Wednesday, 26 January 2011

White Man’s Overbite - my Top ten “dancing Dad” records

I have just discovered I don’t have to fill in a tortuous tax form by 31st January - so I’m celebrating by doing a silly post with no justification and no genuine definable theme... but here goes: we all have tracks, I suspect, whose great big thunking beat we find irresistible and which make us dance around the house when no one’s looking, doing the White Man’s Overbite (Copyright: When Harry Met Sally).  These songs don’t have to have any other merit except making us want to dance.

Here are my favourites (I’ve arbitrarily excluded anything pre-1970: I realise there’s only so much 1950s music my readers can take).

“Doctor, Doctor”, Robert Palmer (1979) - joyously relentless Grown-Up Person’s stomper from grumpy little Geordie AOR merchant. Infused with the oomph of Punk, but professionally played.

“Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag”, Pigbag (1981) . The only 12” single I ever bought - a Nigerian friend at the time said it sounded like a bad school band from Lagos, but the beat combo responsible were in fact formed by a fashion student from Cheltenham Art College.

“Yéké Yéké (Hardfloor Remix)”, Mory Kanté (1994). This original version
of this record by an artist from Mali became the first African single to sell a million thanks to huge European success in 1988. In 1994 it was a hit all over again when the German techno duo Hardfloor released this stunning dance version. I was disconcerted when Nigella Lawson chose it as one of her Desert Island Discs. Even having to listen to it when I used to work-out at the local gym didn’t put me off it.

“Trenchtown Rock”,  Bob Marley . This spent five months at the top of the Jamaican charts in 1971. It’s sublime. Blue men can sing the whites -  but they really can’t do Reggae. That’s just a fact.

“Witch Queen of New Orleans”, Redbone. Written by a Native American group (I’m getting the hang of this political correctness lark) in honour of a famous 19th Century voodoo practitioner,  Marie Laveau (“Marie, Marie, the voodoo veau” who “lived in a world of magic, possessed by the Devil’s skew”, whatever that might be). I bought this when it came out in 1971 (good year for music) and have loved it ever since. What a beat!

“Theme from Sparta F.C. No. 2”, The Fall. This version was released in 2004, and was used as the theme for BBC TV’s Final Score programme from 2005. It could be ironic - no idea: it just sounds tremendous. All I know about Mark E. Smith is that John Peel worshipped him and that he appeared on Newsnight in an altered state of consciousness on the day the DJ died.

“Blue Monday”,  New Order (1983). Possibly the biggest-selling UK 12” of all time, and it’s easy to see why.


“Here Comes the Hotstepper”, Ini Kamoze (well, Cecil Campbell, actually). Jamaican Reggae star, Ini/Cecil, came up with this in 1994. It’s about someone on the run from the law (i.e. half of Jamaica, if song lyrics are anything to go by). A No. 1 US hit, No. 4 here. Brilliant.

“Stayin’ Alive”, N-Trance. A 1995 rap version of the Bee-Gees’ disco
classic, this was the brain-child of Dale Longworth and Kevin O’Toole, who met on a Sound Engineering course in Manchester. The singer is rapper Ricardo Da Force, who, if he is indeed the short, overweight gentleman in the accompanying video, is best heard rather than seen. I had to stop playing this in the car eventually, as the vigorous head-banging which resulted had a distinctly deleterious effect on my driving.

“Spacer”, Sheila B. Devotion (1979). The singer is veteran French pop chanteuse, Annie Chancel, and this should be the absolute height of naffness, but it was produced by Disco Kings, Chic, and their backing track - a thumpier, “sampled” version of which can be heard on Swedish group Alcazar’s 2000 hit, “Crying at the Discotheque” - is simply exquisite. The men who created Chic, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, were geniuses. (I suppose a more obvious choice would have been the perennially sampled delights of “Good Times”.)

Finally - and yes, I know it’s No. 11) - it’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” from The Bangles. like many singles on this list, I feel guilty about loving this 1985 mega-hit - but the rhythm is irresistible.

Finally, if anyone can tell me who recorded a song called something like “We’re the Sweeney, Son”, featuring the best quotes from the TV series, and based on the theme tune, please do tell me. We used to have it on a tape of car favourites, and we miss it.


  1. The Filthy 3 - "We're the Sweeney" -
    Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 11:10 PM

  2. Thank you, Billy - God knows how I missed it when I looked on YouTube - it simply doesn't exist on Spotify or iTunes.
    Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 02:38 PM

  3. Everyone should know about albino black sheep:

    also available with slightly improved sound quality at (40 million viewings)
    Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 05:24 PM