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Let's All Chant

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"Let's All Chant"
Michael Zager Band - Let's All Chant.jpg
Single by the Michael Zager Band
from the album Let's All Chant
B-side "Love Express"
Released December 1977
Format
Recorded Secret Sound Studios, Manhattan
Genre Disco
Length
  • 3:07 (7" version)
  • 7:03 (12" version)
Label Private Stock
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Michael Zager

"Let's All Chant" is a song written by Michael Zager and Alvin Fields and performed by the Michael Zager Band. It was based on an idea originally suggested by former head of A&R Jerry Love after he visited clubs in New York and saw people endlessly chanting "Ooh-ah, Ooh-ah". Although Zager was first embarrassed when Love asked him to write a song using these chants, he accepted the proposal and later co-wrote "Let's All Chant" with Fields.

The opening track and lead single from the group's eponymous LP, "Let's All Chant" was released as a single in December 1977, with the track "Love Express" as a B-side. An unexpected smash hit, the single reached number one on the disco chart and crossed over to the Soul Singles chart, where it peaked at number 15, and to the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 36. In Europe, the single reached the top 10 in several countries, including the UK, Ireland and France. It eventually sold five million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Recognizable by both its vocal hooks and its classical section, which is featured in the middle of the song, "Let's All Chant" was well received by critics, who have praised its musical arrangement and its catchiness. Many reviewers regard the song as a classic of the disco era. It also became a turning point in Michael Zager's career. As well as being used in many TV advertisements and movies, it has become an influential dance song which has been extensively covered or remixed by numerous artists and has been interpolated or sampled in many other tracks.

Background and recording[edit]

When he was still at A&M Records, Michael Zager met Jerry Love, the former head of A&R for A&M Records.[1] After Love subsequently left the record label, he and Zager formed the Michael Zager Moon's Band in 1976.[2] Love was an habitué of Studio 54 and went to clubs every night. One evening, he went to Greenwich Village to visit several clubs and noted that people were continuously singing "Ooh-ah, Ooh-ah"[1] to every tune which was played in order to increase their own participation and pleasure.[2] The next day, he described the scene to Zager and suggested that Zager write a song incorporating the "Ooh-ah, Ooh-ah" vocals. Zager told Love: "You have to be kidding; that's embarrassing!" Love commented that everybody was doing it and that if Zager wrote a song using these chants, dancers would love it.[1]

In parallel, the group's name was changed to the Michael Zager Band and they signed with the label Private Stock Records.[2] For their forthcoming LP, Zager wrote two songs, "Let's All Chant" and "Love Express", together with Alvin Fields.[1] The co-writer shared lead vocals on "Let's All Chant" with session singers Dollette McDonald and Billy Baker.[2] Zager added a classical section to the track. He later remarked:

The reason I added the piccolo trumpet and classical section in the middle of Let's All Chant' was mainly because I was embarrassed! I thought it was so stupid with that 'Ooh-ah' sound in it that I wanted to add something to lift the track musically. I have a classical background and went to a music conservatory, so I was really feeling embarrassed[1]

"Let's All Chant" and "Love Express" were both recorded at the Secret Sound Studios, in Manhattan.[2] Once the tracks were recorded, Zager told Fields: "I'm gonna kill you if this isn't a hit!"[1]

Composition[edit]

"Let's All Chant" is a disco song[3] driven by a repetitive bassline, handclaps and numerous vocal hooks (such as "Ah-ah, eh-eh, let's all chant" and "Your body, my body, everybody work your body").[4] These typical disco lyrics are about dancing and working one's body.[3] The song's instrumentation also includes Afro-Cuban drums, a "rollicking" piano line and an ensemble of wind instruments, marked by a piccolo trumpet solo which sounds "like it's straight out of the Dynasty opening theme song".[4] The song's tempo is 121 bpm[5] and is very close to the average tempo of a standard disco song (120 bpm).[6] According to AllMusic reviewer Alex Henderson, the combination of the "European-influenced, oddly baroque" feeling with a "catchy disco/funk beat" grabs the attention of the listener and encourages him to discover the rest of the eponymous LP.[3]

Commercial performance and sales[edit]

"We thought it would be a club hit, but it never entered my mind it would be a global hit. I thought it would be a two-month record and that would be the end of it."

