30 August 2007

In fond remembrance of Purple

As the two-year anniversary of Katrina gets hashed and rehashed, I was reminded tonight of a part of New Orleans popular culture which died. It didn't die at the hands of Katrina; no, this occurred nearly ten years ago. In a way, you could call this a XYAT post.

It was in September 1997 that Rite Aid, a completely obnoxious pharmacy chain in my humble', opened up its checkbook and bought -- no, swallowed -- two regional drugstore concerns. The first was Harco, a company based out of Tuscaloosa, Ala. with stores all over Alabama, and possibly beyond. At the same time, another purchase would go on to be felt all over New Orleans, as well as all over the rest of Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The company was K&B. Founded by two gentlemen, one named Katz and the other Besthoff, it was nothing less than a New Orleans treasure. There were K&B stores on damn near ever other corner in The Crescent City.

Purple was their signature color. From the logo down to the uniforms .... and even the cash registers. All in purple. K&B even sold their own line of ballpoint pens, too. Purple-colored, with the K&B logo proudly emblazoned thereon. And yes, they wrote in purple ink.

But there's more. K&B sold liquor in its Louisiana stores. Had their own brand of beer for a time, too. And K&B brand ice cream -- made in their own Metairie, La. creamery -- had a good reputation.

By 1990, K&B made a push into central Alabama, building stores in Montgomery and in Troy. They had a very nice pharmacist, and all the folks were nice as could be. That was a K&B trademark -- customer service was job one at K&B stores. That's where we got our pictures developed, bought our OTC meds, band aids and batteries. They always had good prices on batteries.

Speaking of which, the battery in my still-kickin' calculator finally bit the big one. I opened it up, with the expectation of finding a button-style watch battery. I'd get the stock number, and pick up another tomorrow at Rat Shack. But what I found in there was a standard, garden-variety AA cell battery. And the label brought it all back....















What I might have was the last gasp of any K&B branded battery. 10 years after Super Distributors (the "parent company" of K&B's house brand) closed shop. This calculator dates back to 1992, according to a date code stamped inside. And I don't recall ever changing out the battery, either, so this puppy gave an astonishing 15 years' worth of service. Almost as long as my son has been alive. Wow.

I miss K&B.

But maybe I should be thankful it wasn't around to see Katrina.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Personally Yours" Gleck

25 August 2007

Talmadge has some 'spaining to do

This afternoon, we officially bid adieu to what for the past three years we've called our PMT. A dark blue 2004 Honda Element. It served us well, faithfully and without a hint of mechanical trouble.

But the logistics of the vehicle were beginning to become a burden. The way the rear doors opened, for instance. The rear backseat, and its 'stadium seating' -- nice if you like to see the highway ahead from an elevated view. Not so nice if you're taller than Gary Coleman.

We began seeking out a more 'conventional' small SUV. Last night we test-drove the Toyota RAV4. A solid, well-built, time-tested and undisputedly reliable vehicle. Then we tried out its main 'competition', the Honda CR-V. While it had more room upfront than the '04 we test-drove before ending up with the Element, the 2007-08 CR-Vs just felt too spartan. They were solid, as Hondas typically are, however they were just ... spartan.

We were swooning over the RAV4, and would've taken one were it not for complacent arrogance oozing from the whole Toyota network. Now the woman who waited on us and showed us the RAV4 was wonderful and atypically low-key .... for Toyota, that's saying a lot. The cars are wonderful, but the sales games, the F&I hurdle ... just the whole Toyota dealer gauntlet one must run is daunting. The woman introduced us to her manager -- nice as he was, my "smarm detector" meter was pegging. Truth was, the RAVs were out of our reach, and my gut was telling me there was no freakin' way they would budge from sticker. Even for the '07s. And I wasn't up to the games.

So, with the RAV4 out of price range, and the CR-V underwhelming, what did that leave us?

With a fringe benefit from my wife's employer, that's what. Getting a car at invoice plus 2%. No haggle. I liked the idea myself, especially after we test-drove their 'small SUV.'

