R.I.P., Jimmy Ellis

James Ellis: 15 November 1937 – 8 March 2012

The world has lost another great singer and musician, James Ellis.  He sang the 1976 hit ‘Disco Inferno’ with The Trammps; the song was also featured in Saturday Night Fever, the disco movie that launched the careers of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  From BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17311645

Great song, great voice, and great talent. He shall be missed by many.  Thank you for the music, Mr. Ellis.

From The Guardian:

“The career of the vocalist Jimmy Ellis, who has died aged 74 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was ultimately defined by one song. The band he fronted, the Trammps, had other US and UK hits in the era when the lushly orchestrated soul music released on the Philadelphia International label was gradually mutating into disco, but they were all overshadowed by Disco Inferno.

The song had already been a success on the US R&B chart when it was included in a nightclub scene in the film Saturday Night Fever (1977). The soundtrack album went on to sell more than 15m copies, making it the biggest selling album of all time until the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Its success elevated Disco Inferno beyond hit status. When disco began to be viewed nostalgically, the track became musical shorthand for an era. It has subsequently been covered by Tina Turner, sampled by Madonna and hummed by Ricky Gervais during David Brent’s infamous demonstration of his dancing technique in The Office.

Although their drummer Earl Young was credited with “inventing” the rhythm of disco – accentuating the high-hat cymbal in a way that made tracks on which he featured easier for DJs to mix seamlessly together – the Trammps’ career predated the genre with which they came to be inexorably associated.”


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