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Thread: Old Standards Disco Style

  1. #1
    Disco Funk is offline Platinum Record [Level 8]

    Old Standards Disco Style

    During the disco era, there were disco remakes of classic 'oldies' or hits from previous decades, like songs from the 60s, and disco versions of symphonic orchestral pieces like 'A Fifth Of Beethoven' by Walter Murphy. Personally, I never really liked those disco interpretations. For some reason they just didn't translate well into the disco genre, although 'A Fifth Of Beethoven' was great because Murphy put a funky groove to the track.

    I've recently been getting into various disco albums that all have a common theme - they're remakes of Old Standards. By that, I'm referring to songs written in the 30's, 40's, and possibly in the early 50's done disco style. My favourite records featuring these types of songs:

    Frankie Crocker Heart & Soul Orchestra - Disco Suite Symphony (tracks like Poinciana and The Very Thought Of You)
    John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - Night & Day (Cole Porter tracks like the title track and Under My Skin)
    Billy Jackson's Citizen Band - S/T (tracks like Tenderly and Cherry Pink)
    Alexander's Discotime Band - I Remember You (I haven't heard the whole LP, just the single, but the LP is full of similar tracks)
    Carol Williams - More (from Lectric Lady)

    I find that this era or style of songwriting seemed to translate well into disco music for some reason. Also, most of the records featuring these remakes came around the same year - 1976. Was there an interest in old standards booming around that time?

    What are your favourite disco era covers of the old standards?

    Disco Funk

  2. #2

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    I think one of the more successful attempts was "That
    Old Black Magic" by the Softones which managed to
    sound modern and new when it was played.
    Also "What a Difference a Day Makes" by Esther Phillips
    was nice(but need to be slowed down)and Bette Midler's
    "Strangers in the Night" was a pleasant throwaway hustle track.

    thom

  3. #3
    markydefad's Avatar
    markydefad is offline Triple Platinum Record [Level 10]

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    from the 8/30/75 Disco Compilation Consensus Charts...

    The Big Tease:

    Next week we see more evidence of a new trend that I am calling the "Blame It On 'Brazil' " syndrome--I'll expound later in more length. Let's just say that producers and artists are goin' back.....waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to the Pop standards of the Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties & Sixties for material to "discotize." In other words, "Disco"-- not just "your music" anymore...it's music for yer mom & dad...and for granny & gramps too!!! :P :roll: "Hey Granny-- "The Charleston", er, "Disco Charleston" or "Charleston Hustle" is BAAAAAACK!!!" Everything old is new again. :icon_rolleyes:

    Some of this is good; some is absolute swill--but it's a comin'. Everyone wants a "HIT" and this is the best way to get a have a shot at a "comeback" or to get a record played at all...cover a STANDARD and add a disco beat.
    _____________________________________________


    "One of the hottest records of the week is the French import "Brazil" by the Ritchie Family....Jacques Morali, producer of "Brazil", who resides in France, wanted to cut an international standard with the "Philadelphia sound." Tom Moulton 7/5/75

    I wrote this in December, 2004...

    BLAME IT ON "BRAZIL"....

    Or was it the one-two punch of "Brazil" and "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes"? BOTH records recently topped the disco charts and BOTH had their origins in the Big Band era. "What a Difference a Day (MADE)" was originally a #5 Pop hit for Jimmy Dorsey in 1934 & later covered by Dinah Washington in 1959 (#8 Pop/#4 R&B). "Brazil" was originally a #2 Pop hit for Xavier Cugat's band in 1943.

    In addition, there was the lesser hit "Big Noise From Winnetka" by Spaghetti Head which charted here earlier in the spring of 1975, originally a Big Band hit for Bing's brother, Bob Crosby's band in 1940 and later covered again by Bette Midler in 1979.

    Oh, and let's not forget, The Trammps actually got there first with their disco remake of "Zing Went the Strings Of My Heart" , a 1935 movie tune, popularized by Miss Judy Garland in 1943.

    Factor in the popularity of Broadway showtune "Ease On Down the Road" from "The Wiz", which topped the charts earlier in 1975....

    and across America and Europe the LIGHT BULB goes on!!!! :D Producers look at the success of of these disco remakes of "standards" and say "I can do that!!!"

