Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features five groovy R&B/soul songs from a specific year. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go Anita Ward on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
1978. I was in fifth grade. I was so nerdy that I started my own school newspaper: the Emelita Examiner (I even drew the comics myself despite my complete lack of artistic talent). The Dodgers advanced to the World Series for the second straight year, and lost to the Yankees for the second straight year. My family acquired our very own Pong console for our television. I saw Grease twice the day it opened, and for some reason I remember that my candy of choice that day was Starburst. Mork & Mindy debuted on ABC. The Camp David Peace Accords were signed. There were three different popes.
1978 was also a pretty fantastic year for R&B, soul, and disco. Here are five groovy tunes from the year that Katie Holmes was born:
Heatwave: “The Groove Line” (Written By Rod Temperton)
From the album Central Heating
Epic Records, 1978
“The Groove Line,” like most of Heatwave’s material, was written by keyboardist Rod Temperton. Rod just might be the funkiest white Englishman on the face of the planet. Of course, Rod went on to fantastic success as a songwriter for Michael Jackson (“Rock With You”) , George Benson (“Give Me The Night”), and countless others.
“The Groove Line” reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gave Heatwave their second Top 10 single in the U.S. (“Boogie Nights” peaked at #2 in early 1977).
Chaka Khan: “I’m Every Woman” (Written By Nickolas Ashford & Valeri Simpson)
From the album Chaka
Warner Brothers Records, 1978
Chaka Khan was still an active member of Rufus when she released her first solo album, Chaka, in late 1978. Rufus had a Top 40 hit earlier in the year with “Stay,” but Chaka’s solo take on Ashford & Simpson’s “I’m Every Woman” went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Soul chart. Whitney Houston also took “I’m Every Woman” into the Top 10 in 1993.
The Michael Zager Band: “Let’s All Chant” (Written By Alvin Fields & Michael Zager)
From the album Let’s All Chant
Private Stock Records, 1978
Michael Zager is best-known as the producer who “discovered” Whitney Houston, but in 1978 he had a smash of his own with “Let’s All Chant.” The song went to #1 on the Dance charts in February of 1978, and reached #36 on the Hot 100 as well.
Teddy Pendergrass: “Close The Door” (Written By Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff)
From the album Life Is A Song Worth Singing
Philadelphia International Records, 1978
“Erectile dysfunction: it’s not just a dog problem anymore. It also effects millions of men. I’m Dr. Leo Spaceman. For too long, erectile dysfunction has been viewed as a physical problem, and it’s been treated with pills and ointments and contraptions whose straps break all too easily. But couldn’t the real cause of E.D. be that we haven’t produced a good “doing it” song since “Close The Door” by Teddy Pendergrass? That’s why I recorded an album.”
Giorgio Moroder: “Chase” (Written By Giorgio Moroder & John Williams)
From the original soundtrack album Midnight Express
Casablanca Records, 1978
In 1978, my father owned a Datsun 280ZX. It had no back seat, so I often had to ride around while lying on my back in the hatch. I can vividly remember Dad blowing down the San Diego Freeway with “Chase” blasting out of the speakers and the lights of Los Angeles flashing past me. That might get Dad arrested for child negligence in today’s over-protective world, but in 1978 it made him the coolest Dad on the planet.
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Michael Jackson” “Rock With You” (Written By Rod Temperton)
From the album Off The Wall
Epic Records, 1979
George Benson: “Give Me The Night” (Written By Rod Temperton)
From the album Give Me The Night
Warner Brothers Records, 1980
Heatwave: “Boogie Nights” (Written By Rod Temperton)
From the album Too Hot To Handle
Epic Records, 1976
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan: “Stay” (Written By Richard Calhoun & Chaka Khan)
From the album Street Player
ABC Records, 1978
Whitney Houston: “I’m Every Woman” (Written By Nikolas Ashford & Valeri Simpson)
From the original soundtrack album The Bodyguard
Arista Records, 1993