Sunday, February 17, 2019

Marianne Szlyk writes


The fifty-something patrons at the Stained-Glass Pub bob and weave, dancing to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” My husband scans the jukebox, looking for hip hop but finding only “Rappers’ Delight.” He puts in a dollar anyway. The patrons keep dancing, several beats behind a song they might not have liked back then.

My husband and I are dancing in the future, the place I dreamed of in 1983 as I lay in my dorm room, awake all night from too much diet soda and coffee. The jukebox is stuck on the year I wanted to avoid. The year I walked with Jennifer to the thrift store that sold clothes by the pound but not in my size. The year we ate onion rings in the pizzeria that was once the Ball Square Cinema. The year we wanted to race through on our way to the future.

Image result for lionel richie keith elwyn paintings
 Lionel Richie -- Keith Elwyn


  1. Lionel Richie was a member of the Commodores from 1968 until he began a solo career in 1982 and has sold over 90 million records. He has won 4 Grammy Awards including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Truly" in 1982, Album of the Year in 1984 for "Can't Slow Down,"Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 1984, and Song of the Year in 1985 for "We Are the World" (which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson). One of his most popular songs was "All Night Long (All Night)," a Caribbean-flavored dance number from "Can't Slow Down;" he wished to include some foreign-language lyrics but did not have the time to hire translators, so he made up gibberish instead.

    Well, my friends, the time has come
    Raise the roof and have some fun
    Throw away the work to be done
    Let the music play on
    Everybody sing, everybody dance
    Lose yourself in wild romance, we going to
    Parti', karamu', fiesta, forever
    Come on and sing along
    We're going to parti', karamu', fiesta, forever
    Come on and sing along

    All night long (all night), all night (all night)
    All night long (all night), all night (all night)
    All night long (all night), all night (all night)
    All night long (all night), ooh yeah (all night)

    People dancing all in the street
    See the rhythm all in their feet
    Life is good, wild and sweet
    Let the music play on
    Feel it in your heart and feel it in your soul
    Let the music take control, we going to
    Parti', liming, fiesta, forever
    Come on and sing my song

    Yeah, once you get started you can't sit down
    Come join the fun, it's a merry-go-round
    Everyone's dancing their troubles away
    Come join our party, see how we play

    Tom bo li de say de moi ya, yeah, jambo jumbo
    Way to parti' o we goin' oh, jambali
    Tom bo li de say de moi ya, yeah, jumbo jumbo

    Everyone you meet, they're jamming in the street, all night long (all night)
    Yeah, I said, everyone you meet, they're jamming in the street (all night)
    All night long (all night)
    Feel good, feel good (all night)

  2. "Rapper's Delight" was a seminal hip hop song, the 1st to introduce rapping to a large audience. Recorded in 1979 by the Sugarhill Gang (Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright, Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson, and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien), backed instrumentally by members of the group Positive Force. The song included music from the Chic song "Good Times" (the songwriters Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were later added to the credits) and from "Here Comes That Sound Again" by Love De-Luxe, as well as lyrics by Curtis "Grandmaster Caz" Fisher. Sylvia Robinson, who had been part of the popular 1950s duo Mickey and Sylvia, founded Sugar Hill Records in 1979 (named after a neighborhood in the Harlem section of New York) and wanted to capitalize on the new street music of the time, but the local rappers regarded their art as intended for live performance, but she formed the Sugar Hill Gang from non-rappers to make money. One of the musicians, Chip Shearin, claimed that he was paid $70 to play bass for 15 minutes without making any mistakes: "this was in the days before samplers and drum machines, when real humans had to play things.... Sylvia said, 'I've got these kids who are going to talk real fast over it; that's the best way I can describe it."


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