The SUV we drove .... and bought .... and now have in our driveway?

A 2008 Ford Escape XLT.

Consumer Reports rates its predicted reliability as a 'red semicircle' (above average) in the latest "Auto Issue." Which is the only reason I would even look in Ford's direction, otherwise.

And in addition to the 'special price', there was a choice of a $1,000 rebate or a special rate of 4.9% through Ford Credit. These days, car loan rates are not as generous, another hurdle we'd have faced with Toyota's Psychological Gaming Console. Running the numbers both ways (rebate v. APR) revealed we'd be better off ditching the rebate in favor of the lower financing. After pulling our bureaus, the folks at J.C. Lewis Ford said we were "Tier 1." Holy cripes, that shadow from my Chapter 7 in 1998 really is disappearing!! Busting my ass to live down that collateral damage from the divorce has paid off.

What I liked most about the dealership was that it was remarkably free of games. I clearly stated what we needed, and with a minimal of give-and-take they gave us what we wanted. And I got to do my best J. Arthur Rank on the gong inside the showroom; J.C. Lewis has a little gimmick where a new car owner strikes the gong, and all the staff within earshot break out in applause. Seraphim and I almost got in an argument about who was gonna bang the gong and get it on. She wanted me to do it. I wanted her to have the honor. She won. I hit the gong.

I almost felt like Jamie Farr. And why weren't there any teenage girls sucking on popsicles in the showroom?

The Escape has nearly everything we both wanted in such a vehicle. Plenty of room - up front, backseat and in the rear. Little things, such as an onboard compass. Outside temperature display (something from our earlier Toyotas I missed). A 'rear glass release' one can activate from the key fob -- something which got Seraphim swooning. A 6-CD changer. Sirius satellite radio, with complimentary 6-month subscription (we enjoyed listening to Nina Blackwood on the '80s channel on the way back home tonight). The radio display also has RDS capability, where it can display text that some radio stations piggyback onto their signal. For example, our 'oldies' station appeared to encode song titles on its RDS.

Like all the SUVs we tested out, it has an MP3 input jack -- highly mandatory for a set of wheels, if you ask me. The Ford kickin' sound system doesn't have quite the gonads of the 260-watt Element stereo, but seems to holds its own.

The 153 HP 4-cylinder engine is responsive to accelerative stimuli. I like how the instrument panel is laid out ... although it's gonna take some time getting used to the audio/clock display being atop the dash, separate from the audio controls. Very distinctive.

Ditto for the headlight switch. Japanese models always have 'em on the left-hand stem, integrated with the turn signals. Ford, in true old-school fashion, has the controls on the dashboard on the left of the steering column. Parking brake is activated by a small foot pedal and is released by a pull lever under the left dash (near the headlight control). Very retro, reminding me of Dad's old '71 Torino.

Only drawback thus far is the gas mileage. We were seeking out something a little less thirsty than the Element -- the Honda CR-V won the fuel economy race, tires down. Alas, it looks like we've made a lateral move in that column. It seems to be 20-city/25-highway ... right where the Element was.

We liked it, the deal was right, so we purchased. And this means Talmadge Gleck has a Ford in his driveway. Something I would never have imagined as recently as a month ago.

Am I suddenly a Ford convert? Far from it. What we're doing is -- and not without a little leeriness -- taking a huge gamble. Betting that this Detroit car will make us forget about the unpleasant shitboxes I drove once upon a time.

It seemed like I hated Ford .... although thinking deeper on the topic, what I didn't like about it was the flimsy feel of my old '87 Mercury Topaz, and even worse was the dealer network. Ford's dealer system did NOT stand behind their products in the '80s and early '90s.

This SUV will be maintained just as faithfully as I've done our previous Hondas and Toyotas (and Nissan before that). Probably even more anally, to tell you the truth.

The wager is that I'll be able to drive a domestic make 50,000 miles without a single mechanical malfunction. Will that happen? Nobody can say for sure now, not with barely 50 miles on the odometer.

