Midnight at the Oasis
|"Midnight at the Oasis"|
|Single by Maria Muldaur|
|from the album Maria Muldaur|
|B-side||"Any Old Time"|
|Producer(s)||Lenny Waronker, Joe Boyd|
"Midnight at the Oasis" is a 1973 song written by David Nichtern. It was recorded by the singer Maria Muldaur for her self-titled album and is her best-known recording, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 in the UK Singles Chart in the spring of 1974. Billboard ranked it as the No. 13 song for 1974. It was also nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards, held in 1975. In Canada, the song reached #2 in the RPM magazine singles charts and #45 in the year-end chart.
The song is a saucy, teasing offer of a desert love affair, in a fantasy setting that owes more to Rudolph Valentino sheik movies than to real Middle Eastern deserts. AllMusic reviewer Matthew Greenwald describes the song as "so sensual and evocative that it was probably one of the most replayed records of the era and also may be responsible for the most pregnancies from a record during the mid-'70s". Some of the lyrics are doubtlessly suggestive (such as: "let's slip off to a sand dune ... and kick up a little dust"; "you won't need no camel ... when I take you for a ride") But the tone is playful throughout. "Midnight" features a 1970s-defining instrumental bridge, particularly memorable for the guitar work of Amos Garrett.
The lyric "Cactus is our friend" is used several times in the song, but Cacti are actually New World plants, native to North America, South America and the West Indies, and are not naturally found on the Arabian Peninsula.
In 2008 Muldaur recalled that she wanted to add the song to her album as an "afterthought" at the last minute. She has acknowledged that people do approach her at her concerts or events and claim that, because of this song, sexual encounters, such as loss of virginity and pregnancy, have ensued.
Brand New Heavies version
|"Midnight at the Oasis"|
|Single by The Brand New Heavies|
|from the album Brother Sister|
7 inch vinyl
|Label||FFRR, Delicious Vinyl|
|The Brand New Heavies singles chronology|
A version of this song was recorded by the group Brand New Heavies, attributed to "Brand New Heavies featuring N'Dea Davenport". This version reached #13 in the UK in 1994 and was their biggest hit up until the departure of Davenport, when Sometimes made #11.
UK CD Single
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Radio Version) - (3:48)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Rogers Brand New Radio Anthem) - (4:35)
UK CD Single BNHCD 05
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Radio Version) - (3:48)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Extended Version)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Opaz 7" Version)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Roger's Brand New Radio Anthem) - (4:35)
- Simon Bartholomew
- N'Dea Davenport - Vocals
- Jan Kincaid
- Richard Stilgoe
- Andrew Levy
- Jazz versions of this song have been recorded by Hubert Laws on The Chicago Theme and by Freddie Hubbard on the live album Gleam and the studio album Liquid Love.
- Percy Faith recorded a lush easy listening version in 1974 on one of his last albums, Chinatown Feat. the Entertainer, which featured the guitar work of Larry Carlton. This recording became a mainstay of Beautiful Music radio playlists for the duration of that format's existence.
- In 1975 a cover version of the song appeared on the album Dust Yourself Off by the funk band Pleasure.
- The 1978 album Betty Wright Live, by Betty Wright, includes a medley version "Clean Up Woman" that includes parts of "Midnight at the Oasis".
- In 1986 the Sun City Girls released a version of the song on their album Midnight Cowboys from Ipanema.
- In 1993 American jazz vocalist Steve Oliver released a version of the song on his album First View.
- In 1994 the Brand New Heavies' album Brother Sister included "Midnight at the Oasis" with vocals by N'Dea Davenport.
- In 1995 That Dog released a version of the song on the album Spirit of '73: Rock for Choice.
- Jazz guitarist Martin Taylor included an instrumental version on his 2000 album Kiss and Tell with support from saxophonist Kirk Whalum.
- Actress and Broadway singer Valarie Pettiford of UPN's Half & Half remade the song on her 2004 album Hear My Soul.
- The song is sampled by SWV on their song "When This Feeling" from their 1996 album New Beginning.
- Renee Olstead sings the song on her 2004 self-titled album.
- Marina Prior recorded the song for her 2012 album Both Sides Now
In 2004, Muldaur's original version was featured in the CD "What Is Hip: Remix Project 1", a compilation of pop songs remixed for the clubs. The single is billed as the "Cuica Remix", with the track extended from its 3:49 recording to 4:49, incorporating portions of the background vocal, strings, and instrumental break with semi-chilled out Ibiza-themed elements.
In popular culture
- An instrumental version was used in the 1975 movie White Line Fever, as was another David Nichtern song, "Drifting and Dreaming of You".
- It was performed in American Pie at the prom.
- In the short lived Jenny McCarthy Show on MTV an entire skit revolved around people buried up to their necks like a garden of human lettuce heads being forced to sing this song on command by their deranged captor.
- The song is sung by the lounge act at the hotel in Sofia Coppola's film Lost in Translation.
- The American multiracial female R&B duo Harem took their name and the concept for their self-titled 1995 album from the song.
- In Christopher Guest's 1997 film Waiting For Guffman, the characters Ron (Fred Willard) and Sheila (Catherine O'Hara) audition for the play Red, White and Blaine with a comically inept performance of the song.
- On the November 18, 2000 episode of Saturday Night Live (season 26, episode 6), during the "Rap Street" segment, Tom Green (as MC Kevin Gustafson) performs a rap on top of this song.
- In the 2002 film, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Adam Garcia's character, Andy, plays this song while sitting on the floor of his room and Rosario Dawson's character, Alisa, comes in singing and dancing.
- In 2007's Whisper, where character Roxanne (Sarah Wayne Callies) lulls the kidnapped boy, David Sandborn (Blake Woodruff) to sleep.
- In Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, Gex parodies the song playing in the level Tut TV.
- The song is used as the closing theme to The King's Court after Cleveland Cavaliers games and The 10th Inning after Cleveland Indians games (both hosted by Greg Brinda) on WKNR AM 850 in Cleveland.
- In 2005, Howling Pig Smelly Soaps & Other Stuff of Seattle, Wash. began selling soap and other products with a scent called "Midnight at the Oasis", inspired by the song.
- In the Gilmore Girls episode "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis", a cuckoo-type clock (in Dwight's house) is featured that plays "Midnight at the Oasis" on the hour.
- In the episode "Undertow" from The Wire, the song plays as Beatrice "Beadie" Russell meets with an old boyfriend in a diner. Since "The Wire" primarily used source cues as a soundtrack/music score, the usage of this song is equivalent to an inclusion in the soundtrack.
- In the Heroes episode "Acceptance" in 2009, the song is playing in the background of the flashback sequence when young Nathan Petrelli is playing with his toy airplane.
- The song was frequently used as bumper music on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell.
- Fontenot, Robert (February 21, 2016). "The 10 Ickiest Soft-Rock Hits of the '70s". About.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1974
- Greenwald, Matthew. "Song Review: Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur". AllMusic. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Amos Garrett". Homespun Video. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- on YouTube from Living Legends (January 8, 2008)