    Anyhoo-- there will now be an onslaught of artists raiding the Great & not-so-great American Songbook to cover old tunes as "disco." "Nostalgia" is in, ushered in, in great part (is that enough "in's" or what?) :oops: by Bette Midler's first LP and the recent debut of the Manhattan Transfer and the early releases of the Pointer Sisters--artists are rediscovering the pre-rock era in music.


    I went back over all the titles that have appeared on the Disco charts here since the October 26, 1974 debut and these are the results.

    Thus far, as of the end of August, 1975-- the majority of cover tunes "discotized" have been from the

    Sixties/Seventies Motown school:

    NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE (#2 Pop for the Jackson Five in 1971)
    REACH OUT I'LL BE THERE (#1 Pop for the Four Tops in 1966)
    FOREVER CAME TODAY (#28 Pop for Diana Ross & the Supremes in 1968.)
    WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG AND IN LOVE (#23 Pop for the Marvelettes in 1967)
    WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE (#16 Pop for Michael Jackson in 1972)
    PAPA WAS A ROLLIN' STONE (#1 Pop for the Temptations in 1972)

    Sixties Pop/R&B:

    EVERLASTING LOVE (Robert Knight/1967)
    WALK ON BY (Dionne Warwick/1964)
    IT'S IN HIS KISS (SHOOP SHOOP SONG) (Betty Everett/1964)

    R&B:

    WORK TO DO (Isley Brothers/1972)
    K-JEE (Nite-liters/1971)
    I CAN UNDERSTAND IT (Bobby Womack/ Valentino's/ New Birth/1973)
    DO THE CHOO CHOO (Archie Bell & the Drells/1968)

    Rock:

    ALL RIGHT NOW (Free/1970)

    Broadway:

    EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD; TORNADO (from the current Broadway musical The Wiz)

    And Recycled Disco:

    THE BOTTLE (Originally done by Gil Scott-Heron and later covered by Joe Bataan & WATERBED originally a hit by LTG Exchange, newly covered by Herbie Mann.

    BUT--now since the success of BRAZIL & WHAT A DIFF...everything is fair game--from f-ing Stephen Foster to Cole Porter to Antonio Carlos Jobim to Goffin/King--they're all comin' back with a disco beat!!! Everything from hoary old vaudeville era chestnuts like "Swanee" to the classical string quartet of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" are getting disco remakes. Well, just about everything-- except "My Mammy'!!!! (The Happenings actually had the cheek to cover this in 1967) :oops:

    The new "orchestra sound" is obviously a perfect fit for Big Band era covers.

    BIG BAND ERA:
    CARAVAN
    TANGERINE
    FRENESI
    PEANUT VENDOR
    BABY FACE
    FOOLS RUSH IN
    I'LL BE SEEING YOU
    I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
    POINCIANA
    THE CHARLESTON
    THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, amongst many others.

    The Cole Porter songbook alone provides:
    NIGHT AND DAY
    I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN
    ANYTHING GOES
    LOVE FOR SALE.. between now and the beginning of 1976.

    MOVIE THEMES:
    SUMMER OF '42
    EXODUS
    A SUMMER PLACE
    JAWS
    MORE (from "Mondo Cane")

    TV THEMES:
    THEME FROM S.W.A.T
    STAR TREK

    BROADWAY TUNES:
    I COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT (My Fair Lady
    SOMEWHERE (West Side Story)
    Salsoul even attempts to give Fiddler on the Roof a disco makeover!!! :icon_redface::icon_redface::icon_redface:

    BOSSA NOVA:
    THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA
    BRAZILIA CARNIVAL

    FIFTIES STANDARDS:
    HOW HIGH THE MOON
    AUTUMN LEAVES
    VOLARE
    HURT

    FIFTIES ROCK:
    YAKETY YAK
    WILLIE & THE HAND JIVE

    SIXTIES POP:
    STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
    CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU
    VENUS
    SUNNY

    SIXTIES BRILL BUILDING POP:
    WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW
    OH, NO, NOT MY BABY
    OUR DAY WILL COME
    ONE FINE DAY

    MORE MOTOWN:
    I HEAR A SYMPHONY
    IT'S THE SAME OLD SONG
    SHAKE ME, WAKE ME (WHEN IT'S OVER)
    DATE WITH THE RAIN
    THIS OLD HEART OF MINE (IS WEAK FOR YOU)