—Michael Zager[1]

"Let's All Chant" was released as a single with "Love Express" as a B-side[2] in December 1977, on Christmas week.[1] Zager thought it was the worst time to release the single because many artists usually released their albums during this period[1] and thought the single would only become a "disco hit".[7] However, the single became an unexpected smash hit.[1][2] It climbed to number one on the disco chart on February 18, 1978, knocking Cerrone's "Supernature" off the top spot, and remained atop the chart for one week, before being toppled by Bionic Boogie's "Dance Little Dreamer".[8] In the US, "Let's All Chant" also charted at number 15 on the Soul Singles chart,[9] number 25 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles,[10] number 31 on the Record World[11] and number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.[9] In Canada, the single peaked at number two on the dance chart (behind "Supernature")[12] and at number 27 on the singles chart.[13] A music video was simultaneously released.[14]

The single did even better in Europe, reaching the top 10 in several countries. It peaked at number eight on both the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart.[15][16] In the Netherlands, the song reached the fourth place on the Dutch Top 40 and the Single Top 100 charts and stayed for thirteen weeks on both charts.[14][17] It also reached number four in Switzerland, where it became the 25th best-selling single of the year 1978.[18][19] In France, "Let's All Chant" peaked at number five and became the eleventh best-selling single of 1978 in this country.[20][21] In Belgium, it peaked at number two for three weeks, being kept from the top spot by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's "You're the One That I Want",[22] and remains the eight best-selling single of the year.[23] The single also reached number 14 in Germany and stayed for 21 weeks on the national chart.[18]

By July 1979, the single sold over three million copies worldwide[24] and eventually went on to sell five million copies worldwide,[1][6] selling about 6 to 700,000 copies in the US[1] and about 763,000 copies in France.[25] It was also certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for certified sales of 75,000 copies.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Critically, AllMusic's Henderson provided a mixed description of the track. Although he criticized the lyrics for being "usual disco clichés", he also called the song "quirky", "infectious" and "interesting" and viewed "Let's All Chant" as one of the most "unorthodox disco hits of 1978".[3] In their book Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco, Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen described the song as being "supremely catchy and melodic, with a quite miraculous classical chamber music-style break in the middle" and considered the track "a key recording that instantly defines the disco era."[2] They also regarded "Let's All Chant" as the high point in Michael Zager's career.[2] In 2006, Slant Magazine ranked the song number 50 in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs list, describing it as a "deft mix of disco, funk and baroque-pop" and writing that the song's breakdown made it special.[4] The track was also ranked 165th on the 700 Top Disco Songs, a list drawn up by several DJs from all over the world.[27]

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Let's All Chant" – 3:07
  2. "Love Express" – 2:52
  1. "Let's All Chant" – 7:03
  2. "Love Express" – 7:01
  • Reissue – 12" Maxi[22]
  1. "Let's All Chant" – 7:05
  2. "Traffic Jam" – 7:09
  3. "Traffic Jam (Dub Mix)" – 4:03

Charts and certifications[edit]

Impact and influence[edit]

Following the song's release and worldwide success, "Let's All Chant" introduced Michael Zager in the mainstream[2] and became a turning point in his career :

The song is bigger than ever, along with many other recordings I produced/composed etc. For example the Spinners' 'Working My Way Back to You' and 'Cupid' along with 'Right Before My Eyes' by Patti Day. But 'Let's All Chant' really put me on the 'map' as a composer, producer and arranger.[7]

Private Stock promoted Michael Zager Band's eponymous LP due to the success of the song. It became a contributing factor the success of the LP.[2] It also remains an influential dance track[2] which has been heavily used on TV and in movies, as well as being covered or remixed by numerous artists or interpolated or sampled in other songs.

