Saturday, July 12, 2014
Patrick Hernandez - Born To Be Alive
This month marks the thirty-fifth of Born To Be Alive, the debut from Patrick Hernandez, born of Spanish descent but raised in France. His 1979 album spent fifteen weeks on the US Billboard chart, peaking at number 61.
Side one begins with the smash hit title track. "Born To Be Alive" hit number 21 in Ireland, number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 12 in the Netherlands, number 10 in the UK, number 5 in Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and number 2 in Belgium and Italy. It also went to number 1 in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and on the US Billboard Dance chart. The album features a seven and a half minute version of the song, full of extended instrumental segments and pulse-pounding dance beats. Whenever I hear it, I am completely energized.
"You Turn Me On" is up next.
"It Comes So Easy", at just two and a half minutes, is the shortest track of the lot.
Side two starts with "Disco Queen", a six minute jam to celebrate the best dancer in the club. Hernandez seems to be channeling Tim Curry on his vocals for this one. If Dr. Frank-N-Furter ever made a disco track, this is what it would sound like.
"Show Me the Way You Kiss" is the longest track on second side, clocking in at seven and a half minutes. My favorite parts are the extended percussion breakdowns and the rich string arrangements.
The album closer "I Give You Rendezvous" has a very French element to it. It would be right at home in a cabaret as it gets very showy by the end.
I had a tough time locating this one for a review. YouTube certainly helped track most of the songs. Patrick Hernandez only had one more album after this one, 1980’s Crazy Days Mystery Nights before fading from the charts. I suspect that his sound, which was very tied to disco, fell out of fashion when that genre did.