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Giorgio Moroder & Rod Temperton

Most people I guess will have heard of Giorgio Moroder, but I suspect the same is not true for Rod Temperton. I can guarantee however that everyone will have heard at least one song from both of these men. Both are instantly recognisable, Rod’s is one of the biggest tunes of the Twentieth Century and Giorgio’s is one of the most important tunes for dance music heads like myself, and arguably the greatest dance/electronic track ever…

The prompt for this post was a TV programme over the weekend about Disco. Obviously in the mid 1970’s when I was a bouncy kid, all disco sounded good to me, and it’s only as you get older, that you realise that most of it was inane, and only certain tracks bear repeated listening…

One such track is of course, the timeless and iconic 8 minutes of aural lushness that is Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”. Co written by Summer, Pete Bellotte and the Italo/German producer & writer  Giorgio Moroder  in 1976 (released to the world in 1977) it was nothing less than a total reinvention of dance and electronic music.

Previous to this record, the heart of disco was its four to the floor drums, vocal harmonies and rich string and brass orchestrations. Moroder saw the potential of the new electronic instruments that were then becoming more widely available and programmed them all to stun… just listen to the Modular Moog bassline that underpins the whole track and the groundbreaking breakdown at about 3 minutes… it STILL makes my spine tingle, and I must have heard this tune a thousand times…

Moroder admittedly went on to do some dodgy stuff (a very questionable soundtrack for his coloured in version of Fritz Lang’s visionary 1927 film Metropolis and Together in Electric Dreams with Phil Oakey are two that jump to mind) but I would argue that I Feel Love more than makes up for these lapses (as does the truly outstanding moustache he sported throughout most of the 70’s and 80’s)…

Rod Temperton, a UK born songwriter, also wrote one of the most instantly recognisable songs of all time, more of which later…

He was originally a member of Heatwave, a multi cultural UK based band that found fame on the back off the Disco revolution. To my ears however, their sound was always so much more than just disco, with strong elements of funk, jazz and pop clearly present. The two tracks that always do it for me whenever I hear them are Boogie Nights (also from 1977) and Gangsters of the Groove from 1980 (which I bought on 12″ when it was released).

Check out the most excellent dancing from the video below (Rod’s the one far right, smiling like a loon and playing the keyboards)

Temperton was the primary songwriter behind Heatwave and his gift for a tune brought him to the attention of many people for whom he wrote some true classics including Quincey Jones, Herbie Hancock, George Benson and of course Michael Jackson, for whom he wrote Rock With You, Off The wall, and a little track called Thriller…. Not bad for a lad from Cleethorpes eh?

So all in all, a pretty enjoyable TV programme about the joys of disco and a timely reminder of two of music’s songwriting greats…

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