Part 3 – Rock the Boat – They’re at it again! The folks from Applebee’s have
another great ad on TV, and it’s a blast from my past! Have you heard it yet? I have,
and my toes still tap to that beat! Now, let’s rock that boat – but don’t tip the boat over!
Meet the Hues Corporation! They’re the voices behind the song. From left to right – Fleming Williams, H. Ann Kelley, and St. Clair Lee.
Would you believe Rock the Boat was almost a flop? The trio released it on their debut studio album in 1973. The first two singles didn’t go anywhere on the top 40 charts.
Rock the Boat was their 3rd single in early 1974, and it didn’t look good either – no radio airtime or sales activity. Then somehow it became a disco favorite in New York City dance clubs, and radio picked it up. The almost-failure hit the top 40 and reached #1 on July 6, 1974.
Rock the Boat was one of the earliest disco hits. I was nearly a sophomore in high school back in 1974. Disco wouldn’t hit Ohio until I was in college. That’s when Saturday Night Fever struck. Funny, I don’t remember it from high school, but I do – from college. Disco was HUGE.
Fun Fact # 1 - Wally Holmes wrote it, and first lines are important. Wally’s was “Ever since our voyage of love began.” The producer John Florez thought the lyrics were trite and overused, and he got Wally to change that first line. Now you know how they got the notion.”
#2 – H. Ann Kelley, the girl in the band, was supposed to sing lead, but someone thought bands with female lead singers weren’t commercially successful, so they gave it to Fleming Williams. He left the group soon after the recording. I wish someone had the notion to give the lead to H. Ann.
#3 – John put Rock the Boat out on the B side of the record. Back in the day, singles came out as 45 RPM records. The A side was the hit. The B side, not.
After it did so well in dance clubs, John remixed it. He boosted the bass and rhythm instruments. Then he re-released it, and the rest is history!
Here’s what I found when I looked up Applebee’s new commercial. Take a look at the promotional information. I’ve never seen it written out like this before, but I like having all the important information in one place.
OOPS! I almost forgot the most important part – the link! How else can you see the Hughes Corporation in action singing their #1 hit Rock the Boat?!
Google: Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
1. Restaurant image - By Michael Rivera - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40559229
2. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - iSpot.tv
3. The Hughes Corporation - By RCA Records - www.album.it, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45459572
1. Hues Corporation - Rock the Boat - Bing video
2. Rock the Boat (The Hues Corporation song) - Wikipedia
3. Applebee's TV Commercial, 'Jungle Cruise: Rock the Boat' Song by The Hues Corporation - Bing video
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!