Feb 072016
 

From BOOGIE WONDERLAND (single)

Written by Allee Willis & Jon Lind

“Boogie Wonderland” was the first single released from Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1979 album, I AM. Co-written by up ’n’ coming songwriters Allee Willis, who already co-wrote EWF’s smash “September,” and Jon Lind, who was responsible for American jazz pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis’ “Sun Goddess,” “Boogie Wonderland” was Earth, Wind & Fire’s first stride into the disco field. The result was commercially and artistically astounding. The song became an out-of-the-box hit by reaching the top ten on both sides of the pond which paved the way to the double platinum triumph of I AM. On this spirited anthem, the band kept their trademark lush orchestrations and smart chord progression that were above the average disco stuff heard on radios in those days. The fantastic vocals by Maurice White and Philip Bailey with a noteworthy support from female R&B group The Emotions were a total knock-out as were Willis’ personal lyrics. The backing track of the tune was smoking hot with guest David Foster who co-wrote the bulk of I AM with White and Willis plus being right on target with his rhythmic acoustic piano playing.

Co-writer Jon Lind gave an interesting interview to SongwriterUniverse where, among other things, he described the genesis of “Boogie Wonderland”:
“Maurice told me he was looking for a disco song for a group he was producing called Curtis, The Brothers. I went to Allee’s house, and…we wrote “Boogie Wonderland.” Maurice loved it, and cut it on Curtis, The Brothers. David Foster played piano on the track with George Massenburg engineering. Curtis, The Brothers sang it, but didn’t quite seem to get the vibe of it. Maurice pulled me aside and asked how I liked it. Although the track was amazing, I said I wasn’t sure about their vocals. He laughed, and assured me, ‘I think you got a hit.’ 24 hours later, my phone rang and it’s Maurice. He said The Brothers hate the song and they don’t want it on their album. The next day, Maurice and Phillip Bailey put their amazing vocals on “Boogie Wonderland” and added The Emotions to sing new backgrounds. A month later, “Boogie Wonderland” was released as the first single from their album I AM, and the reaction was nuts. Wow, what a turn-around. My first high-profile hit.”

“Boogie Wonderland,” like the entire I AM album, was rich in other Foster co-written masterpieces including “After The Love Has Gone” and “In The Stone” that kept EWF at the top of the charts worldwide. As already known, that record started Foster’s career as a songwriter and producer with a bang , but “Boogie Wonderland” was also a springboard for Lind and Willis who eventually went on to write more hits for a who’s who of music stars. Lind co-wrote staples including Madonna’s “Crazy For You” and Vanessa Williams’ “Save The Best For Last” while Willis co-wrote hits including The Rembrandt’s “I’ll Be There For You” and Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield on “What Have I Done To Deserve This.”
Sadly, we have to add one final paragraph to this review as we’ve just learned of Maurice White’s passing. Maurice White was a genius, a visionary and one of the most brilliant musical minds that ever graced our planet. He will be greatly missed. R.I.P.


Listen

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Lead & Background Vocals: Maurice White & Philip Bailey
Featuring The Emotions
Bass: Verdine White
Piano & Keyboards: David Foster
Drums: Fred White
Guitars: Al McKay & Johnny Graham
Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa & Ralph Johnson
Synthesizers: Larry Dunn
Strings & Horns Arranged by Ben Wright

Produced by Maurice White & Al McKay


Lyrics

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland

Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts
Of men who need more than they get
Daylight deals a bad hand
To a woman who has laid too many bets

The mirror stares you in the face and says
“Baby, uh uh, it don’t work”
You say your prayers, though you don’t care
You dance and shake the hurt

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland

Sound fly through the night
I chase my vinyl dreams to boogie wonderland

(I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland
I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland)

(All the love in the world can’t be gone
All the need to be loved can’t be wrong
All the records are playing
And my heart keeps saying
Boogie wonderland, wonderland)

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland
(I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland
I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland)

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland

(Hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm, wonderland
Hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm, wonderland
Hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm, hm-hm-hm-hm)

(All the love in the world can’t be gone
All the need to be loved can’t be wrong
All the records are playing
And my heart keeps saying
Boogie wonderland, wonderland)

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland

(I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland
I find romance when I start to dance in boogie wonderland)

Dance, boogie wonderland
Dance, boogie wonderland