#641: Dancin’ On A Saturday Night by Bond

Peak Month: April 1975
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” (Bond)
Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” Barry Blue (1973 UK hit)
“Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” lyrics

In the early 70’s a band in Toronto formed and called themselves Common Bond. Mainstays of the band’s lineup were drummer Jeff Hamilton and bass player, John Roles. While the lineup changed numerous times, they band shortened their name to Bond. When Bill Dunn joined Bond, John Roles switched to rhythm guitar and vocals. By 1974 Alex MacDougall was on lead guitar, and Ted Trenholm was on keyboards and sharing lead vocals with Bill Dunn and John Roles. Bond was on a B-circuit of clubs and other venues playing covers of popular songs. They mixed in more and more of the songs from the UK, including some that weren’t big hits in Canada.

In 1974 Bond got a record deal with Columbia and CBS. The following year, Bond released a self-titled debut album. While the tracks on the album were predominantly written by either John Roles and/or Ted Trenholm, the hit single from their album “Dancin’ On A Saturday Night”, was a cover of a 1973 hit from the UK.

Dancin' On A Saturday Night by Bond

In 1973, Barry Blue had a #2 hit on the UK singles chart with “Dancin’ On A Saturday Night”. It also made it to #2 that year in Australia and the Top Ten in Austria (#3), Ireland (#4), Denmark (#5), Germany (#9) and Zimbabwe (#10). Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids tried to have a hit with the song in the USA in 1974. But the tune stalled at #79 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it climbed to #7 on the Swedish pop charts. While a Danish band named Clear Sound had a Top 20 hit with the song in 1975. Bond thought they had a good chance at a hit with the song in the Canadian record market and released it early in 1975.
“Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” climbed to #1 on CKPT in Peterborough (ON), #6 on CKLG in Vancouver, #10 on CFTR in Toronto and #14 on CFRA in Ottawa.

“Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” was cowritten by Lynsey de Paul and Barry Blue. Lynsey de Paul was born Lynsey Monckton Rubin in London, UK. Her family were Dutch, Austrian, German and Jewish. In 1972, she had a Top 5 hit in the UK, Australia, Ireland and Austria called “Sugar Me”. The single went to #1 in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. In 1973, in addition to writing credits for “Dancin’ On A Saturday Night”, she had a #1 song in Israel titled “Getting A Drag”. Lynsey de Paul later had a Top Ten hit in the UK in 1974 titled “No, Honestly”, and in 1977 she went Top Ten in eight countries internationally with “Rock Bottom”. de Paul acted in Stephen Fry’s ITV prime-time drama series “Kingdom” and as Lead in the West End musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes”, as headline at the London Palladium, and as Lead in the thriller “Shriek” at the Churchill Theatre Bromley. Lynsey de Paul also created several self-defense documentaries on the BBC. She died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 66 in 2014.

Barry Blue had a couple more Top Ten hits in European record markets. He went on to produce the Top Ten hit, “Boogie Nights”, by Heatwave in 1976. That same year his production of “Fairytale”, by Dana made it to #1 in Mexico, #3 in the Netherlands and #4 in Belgium. In 1977, the Scottish boy band, The Dead End Kids, had a Top 5 hit in the UK and the USA with “Have I The Right”. In 1980, Blue’s production skills helped American R&B star, Cheryl Lynn, have a Top 20 R&B hit with “I’ve Got Faith In You”. In 1983, Barry Bell produced one of the early songs by Bananarama, “Cheers Then”. And in 1987, Bell produced a Top Ten hit in New Zealand for Amazulu, a cover of the Tommy James & The Shondells tune, “Mony Mony”. Barry Blue had also produced records for Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross, Gene Pitney and  Phil Collins. According to his bio on his website, Barry Blue has also “scored and composed music for Film & TV including  ‘Sex and The City,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’  ‘The Long Good Friday’ and ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’.”

Aside from the lyrics that celebrate dressing up for a night of dancing in satin jackets and blue jeans, the song includes the lyrics, “Helter Skelter, maybe I can help her.” Helter skelter is an old English word meaning “in confused, disorderly haste.” A helter skelter is an amusement park attraction which features a tall spiral slide winding round a tower. The first Helter Skelter appeared at the Hull Fair, Hull, UK, in 1905. When things are all helter skelter, things are in disarray, discombobulated, like the amusement ride, going from the top to the bottom at a dizzying speed. A song by the Beatles, titled “Helter Skelter”, began with these lyrics: “When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide/Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride/Till I get to the bottom and I see you again.” Hippie cult figure, Charles Manson, told his followers that all the songs from the Beatles White Album were a coded prophecy of apocalyptic doom. “Helter Skelter” especially figured in Manson’s prophecy that the Blacks were going to ascend in the the socio-economic society and the whites would descend. In Charles Manson’s world, helter skelter referred to the coming violence and disorientation that was to imminently engulf America. As for “Dancin’ On A Saturday Night”, helping a little girl who is “helter skelter” by dancing is one way to draw someone out of a confused state and into a focused and uplifted zone of being.

“Dancin’ On A Saturday Night” hit the charts in Vancouver, and across Canada, in the spring of 1975. And as a #2 hit for Barry Blue in the UK in 1973. What kind of dancing was going on at clubs in the mid-70’s? There was a dance craze in the mid-70’s. Some of the dances included The Hustle, popularized by Van McCoy. There was “The Bump”, which inspired a #3 hit for Kenny in the UK in 1974. There was the hit single by the Village People, “Y.M.C.A”, which inspired a whole new dance based on forming the four letters of the Young Men’s Christian Association. And there were robotic moves performed by the Jackson 5 in “Dancing Machine”. And more.

On the strength of their hit single, Bond toured across Canada with Lighthouse and with The Stampeders. However, Bond was not able to repeat their success with their follow up single releases of “When You’re Up, You’re Up” and “Hold On”. Other attempts at commercial success on the pop charts also floundered. Jeff Hamilton left Bond in 1977 and went on to

Half way through 1977, Jeff Hamilton left Bond. John Roles departed that summer and joined Chilliwack and then the 80’s he joined Doucette. Roles went on to join the Groove Corporation in the 1990’s. He also featured on albums with the West End Girls and Paul Hyde. Alex MacDougall departed to team up with Crowbar and then King Biscuit Boy. With no promise of another hit single, Bond was dropped from the record label and what was left of the revolving door of musicians in the band dissolved.

October 17, 2018
Ray McGinnis

References:
Jeff Hamilton, Kim Hunt, Pete RoachBond bio, Canadian Bands.com
Bond bio, Wikipedia.org
Lynsey de Paul bio, Lynsey de Paul.com
Barry Blue bio, Barry Blue.co.uk
Helter Skelter (Beatles song), Wikipedia.org
Helter Skelter (Manson scenario), Wikipedia.org
Kenny, The Bump, 1974 (YouTube.com)
Jackson 5, “Dancing Machine,” Soul Train, 1974
Nneka Opene, Funky Flashback: Popular 1970’s Dance Moves, Atomic Ballroom.com, Irvine, California, May 12, 2015

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