February 14th, Valentine’s Day. St Valentine, a 3rd century saint, has been associated with the traditions of courtly love since the Middle Ages. As a priest in the Roman Empire who ministered to Christians during the period of their persecution he was caught and killed, martyred on 14th February 269 AD. According to a version of his death  when he was arrested the Prefect of Rome ordered that he be either beaten to death with clubs or beheaded. But if you think he had it bad, consider this- I’m in charge of a Year 7 Valentine’s disco tonight.

Love is the number one topic as the subject for songs and writers. As Joe Strummer said ‘subject covered, case closed, don’t you think?’ A cursory search of my hard drive throws up hundreds with love in the title. Here’s two for Valentine’s Day, both ace in different ways.

Veteran disco remix King Tom Moulton took Diana’ Ross’ 1976 hit Love Hangover and extended it for seventeen sumptuous minutes, all strings and breathy vocals until a shift in tempo at around six minutes. A song in a version that just has to be surrendered to.

Love Hangover (Unreleased Tom Moulton Mix)

In June 1977 Iggy Pop was recording Lust For Life with Bowie in West Berlin. To change things around a bit the players all swapped roles, guitarist Ricky Gardiner sitting in on the drums, drummer Hunt Sales took brother Tony’s bass and and Tony took the guitar. Carlos Alomar joined in with Bowie on organ. Iggy improvised a vocal, a song to the girl. It’s got a weird groove and is a wonderful way to close the album.

Fall In Love With Me

Upside Down

Sometimes you find a picture so great that it alone determines a post. This picture of Diana Ross is such a picture.

Upside Down was on her 1980 album Diana, a record itself with a memorable picture on the sleeve.

Upside Down (and the rest of the album) was written and produced by Chic, and became a number one single in various countries (number two in the UK). Chic were at the top of their game in 1980. Diana Ross was looking to freshen up her sound for the new decade. Predictably there were clashes between Edwards and Rodgers on one side and Ross on the other, in the studio and afterwards. Diana had the album remixed to make her voice more prominent and Chic nearly removed their name from the production credit in response at their work being tampered with. They relented- the album went on to sell ten million copies worldwide which must have softened the blow.

Upside Down

So Chic

Bagging Area doesn’t do much disco but here’s an exception and another song from freebie cd I plundered yesterday- this time some disco from Diana Ross with added Chic. Personally I could listen to an instrumental version of this that was just Nile Rodger’s guitar riff and the drums for six minutes but here you get la Ross and a load of disco on top of the chicca-chicca-chicca.

I’m Coming Out (Chic Mix)