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GENE CHANDLER JUNE 1979 INTERVIEW
GENE CHANDLER NUMBER ONE
ENCOUNTERED Gene Chandler, fresh from his European trek, where he was awarded a Silver Disc in London for sales exceeding 250,000 in the U.K. "We're planning to go back for a full tour in June," Gene enthused. "And I expect to play some concerts in Holland, too, where "Get Down" was a Top 10 record."

Meanwhile, in the States, there has been a lull between releases. The official follow-up to "Get Down" was the ballad track from his album, "Please Sunrise". But it sunk without trace. "It really should have been relesed two months sooner than it was so that my name would still be out there," Gene explained. "But now we have a brand new single and album ready. Both of them are called "When You're Number One" — and it's a monster! James Thompson — who wrote "Get Down" and two other disco songs on the new album, "Dance Fever" and "Funky Disco Rhythm" — wrote it. But if "Please Sunrise" had come out when it was supposed to have done, it could have happened. People know me for ballads more anyway. After all, until "Get Down", I had never been involved in anything disco. And ballads are happening. Look what "Reunited" has done for Peaches & Herb, right after they came back with their disco record."

As with the last album, Gene is including one of his own revivals on the upcoming album. "We had to do "Rainbow" — we'll call it "Rainbow '79" — because it is the most popular song in my show still. Over a period of time, that original record must have sold a million and then we included it in the "Live" album I did back in 1965."

Whereas everybody is decrying the whole 'disco' thing as being bad for Black music, Gene has other ideas. "It's all a question of supply and demand and if the people want disco, then that's what you have to give them," he says. "That whole thing about putting acts out of work isn't strictly true because discos have been coming since the 60's. Time always brings about a change and nothing can last forever. Today, the money is in making records that the people want and, like everybody else, I've had my ups and downs but I realise that the trick is in giving them exactly what they want, when they want it. There has always been more uptempo records anyway because radio stations prefer fast records because it keeps the show moving. The only people that can complain about disco are the ones who can't sing it! It's wrong to put it down. What really made me sit down and work out how I felt about disco was when I read in "Jet" about Belafonte knocking it. He can't sing it so he had to put it down, I guess! I am in business to sell records and I have to be competitive so that's the only way I can look at it."

It certainly provides a fresh approach to the ever-growing problem of Disco v. R&B/Soul.


  
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