Friday, March 22, 2013
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Incredible Bongo Band
Song:Bongo Rock '73
Though Bongo Rock was a minor chart hit in 1973, today it is hailed as one of the building blocks of hip hop because of its use of percussion. Of course there was no band. The man behind Incredible Bongo band was MGM Records executive Michael Viner. He was in charge of Pride Records and produced the 1970 joke album The Best Of Marcel Marceau. This album was complete silence ending with two minutes of applause. I know this album existed because I have seen it. Viner was asked to contribute music to the 1972 film The Thing With Two Heads starring Ray Milland and Rosey Grier as the title character. It's a film that frequently comes up on worst films of all time lists. Viner called producer and arranger Perry Botkin Jr. and he recorded Bongo Rock and Bongolia for the film. Botkin is best known for the single Nadia's Theme from the TV soap The Young and the Restless. When Bongo Rock started getting radio play, Viner decided to record a full album. Supposedly Ringo Starr played on the album. I don't know if that's true but veteran percussionist King Errisson and Derek & The Dominos drummer Jim Gordon did and should get credit for Bongo Rock's success. Bongo Rock was written and originally recorded by Preston Epps in 1959. It was a top twenty hit. This new version of Bongo rock reached #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. Viner and Botkin recorded two Incredible Bongo Band albums. The interest came later when rappers like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash sampled the drum break in Bongo Rock and today Incredible Bongo Band is considered to be a big hip hop influence. Michael Viner went on to found Dove Books on Tape with wife Deborah Raffin. He died in 2009. The 2012 documentary Sample This includes the Incredible Bongo Band story. Bongo Rock is available on CD. Here's a video for Bongo Rock '73 by Incredible Bongo Band.