Appearances[edit]

Movies[edit]

Television[edit]

Cover versions and remixes[edit]

  • In 1988, British duo Pat and Mick covered the song. It was released as a single with "On The Night" as a B-side and was credited to "Mick and Pat".[39] This version reached number eleven on the UK Singles Chart[39] and number four on the UK Indie Chart.[40]
  • In the same year, Gazuzu released "Chant for You (Chant for Me)", a track which features elements of "Let's All Chant", La Bionda's "One for You, One for Me" and Whistle's (Nothing Serious) Just Buggin'.[41]
  • In 1993, German dance group Go covered the track.[42]
  • In 1996, "Let's All Chant" was remixed by UK based producer and DJ Gusto. His version peaked at number 43 on the Flemish Ultratop 50 Singles chart[43] and at number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.[44]
  • In 2002, it was remade by DJ Valium under the title "DJ Valium feat. Michael Zager". It charted in several countries, reaching number 42 in France,[45] number 44 in Austria[46] and number 73 in Germany.[47]
  • In 2003, French DJ Antoine Clamaran remixed the song.[48]
  • In the same year, it was covered by French act Seventy Three. Their version reached number 41 on the French Singles Chart[49] and was used in an advertisement for Orangina in June 2003—and later in an advertisement for McDonald's in November 2003—in that country.[50]
  • Disco Queen also covered the song in 2003.[51] Their version peaked at number 10 on the Greek charts.[52]
  • In 2010, Bob Sinclar remixed the song. The remix was used in a TV advertising for Oasis Tea.[53]
  • In the same year, the song was remixed by French DJs DatA, Nôze and DJ Zebra.[53][54]

Interpolations[edit]

  • In 1979, Discotheque interpolated the song on "Intro Disco".[55]
  • In 1987, MC Miker G of MC Miker G & DJ Sven interpolated the song on his track "My Body Energized".[56]
  • In 1994, it was interpolated on the song "Move That Body" by Look Twice feat. Gladys.[57]
  • In 2011, "Let's All Chant" was interpolated in "Galera" by Congolese-French singer Jessy Matador, which features King Kuduro and Bra Zil and which peaked at number 68 in France.[58]
  • In 2012, it was interpolated in "My Party" by German female artist DJane HouseKat and rapper Rameez.[59] "My Party" charted well in Europe, reaching number 25 in Denmark,[60] the top 20 in Switzerland[61] and the top 10 in Austria and Germany.[62][63] It also peaked at number 19 on the Dance Bubbling Under in Wallonia.[64]

Charts[edit]

Samples[edit]

