portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Sunday, June 24, 2018

There are occasional dance hits that I loved but somehow I was always terribly discerning about what was and what wasn't any good. It took the exceptional dance hit to catch my ear and this is one of course. The dancing (Burrell was after all firstly a dancer) is superb and the girls in this really caught my eye for their work rate and sheer physicality.  It was a first in this regard I reckon. The footwork fascinates me here the heel to toe and stomp is sheer delight. They were gorgeous of course but they also could REALLY dance like crazy! They were built like real athletes not wispy go-go dancers! I LOVE the dancing in this whist the song has almost become a joke and cliche, the hook of 'Hammertime!' is so ubiquitous people think the music was his alone . . . . . . . .it remains a classic IMHO

On this day in music history: June 23, 1990 - “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on June 16, 1990. Written by MC Hammer, Rick James and Alonzo Miller, it is the biggest hit for the Oakland, CA born rapper and dancer born Stanley Kirk Burrell. After the success of his major label debut “Let’s Get It Started”, MC Hammer hits the road to support it. Hammer installs a recording studio on his tour bus to begin work on his second release while touring. Working with former Con Funk Shun member Felton Pilate and James Early, Hammer comes up with the idea of using Rick James’ 1981 hit “Super Freak”, to form the basis of what becomes “U Can’t Touch This”. As the track is being worked on, everyone agrees the song will be a smash. James is furious at first when he finds out that his song publisher and Motown Records have granted Hammer permission to the use the song without his consent. He sues for copyright infringement, with the matter being settled out of court. When James receives his first royalty check from sales of the record and mechanical royalties from the publishing, it is for over $1 million, and it is not the last one he receives for that amount. Issued the first single from Hammer’s third album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, Capitol Records in the US issues the song only as a vinyl 12" single which qualifies it to chart according to Billboard’s chart criteria, but its chart success is driven largely by airplay. The strategy drives sales of the album to 10x Platinum in the US alone. “U Can’t Touch This” also wins Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Rap Solo Performance in 1991.
with thanks to the most excellent Behind The Grooves by Jeff Harris

Those who didn't know the original in 'Superfreak' by the unique Rick James may be surprised to learn the basic riff is not Burrell's, that they used it without permission comes as as a shock that after he complained it garnered James millions is somehow just and right.  Don't believe me? Check dis!

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