I realize I’ve sort of hit upon a theme lately when it comes to LIT70s, but I don’t think it’s fair to limit just the Beach Boys to the Disco Hall of Shame. As we’ve seen over the past few months, there are plenty of other artists who jumped the disco bandwagon to revive a flagging career. There are also quite a few who started as disco artists, only to later change direction and deny their humble beginnings once they hit it big in their new genre.
Take, for example, “Cuts Like a Knife” rocker Bryan Adams.Á‚ Or as we will all now know him, Disco Chipmunk.
Yes, it’s true: our leather-clad, fist-pumping, “normal” dude next door was once shaking it on the dance floor, and he wanted you to join him. His first single at the tender age of 18, “Let Me Take You Dancing” (download) was cowritten by Adams and his longtime writing partner Jim Vallance. The original Canadian version, a snippet of which you can hear on Vallace’s website, was more in a Nick Gilder vein, but the disco beat was still there. The single made a little noise up north, so for its American release, disco remixer John Luongo was called in to disco-fy the track even more.
Luongo’s solution was to beef up the beat a bit, add some percussion and handclaps, and speed up the track a bit. Trouble is, he didn’t bother to have Adams re-record his vocal track to match the new, obviously higher pitch, so — bam! — Disco Chipmunk.
Adams was understandably unhappy with the end result, but it did score a bit of disco club play and ended up helping garner Adams a full-fledged record deal with A&M Records, so it all worked out in the end.
Now is “Let Me Take You Dancing” a bad song by any stretch? That really depends on your tolerance for disco. If you enjoy some disco, like I do, it’s really not that offensive, if a little bland.Á‚ The pre-chorus is actually sort of neat, and there are definitely flashes of Bryan Adams songs to come buried under the percussion and helium vocals. Unfortunately, Adams isn’t a big fan of the track, and so far the only place it’s made an appearance on CD is on a disc called Disco Box Vol. 2, Disco Heat released inÁ‚ 2000. If you have a real jones to own it, you can find it on Amazon, but you listed under Disco Heat Vol. 2.
Disco Chipmunk, awaaaaayyy!
“Let Me Take You Dancing” peaked at #76 on the Billboard Disco Top 80 Chart in 1979.
Get Bryan Adams music at Amazon or on