The Mighty Clouds of Joy spread the uplifting sounds of gospel music through discos and clubs across the country as 1975 drew to a close. Penny McLean, of the Silver Convention, took advantage of the popularity of the dance the "'Bump" for her first solo hit. One of the most successful R&B bands and a frequent visitor to the disco charts, Earth, Wind and Fire, spread a positive message that the simple singing of a song can brighten the entire world.
Archie Bell and the Drells - "Let's Groove" (TSOP)
Archie Bell and his vocal group the Drells came from Houston, Texas. In 1968 they released the million selling #1 pop and R&B hit "Tighten Up." The group failed to generate major hits in the 1970s until they connected with producer Bunny Sigler and other Philly soul producers and songwriters. "Let's Groove" smooths out the Archie Bell and the Drells sound with a lush disco track.
Babe Ruth - "Elusive" (Capitol)
British band Babe Ruth are primarily known as a rock group. However, the funky backing beat of "Elusive" helped the group and its charismatic lead vocalist Jenny Haan appeal to disco DJs.
Biddu Orchestra - "Jump For Joy" (EPic)
Indian born producer Biddu puts together a stew of Latin percussion to animate this orchestral disco track. "Jump For Joy" is part of a wave of Latin influence that swept through discos in late 1975.
Ralph Carter - "Extra, Extra (Read All About It)" (Mercury)
Ralph Carter, of TV's Good Times, had a second big disco hit in 1975 with this swirling, uptempo disco confection. His career in disco would not last long, but in 1975 he was one of the young genre's top stars.
Earth, Wind and Fire - "Sing a Song" (Columbia)
Earth, Wind and Fire was founded in 1969 in Chicago. After signing to Columbia Records in 1972, the group had their breakthrough with the album Head To the Sky.The group's next album, 1974's Open Our Eyes, was an even bigger success with their first top 40 pop hit "Mighty Mighty." "Sing a Song," in the band's familiar funky soul style, was included on the triple platinum #1 live collection Gratitude. Most of the album was live but also included one side of new studio recordings. Earth, Wind and Fire maintained their identity as soul artists, but many of the group's classic songs became disco favorites.
Hokis Pokis - "Nowhere" (Shield)
The song "Nowhere" was originally written in 1969 but not released by the group Hokis Pokis until 1975. Group leader Joey DiGirolamo had written the song when he was working on other musical projects. Hokis Pokis came together in late 1970. "Nowhere" was pressed as a small scale effort by the band, and it came to the notice of New York's legendary Downstairs Records which began selling "Nowhere" turning it into a hit among New York DJs.
Julie - "One Fine Day" (Tom Cat)
Renowned cabaret performer Julie Budd ventured into the disco arena with this cover version of the Carole King and Gerry Goffin classic "One Fine Day." She worked with top notch entertainment talent in creating the record. Producer Herb Bernstein worked on a wide range of major pop hits from Peter, Paul and Mary's "Leaving On a Jet Plane" to Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times." Arranger Harold Wheeler is a prominent Broadway orchestrator and had already created a disco hit with Wing and a Prayer Fife and Drum Corps' "Baby Face."
Penny McLean - "Lady Bump" (Atco)
Penny McLean was one of the trio of vocalists recruited to be the face of Silver Convention. She had released singles previous to the work with Silver Convention, and the group's success helped her solo career. "Lady Bump" celebrates "bumping" in the disco. The record itself is notable for the gritty, soulful loop of Penny McLean's voice that accompanies the song's chorus.
Mighty Clouds Of Joy - "Mighty High" (ABC)
Many of the vocalists on early disco records were heavily influenced by gospel singing, so it may have been inevitable that a genuine disco group would find itself embraced by disco audiences. "Mighty High" gained the Mighty Clouds Of Joy an appearance on Soul Train and opening act placement with a wide range of secular rock and soul artists.
Softones - "That Old Black Magic" (Avco)
The reworking of "That Old Black Magic" by Baltimore's Softones was produced by Hugo and Luigi, a Brill Building production team known for work on such classic pop hits as the Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and Little Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him." The pop standard was interpreted as a sexually suggestive song with lush orchestral backing.