Instant Disco History # 13 – The Bump

I’m long overdue for an Instant Disco History post, so here’s an all-video entry featuring three hit songs about that painful ’70s dance craze, the bump. The 1977 Munich Machine album to the left doesn’t contain any songs about the bump, which probably caused more bruised hips than New York City’s old rusty subway turn-styles, but I’ve always loved those bumping robots.

Lady Bump
Penny McLean
Atlantic Records 1975

Austrian-born Penny McLean had a worldwide hit with Lady Bump, either despite or because of the famous scream that she lets loose several times during the record. Shortly before her solo success with Lady Bump, McLean joined Silver Convention as producers put faces to the anonymous studio singers who had recorded the global #1 hit Fly Robin, Fly. McLean does appear on Silver Convention’s follow-up hit, Get Up And Boogie, which hit #2 in the U.S. in 1976, just as the second hit from her solo album, 1-2-3-4 Fire, also stormed the charts. Miss McLean had a very busy couple of years, then pretty much disappeared. She’s really cute in this video.

Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)
Joe Tex
Epic Records 1977

Joe Tex had a big hit in ’77 with this almost-novelty record about getting knocked on his ass while doing the bump with a hefty woman. Tex, who died in ’82, was an R&B/blues icon who often boasted of having invented rap and of having had his dance moves stolen by James Brown. Old timers should recall Tex for his impossibly catch 1972 hit, I Gotcha, which hit #1 R&B, #2 pop. Ain’t Gonna Bump made it to #12 on the U.S. pop charts in early 1977. Here’s a complete mess of a performance video in which Tex is upstaged by the big woman bumping the hell out of a background dancer. The camera and the audience don’t know who to watch.

Baby Do You Wanna Bump?
Boney M
Atlantic Records 1974

One of the most popular and greatest selling acts in the history of pop music, West Germany’s Boney M had very little success in the United States and their first single, Baby Do You Wanna Bump? was no exception. In fact, despite a long run of chart toppers across Europe, Boney M’s best U.S. showing was 1978’s Rivers Of Babylon, which hit #30 here. I read recently that Boney M is the only act with two songs in Britain’s all-time top ten: Rivers Of Babylon and their Xmas hit, Mary’s Boy Child. (Even the Beatles only have ONE song in the UK all-time top ten.) By the way, the vocals on Baby Do You Wanna Bump? were all performed by producer Frank Farian, including the “female” chorus, so while this video is tons of fun, everybody is lip-syncing Farian. Oh, and if that modus operandi seems familiar, it’s because Farian was also the mastermind behind Milli Vanilli. Yup. Bonus super trivia: Check for a close-up of one-time Boney M singer, Canadian disco superstar Claudja Barry, right about the 1:50 mark.

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