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For the sake of a good story, Angus Young used to tell reporters that "Thunderstruck
" was born from a flight where AC/DC's plane was struck by lightning. While that tale was embellished, The Ohio Players "Love Rollercoaster" really did come from a harrowing flight. The group was traveling to a show in a twin engine airplane (a Navajo), while flying through turbulent, stormy weather. As their drummer Jimmy "Diamond" Williams tells it, he was in the co-pilot seat when the plane hit air pockets that dropped it at least 400 feet (he saw the instruments). Someone on the plane commented that they must love their jobs, since the airplane ride was a "love rollercoaster." Lead singer Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner wrote the lyrics around that phrase, with the band working up the track. Both the writing and production credits on the song go to the band.
This song is the subject of an urban myth. During an instrumental break, there is a scream that sounds a little out of place. It was rumored that the scream was the sound of a woman being murdered in the studio. According to the story, which was started by a DJ in California, this woman was the model who appeared on the album cover. She was kneeling on glass and pouring honey in her mouth. While she was doing it, she found out that the glass was actually fiber glass and the honey reacted with the fiber glass by sticking to her legs and ripping all the skin off. She went in the manager's studio while the band was still recording and threatened to sue the band, which is when the manager stabbed her to death. The band left in the scream as a cruel joke. The scream was actually keyboard player Billy Beck. Instead of telling the truth, the band agreed to coyly answer "no comment" when asked about the rumor, claiming they took a vow of silence. The ploy worked, as the urban legend gave the song a buzz and help sell records.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded a version of this for the soundtrack of the 1996 movie Beavis And Butthead Do America. Their version hit #7 in the UK.
This song was used for the movie Final Destination 3, which follows a group of teenagers who avoid death by rollercoaster, but cannot escape fate. (thanks, Kat - Grafton, MA)
In the US, this was used in a TV commercial for Volkswagen. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
The Ohio Players's leader, singer, and guitarist Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner died on January 26, 2013 at the age of 71 from cancer. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.