"Babe, I love you so
I want you to know"
Did I tell you I went to Vail for the World Championships?
That's right, you think you know everything about my life, but that would be untrue. With a laptop and phone you can be anywhere, and the second week of February found me in Colorado where it was unseasonably warm yet sunny, where the world's best ski racers were screaming down the hill for fame and fortune and at the end of each day there was a medal ceremony and a show. By name brand talent. The Barenaked Ladies were astoundingly good, they realize that playing the songs is not enough, telling stories, putting on a show, is key to longevity.
And KC and the Sunshine Band put on a show!
That's right, the seventies disco kings.
I have no idea how much Vail paid them to perform. Had to be six figures, because there were sixteen people on stage and they stayed at one of the best hotels in town, at least Harry Casey (KC!) did, he talked about the singer at the Sonnenalp, and the assembled multitude barely fit on the tiny stage, but…
It was my favorite show of the year.
They don't do this anymore. Have the band come out and vamp, set the mood.
And then the dancers… Big ones tall ones short ones small ones, covering all the bases and eventually…
Harry hits the stage.
AND HE'S OLD AND FAT!
You wince. Your memories are shot to hell. And then he takes the mic and says he knows he's put on weight, and they're gonna change the name of the act to KFC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND! Cracked us up, put us immediately at ease. And that he was the 'N Sync of his era and Justin Timberlake was gonna look like this in forty years, HA!
And you forget how many hits he had.
Actually, KC was responsible for arguably the first disco hit, George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby," which we didn't even know was disco when it topped the chart back in 1974.
And then there was "Get Down Tonight."
Life used to be different. You'd drive across this great country of ours pushing the buttons on your AM radio looking for music.
Actually, in 1976, my car had FM too. But driving from Utah to Colorado for a competition there was nothing on that band. But there was…"Get Down Tonight."
And it stuck in my head. I coursed through the bumps with that song in my brain.
And there began a string of hits. KC was a fixture on the charts.
And then he disappeared. "Behind The Music" said it was a breakup with his songwriting partner, who knows, but his chart run was done. Not that KC is finished making music, he told us he had a new album in the pipeline, he played one of its tracks, which was actually quite good, but come on, who's gonna buy it?
And you forget how many hits he's got. We're all shake, shake, shakin' our bootys to that ubiquitous song from way back when. And the groove of "That's the Way (I Like It)" had us dancing too. Even the youngsters. That's what's funny about the hits of yore, everybody knows them, even if they weren't alive back then. They hear them at bar mitzvah parties, family functions, they're in their DNA.
And the boogie twins, "Boogie Shoes" and "I'm Your Boogie Man."
And the funniest thing is KC is dancing too. Twirling like he's twenty five, in a line with the girls. It's funny, it puts a smile on your face.
And then he stops the show and says he's going to sing his last hit.
Actually, he's going on. And I'm thinking I'll never know it. Because I too know disco by osmosis, I was never a fan.
"I love you"
It's an unmistakable melody. Drifting down from the heavens like a bygone body, coming back to haunt our memories, make us remember when…
The world was simpler. We could still be bored. We were addicted to the radio. We talked on the phone. And music was our only companion as we journeyed from one destination to another.
"I need your love
I'm down on my knees
Beggin' please, please, please
How do I know this song? I'm waiting for it to kick into high gear. But that's the COVER, from years later! I learned that when I did some research, it was a big hit for KWS in the nineties, actually it's a soundalike version of Double You's reworking. And I couldn't pull the name of either of these acts out of my ass, but somehow they got inside me, and…all I could say at 8,000 feet, under the stars, listening to the man who made it a hit initially, back in 1980, actually it was the first number one of the eighties, he told us so, is…I LOVE THIS SONG!
And now I can't get it out of my head.
I'm walking down the street, sitting in front of the computer, I woke up this morning and I heard in my head…
PLEASE DON'T GO!
Now that's a hit record, that's what we're all looking for. It's more important than the money, it's not exactly fame, it's about AFFECTING people, changing the culture.
"If you leave, at least in my lifetime
I've had one dream come true
I was blessed to be loved
By someone as wonderful as you"
I'm realizing the song is gonna end. You know that moment, during the show, when they play your favorite and you're smiling and seizing the moment and you realize it's going to end but you're hoping and praying it doesn't? IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT!
And just like that, KC and his merry band of musicians and backup singers left the stage, left Colorado, vanished into thin air.
But the memory remains.
"Babe, I love you so
I want you to know
That I'm gonna miss your love
The minute you walk out that door"
KC, COME BACK!
You played your songs I didn't even know I loved and my life flashed before my eyes. You made me feel happy and in the groove when the truth is the world has never been more challenged, we've all got more questions than answers.
But that's the power of music.
PLEASE DON'T GO!
Spotify playlist: http://spoti.fi/1EzMUKV