    THE BEATLES:
    DRIVE MY CAR
    ELEANOR RIGBY

    EVEN XMAS SONGS:
    THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everyone is gettin' on the Disco Choo-Choo HOPEFULLY riding it to "Hitsville" on the Disco, R&B, and please gawd, the Pop charts! :icon_biggrin:

    In preparation for writing this , I admit I put on what I consider to be the ultimate in shamelessly crass, cheap and calculatingly cheesy attempts to cash in ...the Wing & a Prayer Fife & Drum Corps LP featuring "Baby Face" !!!! (Gag Meeeee!!!!) :icon_redface::icon_redface::icon_redface: :icon_rolleyes::icon_rolleyes::icon_rolleyes: :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:

    Yes, I admit, this is my least favorite era of Disco--but it does culminate in the divine Dr. Buzzard reinventing disco as "new old music" in mid-1976...and creating wonderful stuff at that!!!. :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin:

    Hey, Maybe I Could Have a Hit Again?!?!!!!

    The recent chart career rejuvenations of Frankie Valli, Esther Phillips, the Four Seasons, and even the Bee Gees has given hope to a bunch of "hitless" artists in the mid-Seventies.

    Al Martino, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, Henry Mancini, Percy Faith, Cy Coleman, the Ventures are among the sorta "over-the hill" gang who will get a disco charted record. Miss Barbra Streisand and Miss Bette Midler will enter the disco charts as will that never quite-made-it, Streisand wannabe--Julie Budd (ya gotta be as old as me to remember her!!) :icon_biggrin:

    Bobby Hebb re-records his "Sunny" after Yambu gets it charted first.
    Percy Faith updates his own "Theme from A Summer Place".
    Ditto Frankie Avalon with "Venus" and Bobby Rydell with "Sway."
    And lounge-lizard Al Martino steals Dean Martin's "Volare" and gets a disco hit!!!

    And that's just the way it is.

    Jazz artists, buoyed by the success of Herbie Mann & Esther Phillips, start adding the disco beat to their products in an attempt to get airplay and sell their records.

    Among them:
    GROVER WASHINGTON, JR.
    THE BLACKBYRDS
    THE CRUSADERS
    THE BRECKER BROTHERS
    LONNIE LISTON SMITH
    HANK CRAWFORD
    DEODATO
    HUBERT LAWS
    CLEVELAND EATON
    DONALD BYRD
    RAMSEY LEWIS
    JOHNNY HAMMOND
    RON CARTER

    It's all comin' to the Disco Compilation Consensus!!!
    ______________________________________________

    CLUB DIALOG by Tom Moulton
    9/13/75 (note the new title)

    (NEW YORK) Gloria Gaynor's album, out only a week, jumps to the top of the audience response listing here, marking the first time since the column's inception that any record has taken the no. 1 spot in such a short time. Word from a number of disk jockeys, including Hector LeBron (Limelight), Walter Gibbons (Outside Inn), Tony Smith (Barefoot Boy), and Frank Strivelli (Alley) is that the medley side of the LP instantly fills the dance floor.

    Ms. Gaynor also helped her own cause with the local DJs by autographing some 200 albums for early distribution to the spinners.

    Looks like there's like a new trend on the scene - oldies from the forties and fifties updated and arranged for today's dancers.
    Already, such favorites as "Brazil," "Caravan," "What A Difference A Day Makes" and "How High The Moon" are scoring with discogoers. :icon_lol:
    "Lost inside adorable illusion...."

  4. #4
    needlefingers is offline Platinum Record [Level 8]

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    My favorite is The Girl From Ipanema by Astrud Gilberto. I wish it was originally better mixed, but there is enough there to make your own mix.

    Other standouts include;

    Poinciana - Paradise Express

    Three Little Words - Deco Disco with Camp Galore(the whole album is standards and quite good.)

    Two lps by Tuxedo Junction that are all standards and include Take The 'A' Train, Night In Tunisia, Begin The Beguine, Rainy Night In Rio, and of course Chattanooga Choo Choo.

    Crazy Rhythm - Meco

    Tangerine - The Salsoul Orchestra

    West Side Story (Medley) - The Salsoul Orchestra

    Quiet Village - The Ritchie Family

    Stormy Weather - Viola Wills

  5. #5

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    I don't know if this 1 fits in this thread but when the Americans were Discofying their standards (and I think most of 'em are already named), we Ze Europeans were doing our own. And we go a little further in history :icon_eek:

    Well, it's Moroder/Belotte stuff and of course...I like this!