Part of me is elated. The Escape is one sharp-looking little SUV. But the other part of me feels like this is going to be 1988 all over again, and dumping one woman for another. Mesmerized by the siren call of a pretty car with lots of bells and whistles ... and kicking a less-exciting, yet dependable car to the curb.

Which brings me to this question: Am I the only one who assigns human qualities to a vehicle? Getting that sinking feeling that I'm betraying a companion by trading it in and leaving them behind at a car dealership?

I don't know. I hope I'm wrong. I hope I'll eat lots of crow. In the meanwhile, we're gonna enjoy our new ride.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Blue Oval" Gleck

24 August 2007

What if Chuck Barris went car shopping?

"Let's meet our three automobiles, and heeeeeere they arrrrrrrrre............"

[Jim Lange just finished adjusting his toupee, and has asked us to sit down. He's placed in our hot little hands all of the stupid questions the writers have cooked up.]

"Car Number 1, what would you say is your most redeeming feature"

#1) "I'd say it's my full-size spare tire. And I don't mean the kind you get from putting away too many beers, either."

"I see. Why is that?"

#1) "Because the rest of them just eat doughnuts. You'd think they were cops or somethin'"

"Car Number 2, same question."

#2) "I have more room than Number 1. Or at least that's what my Pokemon Salesman Trainer tells me. Also I have less junk in the trunk and more room up front than in previous years."

"Nice. Okay, Number 3 .... you and I are out on a country road. I have gotten lost (yes, even roadgeeks get lost sometimes, too! -- NORFOLK, anyone???). There's nothing out here except for the occasional pig squeal which doesn't sound like a pig's making it. How are you going to help get us out of this jam?"

#3) "Why that's easy. You see my little display up here? That's the on-board compass. None of these other jokers have THAT."

[Both #1 and #2 look at #3 with a dirty look on their grilles. They're rolling their headlights.]

"So? What's so great about that? Yeah, it's cool and all, but what else can you offer us?"

#3) "Six months of Sirius satellite radio, power seats, tinted privacy glass, and a console deeper than most classic rock station playlists."

"Keep going...."

#3) "A powerful 4-cylinder engine. I might be a little more thirsty than these other jokers over here, but you've seen what kind of power I can deliver. And you haven't even asked me about the R-word."

"R-word? You don't mean ...."

#3) "Ah, but I do. Rebate."

"Rebate?"

#3) "Rebate."

#2) "Now just wait a bamboo-pickin' minute. You're not going to go down that primrose path, are you?"

#1) "Yeah. Why are you swooning over Car Number 3? What's it gonna take?"

"Well, I can already tell what car YOU are, Number 1."

#1) "Do I have to sic my team of high-pressure salespeople on you?"

"Can you give us a car at 2% over invoice -- a nice unsung fringe benefit of Seraphim's employer, by the way -- AND offer a rebate."

#1) "No! What's it gonna take?"

#2) "Remember the big disaster last time you did this?"

"Did what?"

#2) "I seem to recall a little two-bit dealership in Enterprise, Alabama, along about 1993....."

"That was a GM car. I'm never making that mistake again."

#2) "Oh, you mean Number 3 ISN'T General Motors?"

"No, Number 2, it is not a product of Degenerate Motors. Do you see it wearing a bowtie?"

#2) "Lord, where's Tom and Ray when you need 'em?"

#1) "Don't drive like the car next to me."

#2) "Don't drive like the car next to me."

"And a lot of people will need to get smelling salts when they hear us say it, this is NPR - Natio----"

Jim Lange comes over and says, "Hey! You can't say those vile letters on this network!"

"What? SUV?"

JL) "NPR."

"Oh. Well, not that you ever aspired to any kind of intelligent radio listening, anyhow."

JL) "Look, Talmadge, you want I should get Bob Eubanks in here to give you a rear-entrance whoopie? Just pick out the damn car you want and get this over with so I can bring out Karen Carpenter's corpse and three Tom Petty lookalike bachelors who want a final dance."

