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This is about a guy who makes incredible sounds with a rubber band stretched between his toes. The rubber band sound is simulated in the bassline. The bass was played by Bob Babbitt, who played on many Motown tracks. He ran the instrument through a device he called a "funk box" to get the unusual sound.
The Spinners' producer, Thom Bell, wrote this song for his son with help from his songwriting partner Linda Creed. Bell wrote theme songs for all of his children, although this is the only one that was ever recorded. At first, it was called "The Fat Man," since his son Mark was rather large, and that's what his schoolmates called him. Bell wanted to change the perception of this nickname, so he wrote a song about a big man who can really move. He's the guy everyone waits for at the party, since when he arrives, it can really get going. Said Bell, "It was written for big people who were hip, to change the whole idea of a person being large being sloppy, slow."
This song was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in June, 1976. Sigma was the hub of the Philadelphia Sound; it was where Patti Labelle, The O'Jays and The Stylistics recorded. Musicians on this track included Tony Bell and Bobby Eli on guitar, Andrew Smith on drums, Larry Washington on percussion and Thom Bell on keyboards.
The album version runs 7:22, with the radio edit cut down to 3:30. Both versions have a cold ending.
Philippé Wynne sang lead on this track. He joined the group when they signed with Atlantic Records in 1972, and was with them until 1977.
The Spinners had a whole dance routine to go with this song, which was choreographed by their producer, Thom Bell. He also ordered some very large rubber bands to go with the act, which would show up about three minutes into their performance. These outlandish rubber bands made an interesting visual, as the group members and backup singers would find different ways to stretch them to the music.
In 2004, this was used in commercials for OfficeMax. It introduced the "Rubberband Man" character, a funky young guy with a huge afro who pushes a cart around the office anticipating all the office supply needs of the staff.
The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.
Al Jourgensen of Ministry
In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.