Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Night Dance Party • 1982

Evelyn Champagne King D. Train
Chaz Jankel Vanity
Clockwise: Evelyn "Champagne" King; D.Train; Vanity; and Chaz Jankel.

Do you remember where you were thirty years ago? The year was 1982, and I was having quite the year. I was finishing up college in Reading, Pennsylvania. In the fall, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to start an internship at The Actor's Theatre of Louisville, a prestigious regional theater. I was the intern for the shop, and was helping to build sets for the season. The next year, after returning home, I would be moving to New York City. So I decided to check out the top dance songs found on the Billboard magazine Hot Dance Club Play number one hits of 1982. While I was busy working at ATL, enjoying the work with Tech Director Tom, Master Carpenter Joel, and carpenter Sly, so there was no time for me to go out to any of the dance clubs. Hey, I didn't even have a car, and had to depend on the kindness of other for a ride. But Prince was certainly making his presence felt on the charts, since the #1 on the Dance Chart for the month of November was by the group Vanity 6, put together by the artist currently known as Prince. He also wrote the song, although the credit was given to lead singer Vanity. The song was Nasty Girl, and it was fantastic!

I moved to Louisville in September, and had a small furnished apartment to myself. My only source of music was an alarm clock/radio I brought with me, and I had more of a penchant to listening to rock, but rock was tough to find in Louisville. But I remember Love Comes Down from Pop radio, as the song made it into the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it was also #1 on the Dance charts for three straight weeks in September & October for the effervescent Evelyn "Champagne" King. Here is King singing the great song written by Kashif, whose star shone so bright in the 80s and 90s.

In the early part of 1982, I was trying to figure out what I would be doing once I was out of college. It was then I got together with my adviser, Lynn Morrow, and came up with the plan to take the internship at ATL before moving to New York. There I would be meeting up with Bill, who was also leaving Reading in the fall to attend grad school at Columbia. Yes, there was much on my mind, but I do remember that, for seven consecutive weeks, from February 20 to April, the #1 dance song in the charts was Chaz Jankel. With one of the more interesting packaging ploys, with a trio of "A" sides, Glad To Know You, 3,000,000 Synths, and Ai No Corrida, were topping the chart. Jankel was best known for his work with Ian Drury as part of the rock band Ian Drury and the Blockheads in the 1970s. It is said that Drury brought the rock, while Jankel brought the funk to give the band a distinctive sound. So here he is delivering his own groove in Ai No Corrida, a song he also wrote.

I have to admit, at the early part of 1982, I was going out to The Glass Door in Reading, Pennsylvania, the big gay club in town. I would go out with Bill and dance and play. This was a great time. We'd go out, meet up with Russel-Bob and others, and drink a bit too much, and dance a bit too hard. We'd head home a sweaty mess. And I do remember dancing to the final song in this post. For three weeks in a row, from the end of January until the middle of February, the #1 Dance song in the clubs was D. Train singing You're The One For Me. While D. Train was officially a duo mad up of James "D. Train" Williams and Hubert Eaves III, Williams was the face and voice of the group. The song first hit the charts in 1981, but came back the following year with a great dance remix.

Whew, might be time to go shower after all that dancing!

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