Lowdown (Boz Scaggs song)
|Single by Boz Scaggs|
|from the album Silk Degrees|
|Genre||Disco, smooth jazz, blue-eyed soul, soft rock, funk rock|
3:14 (single version)5:16 (album version)
|Writer(s)||Boz Scaggs, David Paich|
"Lowdown" is a hit song originally recorded in 1976 by Boz Scaggs for his mainstream-breakthrough album, Silk Degrees. The song was co-written by Scaggs and David Paich. Paich, along with fellow "Lowdown" session musicians David Hungate and Jeff Porcaro, would later help form the band Toto.
Release and reaction
Initially, Silk Degrees received a lukewarm commercial response and, similarly, the first single released from the album, "It's Over" just barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at #38. One day, however, a Cleveland R&B radio DJ began playing "Lowdown" straight off the album. This was during a time period when DJs had much more say in what got played. Public response was very positive and soon Scaggs' record label, Columbia, sent the song to other R&B-oriented radio stations for airplay. It began receiving airplay on Top 40 Pop stations as well, and when it was officially released as a single in June 1976, it went on to become Scaggs' first major hit, eventually peaking at number three on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. It was also successful on the R&B and Disco Singles charts, peaking at number five on both and was also a minor hit in the UK, reaching #28. Scaggs is quoted as saying that the success of "Lowdown" was 'an accident' and that, even though it was their favorite from Silk Degrees, he and the others involved in the making of the song thought there 'wasn't a chance in hell' that the song would have been released as a single. The single was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of one million copies and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B song of 1976.
"Dual Drum Tracking" and hard-panning, was a technique used on the multi-track recording session of "Lowdown". Jeff Porcaro's eighth-note "hi-hatting" can clearly be heard on one stereo channel, where his 16th-note interpretation is present only on the opposite side.
In 2001, saxophonist Jimmy Sommers recorded a new arrangement with rapper Coolio on background vocals. The song was released on his album 360 Urban Groove. Another version was recorded by Incognito, for the 2010 album Transatlantic R.P.M., featuring singers Chaka Khan and Mario Biondi. Also, Miki Howard recorded yet another version of it for her Pillow Talk album in 2006.
Usage in film
The producers of the movie Saturday Night Fever asked for permission to use "Lowdown" but Scaggs' manager turned them down and instead used it in the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Also, this song was used in the David Fincher movie Zodiac in a scene depicting real life character Robert "Bob" Graysmith telling Inspector Dave Toschi what he knew about the Zodiac Killer.
The song was also used in the episode "Gimme An O!" of the J.J. Abrams television series Felicity, where Noel (Scott Foley) is doing sit-ups in preparation for his date with Felicity (thinking that they're going to have sex afterwards), and "Lowdown" is playing on his little stereo.
- Boz Scaggs - Lead vocals
- David Paich - Keyboards, Mini-Moog & ARP
- Jeff Porcaro - Drums
- David Hungate - Bass
- Fred Tackett - Guitar
- Louie Shelton - Guitar
- Carolyn Willis - Background vocals
- Marty McCall - Background vocals
- Jim Gilstrap - Background vocals
- Augie Johnson - Background vocals
- Joe Wissert - Producer