I’m no expert and I’m making this up as I go along, but I have been wondering for sometime now whatever happened to boogie? I don’t mean boogie-woogie, as that is alive and well and is played in country parks throughout the land by Jools Holland and his Orchestra. I mean Boogie, as a term for just shaking your thing to some music with a good beat behind it, probably under the influence of some intoxiocating booze.
I mean the sort of sound that Marc Bolan was always referring to. He loved to boogie on a Saturday night and back in the 1970s so did everyone else. By which I mean a geezer clad in denim with hair longer than Francis Rossi or maybe a Ziggy backcomber would get down with his chick in hot pants to Rod and the Faces, The Groundhogs or Quo and boogie. My parents loved to boogie. Quintessential boogie numbers are Stay with me (Faces), Get Down & Get with it (Slade), Brown Sugar (Stones) and Get it on (Bolan).
It was appropriated by the disco community who also absolutely loved to boogie under hot lights either with or without the use of roller skates. Gents would be sporting large flares with chest exposed either by an unbuttoned shirt or a vest (without holes) with a slogan on it or maybe just a number in groovy font (69 for example). Ladies would be wearing hot pants (perhaps that is the common denominator). Even Pele loved to boogie!
I was just a kid back then, so admit that I don’t have first hand experience of what it was like to partake in boogie-ing but it has connotations for me. It connotates fun and exuberance regardless of what may be going on with the world. In fact, what was going on was an economic crisis way worse than the current shambles, violence at football matches, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, teenage tribalism, it was a rough time, but people boogied and I can’t help but think that was a good thing; an antidote to stress and strife.
So, here is a Top 10 hats off to 1970s boogie whether denim-clad rock, glam or disco.
1. Zip Gun Boogie: Bolan ~ Marc was boogie and boogie was Marc. “Did you ever see anyone do the Marc Bolan boogie?” Marc was struggling with drugs and his weight and his fading star when this came out towards the back end of ’74, but it’s a favourite of mine. Also produced Born to Boogie, I Love to Boogie and Bolan Boogie is my favourite T.Rex album, a great comp of his early electric material.
2. Boogie Shoes: KC & The Sunshine Band ~ The greatest disco group. Yep, better than the Bee Gees and Jacksons. The only track from Saturday Night Fever with the word boogie in the title. Wouldn’t you boogie to this if some DJ stuck it on at a wedding?
3. Boogie on Reggae Woman: Stevie Wonder ~ Bang in the middle of that wonderful era when Stevie turned everything he touched into liquid gold. See, they even boogie over at Motown.
4. Blame it on the Boogie: Jacksons ~ I’ve said it before – the brothers’ output knocks all the spots off Michael’s solo stuff. Never cared for Billie Jean, Thriller or any of those 80s songs. This, however, is pop magic, or rather boogie magic.
5. Honaloochie Boogie: Mott the Hoople ~ It has just occured to me that the appeal of boogie may be the fact that you don’t need to be any good at dancing. Boogie is party music, you can just move from side to side like your parents used to and if the music is loud enough and you’ve drunk enough Woodpecker cider then you’re having a good time. This was Mott’s second hit and another favourite from my childhood.
6. Casino Boogie: Rolling Stones ~ From Exile on Main St back in the days when everything the Stones did was fuelled by boogie and just like they were once the greatest r’n’b group who ever lived, few could play boogie better than this lot. They traced boogie back to its early blues and country roots.
7. Boogie Nights: Heatwave ~ “Cos boogie nights are always the best in town”. They most certainly are. I could have sworn this was on Saturday Night Fever, but it isn’t. A classic of the disco era, but as my Grandad might have said, “what the bloody hell are they wearing?” and you’d have to empathise with his bemusement.
8. Yes Sir, I Can Boogie: Sophie Ellis-Bextor ~ Of course there’s Baccara, but they are always going to lose out to Sophie in my book. She’s got a new single coming out in June by the way, Heartbreak (Make me a Dancer).
9. Boogie Wonderland: Earth Wind & Fire ~ Just edges out A Taste of Honey’s Boogie Oogie Oogie.
10. Get Up & Boogie: Silver Connection ~ Not quite as good as I recall. In fact, not very good at all. Can anyone explain the bizarre punch up that flares around about 1 min 30?