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Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) by Chic
Album: ChicReleased: 1977Charted:
This was Chic's first hit single. In 1977, the band recorded it as a demo and shopped it around to various record companies, all of which rejected it. Shortly thereafter, a small label called Buddah decided to take a chance and released it as a 12" single. The song's success on the club charts led to the band's discovery by Atlantic Records. Toward the end of 1977, the band signed with Atlantic, and the song was re-released nationally.
At Studio 54, a legendary dance club in New York City, this was a very popular song, but on New Year's Eve of 1977, Chic leaders Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were turned away at the door. Rodgers quickly wrote a song about the experience called "F--k Off," which was eventually changed to "Freak Out" and became their huge hit "Le Freak
In this song, the line "Dance, dance, dance, dance" appears 26 times. The word "dance" itself is repeated more than 100 times.
Luther Vandross provided backup vocals. He was working as a session vocalist at the time.
As far as references go, the word "yowsah" (an African-American slang term for the word "yes") was used for the first time by Ben Bernie, a jazz violinist and radio personality. When he became a radio personality, the word became his trademark. Some sources say that he coined the word but this has not been confirmed. During the Great Depression, this word was considered African-American slang. This song helped the word regain popularity.
In The Independent newspaper on November 29, 2003, Chic drummer Tony Thompson said: "We actually started as a rock band. At the time, no one would hear of three black brothers playing rock and roll! So Bernard and Nile came up with the whole disco thing. I didn't even know what disco was. We pressed 'Dance, Dance, Dance' ourselves as we didn't have a record deal. We took it to a club, the DJ played it and people just freaked. From there, we signed to Atlantic."