    DBS™ Media & Entertainment GmbH ® München/Deutschland

    DBS™ Official @YouTube|||DBS™ @Twitter

  6. #6
    Disco Funk is offline Platinum Record [Level 8]

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    Oh man, how could I forget the Brazil LP, Marky!! Thanks for pointing that out! That definitely would be the reason why the old standards done disco style really peaked in '76. Everyone was jumping on the bandwagon that year! And it was a great bandwagon.

    Thanks everyone for other tracks you've mentioned. I was also going to include That Old Black Magic by the Softones (again, from '76) but I forgot about that track when I finally settled to down to start writing the thread.

    Other standards done disco style that I now remember:

    Caravan - Rhythm Heritage and El Coco did covers of these.
    Begin The Beguine - Anvil Band, which was from an LP of instrumental versions of Vince Montana and Joe Bataan productions.

    Love For Sale - Astrud Gilberto also recorded this track on her That Girl From Ipanema LP (produced by Vince Montana), but it's the Vast Majority version that I prefer the best!

    Disco Funk

  7. #7

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    [quote=needlefingers;133187]

    Two lps by Tuxedo Junction that are all standards and include Take The 'A' Train, Night In Tunisia, Begin The Beguine, Rainy Night In Rio, and of course Chattanooga Choo Choo.

    My Favorite of all was probably "That Old Black Magic" By Tuxedo Junction. (Liked it much better than Softones). Don't forget that Big Band Swing-Time remakes were so BIG that even K-Tel pressed the "Swing Disco" album.
    I think it was the "touch dance" craze and latin hustle and Dance Fever TV show and all which rekindled interest in this genre. Romance, Elegance, Nostalgia all combined (while our economy was the worst it had been since The Great Depression.) I for one at that time felt the direct connection to the similarities of the two eras.

  8. #8

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    I'm with Marky on this.

    For the most part I despised all of these remakes. Even now, I still can't listen to 'em without wanting to throw up in some instances. Why would any young hip person (of that time) want to actively get into their parents'/grandparents music? These were made by old people FOR old people (namely the old geezers who still ran the music biz and longed for the good old days of tin pan alley). Make NO mistake, apart from the very odd release, they were NOT welcome by the average club goer this side of the Atlantic.

  9. #9
    SanDee's Avatar
    SanDee is offline Double Platinum Record [Level 9]

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    I must admit to Savoy's 'Sunny Side Of The Street' from '79 being a guilty pleasure & of course Sheila B.'s 'Singing In The Rain' is fab too.
    They Only Come Out At Night.......
    My heart is in the cause of the uncommon man.

  10. #10
    Disco Funk is offline Platinum Record [Level 8]

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    Quote Originally Written by QUINNY View Post
    I'm with Marky on this.

    For the most part I despised all of these remakes. Even now, I still can't listen to 'em without wanting to throw up in some instances. Why would any young hip person (of that time) want to actively get into their parents'/grandparents music? These were made by old people FOR old people (namely the old geezers who still ran the music biz and longed for the good old days of tin pan alley). Make NO mistake, apart from the very odd release, they were NOT welcome by the average club goer this side of the Atlantic.
    I hear ya. I didn't get exposed to the old standards on vinyl being a child of the 70s, but I did see them occasional on TV, so they don't have the uncool connotation they have for the baby boomers. I like them a lot because I haven't heard the originals played or over-played.

    Disco Funk

  11. #11

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

    Disco Danish: Jalousie
    Want c 200 other slippery eurodisco reworkings of old standards of every kind, schlagers, pop tunes, cha-chas or half forgotten yé-yé favourites? I have been maniacally collecting stuff like that since day one. When I get out of this flu I might start building a list just for the hell of it...
    Last edited by JussiK; February 7th, 2008 at 12:58 AM. Reason: it's more like 200 than 100 of course

  12. #12

    Re: Old Standards Disco Style

     

     

     

    I have Satisfaction by Helen Davis on the Carrere label so I think it's French - a really well worked disco production of the Rolling Stones classic! I've played it a few times on my shows and intend to play it to a crowd sometime very soon!

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