"Fine. We choose .... Car Number 3."

To be continued.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "We got the fever for the flavor of a new car" Gleck

23 August 2007

Uh oh .... the bite is swelling and inflamed.

The bite from Newvehiclius Wannabuyibus.

Seraphim and I are looking to trade in our 2004 Honda Element (a/k/a "The PMT" - [P]sychedelic [M]ilk [T]ruck) for something with a little bit better gas mileage. Searching around the various car websites has gotten us hooked.

Dammit, that's the psychology of it all, ain't it?? "New Car Fever." Once you start thinking about some new wheels, it gets under the skin and suddenly what one is driving now appears, well, dull as dirt.

Saturday we're going to trek north of the river to what has become "The New River Auto Mall" -- a bunch of car dealerships which have sprouted like mushrooms along US-278 near Hardeeville, S.C. We're looking for a smaller SUV - again, like the Element, only with a few more miles to the gas tank and a better backseat. My son -- if it isn't official now, it'll be soon enough -- is going to be taller than I am. Nettiemac and Bolivar, you two have ridden in the back of The PMT™ ... you know how cramped it is for anyone taller than, say, Danny DeVito.

Stay tuned to this station for further updates. Action Central news at :55, bulletins at any time.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Honda ... Toyota .... or ..... hmmmmm?" Gleck

05 August 2007

Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah!

"Disco music is like a bad cold that won't go away. The best thing to do is ignore it."
--folk singer/songwriter Tom Waits

"We're going through the most dramatic taste shift in popular music history. Disco is the pop music of tomorrow."
– President of POLYDOR records, 1979.


Gleck here again, with another post on his blog, which dares to ask the questions: How many individual mirrors are on a mirror ball? And were it to fall from the ceiling and shatter, would that mean 7 years' bad luck, times the number of little mirror squares?

Guess what? I haven't done a review of an American Top 40 countdown in a long damn time. So how about another one! And boy, do I have a doozy for all of you: it's the countdown program which aired the weekend before Independence Day, 1979.

1979. You know what that means. No, not a Smashing Pumpkins song; would that it were. 1979 means it's right in the middle of top-40's personal hell. Disco was king, and AT40 paid homage with a countdown they called "The Top 40 Songs of The Disco Era."

At the top of the show, Casey defined "The Disco Era" as having begun July 4, 1974, when "Rock The Boat" by The Hues Corporation hit #1. RTB was considered as the first important 'disco' record, at least going by sound and feel ... or however the hell else the Annointed Critics determined it.

Now, on a personal note, while I've long taken swings at the pinata called "disco", deep inside I honestly cannot say I loathe all disco songs. Indeed, there are some which I like - maybe even love. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for classic top-40 pop, even though by early high school, my tastes were certainly skewed heavily toward the rock side of the room.

How do I feel about disco? Simply, it shares a common trait with Native Americans. Us white people came in and royally @#$%ed up a good thing. Disco came out of BLACK MUSIC. Or, as it was popularly known back then, "SOUL." Black people made great disco, but few of us crackas shared that talent. As you shall soon see.

And the countdown starts! [jingle: "NUMBER FOURRRRRRR-TEEEEEEE!!!!"]

40) LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY / Donna Summer (1975)
Perhaps the first instance of an orgasm occurring in a top-40 record. Unless you count the groaning and such in the 1967 hit "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)." Donna Summer was the undisputed queen of disco music. She appears five (5) times in this countdown, more than any other act. Even those Gibb people.

39) SHAKE YOUR GROOVE THING / Peaches & Herb (1979)
One of several songs which bring back the brown acid of 8th grade. The 1978-79 school year was ground zero for the worst of disco. It was our first year in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and for whatever reason(s), much of that city was immersed in the disco craze -- there were two big discos, one on each side of I-55, and both were always packed. It always puzzled me, 'cuz Cape is the whitest-damn-bread city I've ever lived. To this day there has never been a fulltime 'urban' station in that market.

