by A Taste of Honey. Their version was the B-side to the first single. This is the first time I have heard GQ's interpretation; while it could never take the place of the original I think it could grow on me with time.
The album closes with a cover of the Billy Stewart 1965 hit "I Do Love You". As the album's second single, this version went to number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 on the Billboard R&B chart.
What I really like about the tracks on Disco Nights are the funky bass grooves and the smooth vocal harmonies. These were two very powerful tools in GQ's arsenal. Once more, thanks to the YouTube community for sharing this rare to find album for review.