Year Artist Song Note(s)
1988 Debonaire "Name that Toon"[65] Samples 32 other songs[66]
1988 WestBam "Monkey Say, Monkey Do" (New Beat Remix)[67] Also samples "Love Can't Turn Around" by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk
featuring Darryl Pandy and "Shout" by Jack Frost & the Circle Jerks[68]
1989 Ben Liebrand "Dance Classics the Mix"[69] Samples 27 other songs[70]
1989 Ultramagnetic MCs "Traveling at the Speed of Thought" (Hip-House Club Mix)[71] Also samples "Numbers" by Kraftwerk, "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins
and "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force[72]
2008 Buy Now! "Body Crash"[73] Peaked at number six on both the Flemish and Walloon Ultratop Dance charts[74]
2010 Edwin Oosterwal "Scrub the Tub"[75] Released on the album Dusty House 4
2011 DMS12 "Your Body"[76] Non-album single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Arena 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jones & Kantonen 2000.
  3. ^ a b c d Henderson, Alex. "Michael Zager – Let's All Chant". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Slant Staff (January 30, 2006). "100 Greatest Dance Songs". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-08. . Slant Magazine.
  5. ^ Brusca, Donald (2004). The BPM List: A Music Reference Guide for Mobile DJs (1st ed.). Sound Sensation. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4116-1268-6. 
  6. ^ a b Zager 2012, p. 247.
  7. ^ a b "Michael Zager". Disco-disco.com. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 356. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Michael Zager – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MAY 13, 1978". Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-03. . Cash Box magazine.
  11. ^ a b "RECORD WORLD 1978". Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved 2015-12-24. . Record World. Geocities.com.
  12. ^ a b "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 5553." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4564a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "Nederlandse Top 40 – Michael Zager Band search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1978-05-13" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Let's All Chant". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – The Michael Zager Band – Let's All Chant" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  18. ^ a b c "Swisscharts.com – The Michael Zager Band – Let's All Chant". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1978" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Le Détail par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Michael Zager Band" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "TOP – 1978" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Ultratop.be – The Michael Zager Band – Let's All Chant" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Michael Zager invites you to "Life's a Party"". Billboard. 91 (26): 5. July 7, 1979. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  25. ^ a b "Les Meilleures Ventes "Tout Temps" de 45 T. / Singles / Téléchargement" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  27. ^ Lopez, Bernard. "700 Top Disco Songs [Official] (101–200)". DiscoMusic.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Michael Zager Band – Let's All Chant". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  29. ^ "HitParadeItalia – Top 10 del 17 Giugno 1978" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  30. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1978" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1978" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1978" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Michael Zager – Let's All Chant". Music Canada. 
  34. ^ Wyatt, Justin (2003). High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-79091-9. 
  35. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Original Soundtrack – Last Days of Disco". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Summer of Sam (1999) – Music". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Episode 51 (1978): Ute und Manuela" (in German). Derrick-database.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Médiatis + Zager Band (Michael)" (in French). Musiquedepub.tv. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b c "Archive Chart: 1988-05-07" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  40. ^ a b "Indie Hits "P"". Archived from the original on January 23, 2001. Retrieved 2009-12-26. . Cherry Red Records.
  41. ^ "Chant for You (Chant for Me) by Gazuzu". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Go's Let's All Chant cover of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  43. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Gusto – Let's All Chant" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  44. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1996-09-07" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  45. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – DJ Valium feat. Michael Zager – Let's All Chant" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  46. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – DJ Valium feat. Michael Zager – Let's All Chant" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  47. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – DJ Valium feat. Michael Zager – Let's All Chant". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  48. ^ "Antoine Clamaran's Let's All Chant cover of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  49. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Seventy Three – Let's All Chant" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  50. ^ "Seventy Three dans ces 2 spots TV" (in French). Musiquedepub.tv. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Disco Queen's Let's All Chant cover of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  52. ^ a b (Greek) "Top 50 Singles – Εβδομάδα 15-21/2". Archived from the original on February 19, 2004. Retrieved 2012-11-11. . See "best position". IFPI Greece.
  53. ^ a b Hecketsweiler, Chloé (April 1, 2010). "Oasis Thé, bientôt sur toutes les lèvres ?". L'Express (in French). Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  54. ^ "Actus > A la Une > 25 ans d'Happy Music ! – Ultime Music" (PDF). LaMixLetter (in French). Ultime Music. April 10, 2010. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  55. ^ "Discotheque's Intro Disco sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  56. ^ "MC Miker G's My Body Energized sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Look Twice feat. Gladys's Move That Body sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  58. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Jessy Matador feat. King Kuduro and Bra Zil – Galera" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  59. ^ "DJane Housekat feat. Rameez's My Party sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  60. ^ a b "Danishcharts.com – DJane HouseKat feat. Rameez – My Party". Tracklisten. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  61. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – DJane HouseKat feat. Rameez – My Party". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  62. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – DJane HouseKat feat. Rameez – My Party" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  63. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – DJane HouseKat feat. Rameez – My Party". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  64. ^ a b "Dance Bubbling Under – 14/07/2012" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  65. ^ "Debonaire's Name That Toon sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  66. ^ "Tracks Sampled in Name That Toon by Debonaire". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  67. ^ "WestBam's Monkey Say Monkey Do (New Beat Remix) sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  68. ^ "Monkey Say Monkey Do (New Beat Remix) by WestBam". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  69. ^ "Ben Liebrand's Dance Classics - the Mix sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  70. ^ "Tracks Sampled in Dance Classics - the Mix by Ben Liebrand". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  71. ^ "Ultramagnetic MC's's Traveling at the Speed of Thought (Hip-House Club Mix) sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  72. ^ "Traveling at the Speed of Thought (Hip-House Club Mix) by Ultramagnetic MC's". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  73. ^ "Buy Now!'s Body Crash sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  74. ^
  75. ^ "Edwin Oosterwal's Scrub the Tub sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  76. ^ "DMS12's Your Body sample of Michael Zager Band's Let's All Chant". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]