Let the Music Play (Shannon song)

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"Let the Music Play"
LtmpShannon.jpg
Single by Shannon
from the album Let the Music Play
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1983[1]
Recorded1983
Genre
Length
  • 3:34 (album version)
  • 5:45 (12-inch version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Chris Barbosa
  • Mark Liggett
Shannon singles chronology
"Let the Music Play"
(1983)
"Give Me Tonight"
(1984)
Music video
"Let The Music Play" on YouTube

"Let the Music Play" is a song recorded by American singer Shannon and released on September 19, 1983 as both her debut single and the lead single from her 1984 debut studio album of the same name. Written by Chris Barbosa and Ed Chisolm, and produced by Barbosa and Mark Liggett, "Let the Music Play" was the first of Shannon's four number ones on the US Dance Club Songs chart, reaching the top spot in October 1983.[3] It also became a huge crossover hit in the US, peaking at number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (behind Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew") and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1984.[4] It was Shannon's only Top 40 hit in the US. Some mark "Let the Music Play" as the beginning of the "dance-pop" era.

"Let the Music Play" was ranked 43rd on the 2009 VH1 Special 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s.[5] The song also appears in the video games, Dance Central 3 and Scarface: The World Is Yours.

Background and recording[edit]

The original version of the song was produced by Chris Barbosa and Mark Liggett. By the early 1980s, the backlash against disco had driven dance music off mainstream radio stations in the United States. The rhythmic ingenuity of "Let the Music Play" was largely due to Barbosa, who wrote and arranged the original demo track. Rob Kilgore played all the instruments on this seminal track. It featured a series of keyboard chords and drum patterns produced by gating a Roland TR-808 drum machine. Specifically, a reverb was placed across the kick and snare and hard gated to change the sounds. Further, it was one of the first tracks to sync together a TR-808 and a Roland TB-303 bassline, notorious in later years for the instrument responsible for creating acid house. The TB-303 plays the bassline for the entire song; however, in this case, the filter is not adjusted, which was typical for acid house music. This technical achievement made the production even more groundbreaking and it also resulted in a unique sound, called "The Shannon Sound", which eventually became known as freestyle. The Prophet-5 is used for the hookline and sound effects. Session guitarist/vocalist Jimi Tunnell provides the uncredited "let the music play" hook on the chorus, while Shannon sings the answering line.

Composition[edit]

"Let the Music Play" is a dance-pop and freestyle song with synthesizer and drum machine-produced rim shot percussion sounds and kick-drum/snare-drum interaction. Critic and journalist Peter Shapiro described the song as a "cross between Gary Numan and Tito Puente."[6] The song's tempo is 116 beats per minute.[7]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Let the Music Play", directed by British director Nigel Dick and released in November 1983, starts with Shannon in a dressing room applying make-up as if she is getting ready for a performance. She then proceeds to the stage of an empty theater where she proceeds to dance and sing the song. Interspersed throughout these scenes are shots of male and female dancers fashioned in dress shirts and bow ties warming up. The dancers join Shannon by the second chorus of the song and near the end, one of the dancers proceeds to take her in his arms and dance with her. The video ends with the dancers doing a choreographed routine while Shannon continues singing.[8][9]

Impact and legacy[edit]

American DJ, record producer, remixer and songwriter Armand van Helden picked "Let the Music Play" as one of his "classic cuts" in 1995, adding, "A very powerful record. The first strong vocals over electro music. The first big hit that I can remember that struck me and paved the way for freestyle. Back then it was hip hop, but not considered rap."[10]

VH1 ranked the song number 24 in their list of the "100 Greatest Dance Songs" in 2000. [1]

Blender ranked it number 465 in their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" in 2005.[11]

Slant Magazine ranked it number 54 in its "100 Greatest Dance Songs" list in 2006, adding, "Alongside Madonna's 'Holiday,' D.C.-born jazz vocalist Brenda Shannon Greene's 'Let the Music Play' helped redefine dance music in the anti-disco early-'80s, setting the stage for the troubled genre for the next decade. Producers Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa, considered one of the founding fathers of Latin freestyle, merged the then-hip electro-funk sound with Latin rhythms, unwittingly creating the world's first freestyle song."[12]

VH1 ranked the song number 42 in their "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s" in 2009.[13]

ThoughtCo ranked it number nine in their list of "25 Best Dance Pop Songs of All Time" in 2018.[14]

Slant Magazine ranked it number nine in their ranking of "The 100 Best Dance Songs of All Time" in 2020.[15]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "Let the Music Play"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[43] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Mary Kiani version[edit]

"Let the Music Play"
LtmpKiani.JPG
Single by Mary Kiani
from the album Long Hard Funky Dreams
ReleasedApril 1, 1996
Label1st Avenue, Mercury Warehouse Records, Leeds UK
Songwriter(s)Chris Barbosa
Ed Chisolm
Mary Kiani singles chronology
"I Give It All To You / I Imagine"
(1995)
"Let the Music Play"
(1996)
"100%"
(1996)

In 1996, Mary Kiani covered "Let the Music Play" as her third solo single. The song was remixed in a variety of styles, notably by Paul Oakenfold of Perfecto and Steve Rodway of Motiv8. A video of the song was also released.

