Sideshow (song)

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Single by Blue Magic
from the album Blue Magic
B-side "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely"
Released 1974 (1974)
Genre R&B, Philly soul
Length 4:06
Label Atco
Writer(s) Bobby Eli, Vinnie Barrett
Producer(s) Norman Harris
Blue Magic singles chronology
"Stop to Start"
"Three Ring Circus"

"Sideshow" is a song recorded by American R&B soul vocal quintet Blue Magic, released in 1974. It was first released on the album Blue Magic and when issued as a single it sold over a million copies, going to #1 R&B and #8 pop in the United States in the summer of 1974. Billboard ranked it as the No. 19 song for 1974.[1] It was covered as a reggae version by Barry Biggs who reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1977. It has also been covered by Ray, Goodman & Brown, Silk, and Joss Stone.


A visit into an antique museum was the inspiration to write a romance metaphor, which took about four months to finish. Composed by Vinnie Barrett and Bobby Eli (both collaborated on another Philly soul ballad "Love Won't Let Me Wait" by former Delfonics member Major Harris), when record producer and guitarist Norman Harris heard "Sideshow", he said that should be recorded by Blue Magic. It was released on the album Blue Magic, it came from an idea from songwriter and group associate Richard Dickson who also was considered a group member as well and it became one of pop music's most affecting ballads and sold over a million copies, going to number one R&B and number eight pop in the summer of 1974.

The song is noted for its introduction, featuring a repeat of the first 10 notes of a slow version of Julius Fucik's "Entrance of the Gladiators" while one of the band's members acts like a master of ceremonies, declaring: "Hurry!! Hurry!!! Step right up! See the saddest show in town for only 50 cents!"[2][3]

The follow-up song was the similarly themed "Three Ring Circus" (which was similarly covered as a later single by Biggs). Some radio edits fade the song out several seconds earlier before the repeat of the Introduction in the Coda section, which also features a repeat of the chorus, due to the length of the song.


The intro of Sideshow is sampled by Chris Brown in "Young Love".


The Chanter Sisters had a minor hit with a different song of the same title, that reached #43 in the UK charts in 1976.

Chart positions[edit]

Blue Magic version[edit]

Barry Biggs version[edit]


  1. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1974
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 68. 
  3. ^ Blue Magic - Sideshow (Stereo) - YouTube
  4. ^ Billboard Top R&B Singles 1942-2001, edited by Joel Whitburn

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Hollywood Swinging" by Kool & the Gang
Billboard Hot Soul Singles number-one single (Blue Magic version)
June 15, 1974
Succeeded by
"Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)" by The Impressions