Substitute

Album: Substitute (1977)
Charted: 2 67

Songfacts®:

  • This song was originally recorded by The Righteous Brothers. Released as a single in 1975, it went nowhere but was revived in 1977 by Clout, a 5-member, all-girl band from South Africa that was managed and produced by Graeme Beggs, who also worked with the acts Charisma and The Soweto String Quartet. Clout was brand new, and Beggs had them record this song as their first single - sort of. He had the girls sing on it, but used a band called Circus to play the instruments.

    The song became a surprise hit, going to #1 in South Africa, New Zealand and parts of Europe. It also made #2 in the UK (behind "You're The One That I Want" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) and #67 in America.

    This put them in a tough spot, since their breakout hit was actually recorded by a male band. Clout added a male member in 1978 and had a few other hits in South Africa, including "Save Me" and "Under Fire," but split up in 1981. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Greg Bond - Weare, NH
  • The song is about a guy whose girl isn't treating him right, with the singer letting him know that she'll step in for her and take care of him whenever he'd like.

    Transposing the gender was a little tricky: In the original Righteous Brothers version, they sing:

    Girl, you've been waiting much too long now

    The Clout version assigns a name to this person:

    Sam, you've been waiting much too long now
  • This was written by Willie Wilson, who also wrote and recorded a song called "Counterfeit" and another called "My Ship." He wrote "I Hope She Chooses Me," recorded by Tavares.
  • The disco diva Gloria Gaynor recorded this song in 1978 at the behest of her record label. At the same session, she recorded a song called "I Will Survive," which was released as the B-side of her "Substitute" single. This single stalled at #107 in the US, but many DJs flipped it and played the B-side, so it was released with the sides reversed and "I Will Survive" shot to #1.

    Gaynor's version uses the same lyrics as Clout's - it's likely that someone in her camp heard the Clout version and thought Gaynor could make it a hit in America.

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