38) (EVERY TIME I TURN AROUND) BACK IN LOVE AGAIN / L.T.D. (1977)
Dearfolk, this is real disco. The purest form, toward which mainstream R&B/soul/black music had evolved. Brass and a funky beat trumps cheap synthesizers every time.

37) LAST DANCE / Donna Summer (1978)
Meh. It didn't do much for me. Too pretentious, especially that 'ballad' intro.

36) TURN THE BEAT AROUND / Vicki Sue Robinson (1976)
Disco was full of one-hit wonders. To wit. What is Victoria up to these days? I imagine she loves to hear percussion while she does karaoke at a lounge somewhere outside Crestview, Fla.

35) KEEP IT COMIN' LOVE / KC & The Sunshine Band (1977)
Yeah, boy. KC&TSB had in its group the few pigmentally-challenged people who knew how to make great dance music in the 1970s. I like 'em, mainly songs like this one which escaped the B2AC status given their biggest hits (we'll get to a couple shortly).

One all-white group which put out great dance music in the '70s was Average White Band. Unfortunately, they have no entry in here. Not even 1975's "Pick Up the Pieces" -- as fine a disco song ever made.

34) SHAKE YOUR BODY (DOWN TO THE GROUND) / Jacksons (1979)
The timing of this AT40 countdown was a little off. Why couldn't Casey, et al, have waited just one month. ONE MONTH. The forthcoming Michael Jackson album Off The Wall was released before the end of July '79, and one of the best disco songs ever -- his "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" -- would've blazed toward this list's top ten.

But "Shake Your Body" was a worthy contender. Typical late '70s Jacksons.

33) DANCE WITH ME / Peter Brown (1978)
Who is he? Who knows. But this is one fine dance record.

At this point in the countdown, Casey did a mini-countdown of the top three 'slow' songs, chosen by a survey of top DJs at the nation's biggest discos. The first of them was played here, and the other two came up later in the show. But I'll go ahead and give 'em all away. The Belly-Rubbin' Ballads were:
3) HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE / The Bee Gees (1977)
2) THREE TIMES A LADY / The Commodores (1978)
I can not hear this song without dropping in the immortal Eddie Murphy-as-"Buckwheat" parody lyrics .... "unce ... tice ... fee tines a mady ..."
1) REUNITED / Peaches & Herb (1979)
I reattached the "groove thing" I "shook" clean off. My apologies.

32) THAT'S THE WAY (I LIKE IT) / KC & The Sunshine Band (1975)
The sun was out too long on this one. Burnt to a crisp. Just like the bacon at IHOP last night.

31) I FEEL LOVE / Donna Summer (1977)
Ahhhh, the synthesizers of Giorgio Moroder. Quite irresistible, if you wanna know the truth.

30) DAZZ / Brick (1976)
It was a melding of the words "Disco" and "Jazz." A follow-up single would be entitled "Dusic." Personally, I was waiting for "Dlassical." Or even "Dunk." Hey, I got it -- "Dountry"

("Dip Hop" would be too easy)

29) DISCO INFERNO / The Trammps (1976)
One of the most excruciating things about one of the local top-40s in Cape was that it went headlong into disco. KGMO was the station, and they always played the long version of this one, off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. But did they play the long version of Joe Walsh's '78 hit "Life's Been Good"? Hell, no.

Side note: in 1979, KGMO's big competitor, KJAS, took advantage of the building anti-disco backlash and, in June '79, eliminated all disco records from its format. By then, Cape was coming back to its senses. Rock & roll, especially 'Midwest arena rock' was reasserting itself. KGMO, however, was still mesmerized by the mirror ball.

Well, KJAS took off .... causing a fulltime FM station to be humiliated by a one-lung 250-watt AM daytimer!

But this presented a quandry for KJAS, which carried AT40 in Cape. They couldn't air this countdown, because they'd just 86'ed the disco!! What to do? They got a one-time clearance to air the countdown on their new sister FM, KJAQ/"Q-99" -- a mixture of album rock and top-40. Amazingly, in late '79 KJAS-AM was rocking harder than its FM!

