Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unexpected Finds (A weekday Saturday Sound Track posting)

I was wondering tonight if Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang or Rapture by Blondie was the first rap "song" to make the it to the Top 40 in America. (Things like this bother me. I don't know why.) As it happened, Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight was released in 1979, about 1/2 a hear before Blondie's Rapture. So, though Blondie can be said to have had one of the earliest Hip Hop hits, Sugar Hill Gang was first.

Interestingly, my memories of these songs involve church parking lots. I was a boy, about 10 years old at a P.Y.P.A. rally Concord, California. I have no memory of what was said by any of the speakers at the rally, but after the meeting some of the kids were playing Rapper's Delight and break dancing. That is, they were until some of the adults came over to where we were and said our behavior was not appropriate. I was just a spectator. I had never seen breakdancing. The Blondie song, Rapture, I remember because I and a girl named Kim were sitting on the parking lot listening to it on her new Boom Box, trying to memorize the words to the rap portion. Well, she was trying to memorize the words. I was just trying to be cool. She was 13. I was 10. 10 year old boys are, and I know it might be hard to believe, not cool.

But that is not what this post is about. While looking for the answer to that question - Which song was the first Hip Hop hit? - I came across two things that I found both diverting and entertaining. The first is a song by a group called Las Ketchup. What about it is so diverting and entertaining? They have taken the most identifiable and memorable part of Rappers Delight - you know what I'm talking about: "I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the boogity bee..." and have turned it into something... well, when I first heard it I wasn't sure what I was hearing, but the second time I was sure. You need to hear it for yourself.

Isn't that great!?!?! I love it.

The other thing I came across is Lilly Allen - she's obscene, vulgar, uncouth, and drinks too much, but OH! Such a delightful songstress she is! - singing Blondie's 1980 hit, Heart of Glass. Not only is she singing it, she has made the song her own by ditching all of Blondie's hard edged New Waviness and replacing it with a kind of breezy, light-hearted Django Reinhardt feeling. (Not that anything about Django - He let's me call him Django, but you probably shouldn't - was lighthearted.) Enjoy!

(Note: It is not Saturday, and none of these songs fit in the time perimeter established for the Saturday Soundtrack, but I don't really have another good label for this post.)

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