Track listings and formats[edit]

These are the main formats and track listings of the single release of Mary Kiani's "Let the Music Play."

# Title Length
UK CD single MERCD456
1. "Let the Music Play" [Radio Mix] 3:50
2. "Let the Music Play" [Perfecto Radio Mix] 5:40
3. "Let the Music Play" [Motiv8 Club Mix] 6:32
4. "Let the Music Play" [Mr. Spring Contrary Mary Mix] 5:34
5. "Let the Music Play" [Perfecto Vocal Mix] 8:00
6. "Let the Music Play" [Argonauts Kiani Do This Mix] 5:42
7. "Let the Music Play" [Mr. Spring Club Edit] 4:29
UK 12" MERX456
A1. "Let the Music Play" [Motiv8 Club Mix] 6:33
A2. "Let the Music Play" [Union Jack Mix] 6:27
B1. "Let the Music Play" [Perfecto Vocal Mix] 8:01
B2. "Let the Music Play" [Perfecto Dub Mix] 5:00
UK 12" MERX457 / Fubar12
A1. "Let the Music Play" [Casio Brothers Mix]
A2. "Let the Music Play" [George Bowie Mix]
B1. "Let the Music Play" [Steve Kerr Mix]
B2. "Let the Music Play" [Tom Wilson & David Livingston Mix]

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1987, Icelandic punk band Mosi frændi released a cover of the song on their 13-track cassette-only release, "Suzy Creamcheese for president".
  • In 1991, freestyle artist Tiana did a cover of this song.
  • The soundtrack of Neil Jordan's The Crying Game, released in 1992, includes a cover by Carroll Thompson, produced by Pet Shop Boys.
  • In 1996, Scottish singer Mary Kiani covered the song and hit the #19 spot on the UK singles chart. (See below.)
  • A cover version by Music Instructor was included on its album Electric City of Music Instructor, released in 1998.
  • Exile, a Japanese boy band, did a cover of this song on their album, titled Asia, released in 2006.
  • In 2006, Mexican pop band RBD covered "Let the Music Play," which is featured on its first English-language album, Rebels, but only as an iTunes digital-download exclusive. The track was not included on the album itself.
  • "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)," the second single from the 2009 album Battlefield by Jordin Sparks, contains lyrics and melodies from the song.
  • In 2006, "Let The Music Play" was also recorded by Sisaundra Lewis from NBC's The Voice.
  • House DJ/producer Secondcity sampled the lyrics on his track "Let The Music."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shannon [USA] - Let the Music Play".
  2. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Artist Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 231.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 521.
  5. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s". VH1. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  6. ^ Jamieson, Teddy (28 October 2013). Not Fade Away 1983: Let the Music Play, Shannon. HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2014-10-01
  7. ^ Brusca, Donny (2006). BPM List 2006: Main Edition. Lulu.com, 2006. p. 542. ISBN 978-1-84728-860-8.
  8. ^ "Site Maintenance".
  9. ^ Shannon "Let the Music Play". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11.
  10. ^ "Jock On His Box" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). 1995-05-06. p. 5. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  11. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born". Blender. October 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  12. ^ "100 Greatest Dance Songs". Slant Magazine. 30 January 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  13. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s". VH1. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  14. ^ "25 Best Dance Pop Songs of All Time". ThoughtCo. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  15. ^ "The 100 Best Dance Songs of All Time". Slant Magazine. 15 June 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Shannon Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ "Shannon – Let the Music Play" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6304." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  20. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  21. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved June 7, 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Shannon".
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Shannon" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  23. ^ "Shannon – Let the Music Play" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "Shannon – Let the Music Play". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  25. ^ "Shannon – Let the Music Play". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  26. ^ "Shannon: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  27. ^ "Shannon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  28. ^ "Shannon Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  29. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending March 3, 1984". Cash Box. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  30. ^ "The Cash Box Top 100 Black Contemporary – Week ending February 4, 1984". Cash Box. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  31. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Shannon – Let the Music Play". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "Shannon Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  33. ^ "Shannon – Let the Music Play (2002 Remix)" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  34. ^ "Shannon Chart History (Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  35. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41, no. 17. January 5, 1985. p. 7. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Singles (January 3–December 29, 1984)" (PDF). Music Week. January 26, 1985. p. 37. ISSN 0265-1548 – via World Radio History.
  37. ^ "Hot 100 Songs – Year-End 1984". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 2, 2021. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  38. ^ "Dance Club Songs – Year-End 1984". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 3, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  39. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 1984". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  40. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1984 – Top 100 Pop Singles". Cash Box. December 29, 1984. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  41. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1984 – Top 50 Black Contemporary Singles". Cash Box. December 29, 1984. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  42. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts – 1984" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Shannon – Let the Music Play". Recording Industry Association of America.