Anyhoo, I digress. Back to the countdown! [jingle: "Number Twennnnn-teeeeeee Eiiiiiight!!"]

28) KNOCK ON WOOD / Amii Stewart (1979)
Few things get me reaching for the antacid quicker than a disco cover of a classic oldie.

[At this point, Casey took a break to play another 'extra' -- the biggest dance hit of all time, Chubby Checker's 1960 smash "The Twist."]

27) YOU SHOULD BE DANCING / The Bee Gees (1976)
No, thanks. I'm too busy trying to mend a broken heart. If only I can get this thread through the stupid needle.

Are we up to number 26? That's right!!
26) GET UP AND BOOGIE / Silver Convention (1976)
This German act appear twice in this countdown. Lightweight, innocent, decent '70s dance pop.

25) IN THE NAVY / The Village People (1979)
From their bootleg LP Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Not everything about marrying Seraphim was wonderful and sweet. For starters, it was very painful having to integrate her CD The Best of The Village People into my collection. Okay, OUR collection. TVP deserve every bad thing said about them. They properly personify just what went wrong with disco, and why it would go on to be so ridiculed.

24) YOU SEXY THING / Hot Chocolate (1975)
I might be allergic to chocolate, but not this kind. I have their greatest hits CD, chock full of their great songs like "Every 1's a Winner", "Disco Queen", "Emma" and this 'un.

23) GOT TO GIVE IT UP / Marvin Gaye (1977)
Put into the perspective of this countdown, it holds its own. Otherwise, when compared with the rest of Gaye's repertoire, it doesn't do much for me. The late '70s were not kind to the man, as he was going through a very ugly divorce.

MG's death, even today, aches my heart. Just hearing 1982's monster hit "Sexual Healing" -- note for note, as good (if not better) than anything he did in the '60s -- is as painful as listening to Buddy Holly's catalog. Gaye would've gone to incredible heights, were it not for a real asswipe of a father.

"C'mere, son. I got this '45' I want you to hear."

22) FLY ROBIN FLY / Silver Convention (1975)
Another song by Silver Convention? That's right!

21) HOT STUFF / Donna Summer (1979)
For some reason, I have a craving for some pre-made convenience store pizza.

20) STAR WARS THEME-CANTINA BAND / Meco (1977)
It was the biggest instrumental hit song of the 1970s. But today, it's aged worse than The Star Wars Holiday Special.

19) MORE MORE MORE / Andrea True Connection (1976)
I don't like it, I don't like it. How do you like that?

18) MISS YOU / The Rolling Stones (1978)
If I were to rank, by my own taste, all the songs the Stones have recorded over the last 40+ years, this Summer '78 song would rank near the bottom. The second-worst cheap and tasteless disco cash-in by a ROCK artist -- worse even than The Kinks' 1979 "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman." The worst cash-in? Coming up, just you wait.

[Another "AT40 Extra" here. It's Rick Dees' song "Disco Duck." A real success. Fortunately, in this case, you cannot say "success" without saying "suck."]

17) CAR WASH / Rose Royce (1977)
More brown acid. Takes me back to Green Street Elementary School, 6th grade and lots of "Colt 45" beer bottles just waiting to be broken.

16) IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU / Yvonne Elliman (1978)
Put this one in the "meh" column. Take it or leave it.

15) SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE (SHAKE YOUR BOOTY) / KC & The Sunshine Band (1976)
To do so would set off seismographs at Caltech.

More sunshine:
14) I'M YOUR BOOGIE MAN / KC & The Sunshine Band (1977)
One of their better classics. I can do without "That's The Way", uh-huh uh-huh, "I Like It."

13) DANCE, DANCE, DANCE / Chic (1977)
Subtitled "Yowsah! Yowsah! Yowsah!", it was the smash that put this (black) act on the map. I have their hits CD, and like to pull it out whenever I need a reminder that not all disco was bad. I like this one. Always have. Even better was the follow-up, "Everybody Dance."

12) MACARTHUR PARK / Donna Summer (1978)
I'll be right back ... gotta head to Sam's Club and buy a gallon-sized jug of "Maalox" and chug it. Jimmy Webb took one listen, and said "What the fu---????" Richard Harris shook his head, sighed, and quietly uttered, "And people throw stones at MY version?"

See my remark above about "disco remakes."

11) DON'T LEAVE ME THIS WAY / Thelma Houston (1977)
Joins Yvonne Elliman in the "meh" pile, so I will leave it this way.

10) YMCA / The Village People (1978)
The 'dance' beats the song, every time. An insult to the big red triangle.

9) BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE / A Taste of Honey (1978)
Memories of Summer '78 in Cape, walking my bike uphill to the 7-Eleven on Perryville Road to earn that Coke and hot dog ... then getting to go downhill afterward. A great time before school started and they saw me in P.E.

8) I LOVE THE NIGHTLIFE / Alicia Bridges (1978)
I didn't like to boogie on the disco round, oooh yea. I passed on the aaaaack-SHAWN!!!

[Yet another "extra" here. It was 1975's "The Hustle" by Van McCoy, introducing what Casey called the "best-known disco step." The 6th grade P.E. teacher in Tupelo actually taught us this one. Chalk up one for educational priorities in Mississippi.]

7) DO YA THINK I'M SEXY / Rod Stewart (1979)
The single worst betrayal of honor by a rock act. Rod just had to have another number one single, and would do anything to get it. Hence, this. Ohhh, he got his #1, alright -- but at the cost of his credibility. It took awhile for him to live this one down.

Maggie said, "I did nothing of the sort! YOU made a first-class fool out of YOURSELF."

6) I WILL SURVIVE / Gloria Gaynor (1979)
Do I like it? Oh no, not I.

5) A FIFTH OF BEETHOVEN / Walter Murphy (1976)
Maybe it's a good thing Mr. Ludvig Von went deaf................

[And one more "extra" ....... it was the 1977 song "San Francisco" by The Village People. The biggest disco song never released as a single, and never appeared on the Pop (i.e. "Hot 100") chart. The Village People ... San Francisco .... they, of all people, should know, eh? ;-)]

4) BEST OF MY LOVE / The Emotions (1977)
I'd have ranked this #1 on my own disco list. A fantastic dance hit. The brass section makes the song.

3) STAYIN' ALIVE / The Bee Gees (1978)
2) NIGHT FEVER / The Bee Gees (1978)
The dynamic duo from Saturday Night Fever. Seven (7) songs total on this survey came from the soundtrack.

I like "Night Fever" okay, but "Stayin' Alive" just might be the song, out of all the ones we've 'heard' here, which paints the ultimate caricature of the "DISCO" stereotype. Ted Striker (Robert Hays) in Airplane! does the ultimate disco parody to "Stayin' Alive", climaxing with that pointed-finger-in-the-air pose from the SNF soundtrack cover.

And the #1 disco song on this countdown? Awwwwwwww......
1) LE FREAK / Chic (1978)
A highly-deserved honor. Having Gaynor or Murphy up here would've, ummm, freaked me out.

*********
As I said, had AT40 done this countdown later in the year, some more aquatic life could've been caught in the big net. Songs like:

BAD GIRLS / Donna Summer
DIM ALL THE LIGHTS / Donna Summer
RING MY BELL / Anita Ward
GOOD TIMES / Chic

Did you know that back in the late '70s there was actually a medical sub-specialty dealing with back injuries from, ummm, "getting down" too strenuously? It was called (I kid you not!) "Discogenics."

I'll leave you with this comment, made in 1979 by the director of the Rhodesian Broadcasting Company: Disco is "a contributing factor to epilepsy."

All right, folks, the dance floor is closed. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. DJ, give us some AC/DC to clear the room........

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Got to put on my-my-my-my-my-my platform shoes!" Gleck