Sunday, November 28, 2021

“Dance With Me” by Peter Brown

Singer-songwriter, musician and producer Peter Brown had one of the hottest club jams of 1978 with his hit “Dance With Me.” That’s no small feat considering all the strong disco releases that year, including smashes by Donna Summer and Chic, not to mention the Saturday Night Fever juggernaut that was sweeping the country. Brown’s combustible disco track had folks burning up dance floors from LA to Manhattan and could be heard booming out of car stereos everywhere. The propulsive bassline drives this funky dance groove, which features slinky guitar riffs, elegant strings, percolating keyboards and a smokin’ beat. Brown delivers a rousing vocal performance and receives some extra-soulful vocal support from the “Clean Up Woman” herself,  Betty Wright. Pat Hurley and Wildflower provide additional background vocals. The track is further elevated by Robert Rans’ smooth piano solo.

The musicianship on this cut is topflight, with the players keeping the groove super-tight and snug in the pocket. And Cory Wade’s crisp production enhances the track considerably. In addition to lead vocals, Brown played drums and keyboards, with Tom Dziallo on bass and guitar. Bert Dovo is responsible for the superb string arrangement; and members of the New York Philharmonic string section contributed their talents.

“Dance With Me” was written by Brown and musician/composer Robert Rans. It was a single from Brown’s debut album, A Fantasy Love Affair (December 1977), which was released on Drive Records, a subsidiary of T.K. Records. It had a strong showing on the U.S. R&B, pop and dance single charts—#5, #8 and #4, respectively. And it also performed well in other parts of the world, peaking at #9 on the top singles chart in Canada and #3 in New Zealand. The fantastic “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” was another big dance hit from A Fantasy Love Affair. The song peaked at #18 on the U.S. pop singles chart, #3 on the R&B singles chart, and #9 on the dance chart. And it charted at #43 in the UK. It has sold more than a million copies. 

“Dance With Me” garnered Brown a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 21st Annual Grammy Awards, which aired on February 15, 1979. And Billboard named him the #1 new male album artist for its 1978 Year End #1 Awards. 

“Dance With Me” has been sampled on 21 songs, including “Got to Keep On” (The Chemical Brothers), “Starksy & Hutch” (LL Cool J, featuring Busta Rhymes) and “Give It Here” (Def Jef). Also, the song was featured on the following film soundtracks: Summer of Sam (1999), Donnie Brasco (1997) and Yesterday’s Hero (1979).

Brown enjoyed a highly successful recording career in dance music, landing a total of seven Top Ten Billboard club hits. In addition to his own recordings, he wrote tracks for prominent artists such as Madonna and Agnetha Fältskog from superstar pop group ABBA. Brown and Rans cowrote Madonna’s megahit “Material Girl.” And Brown and singer Pat Hurley cowrote “Maybe It Was Magic,” a track from Fältskog’s solo album I Stand Alone, which topped the album charts in Sweden.

A severe case of tinnitus forced Brown to exit the music business in the late ‘80s. He subsequently entered the fields of architecture and design. In 2018, Brown made a return to music with the release of his album Boom. It was his first album release in more than 30 years. The 11-track collection offers a stellar mix of R&B, dance and electronic grooves, showing that Brown hadn’t lost his touch during his long absence from the music scene.


 Here's a cool clip of Peter Brown in the studio putting together "Dance With Me."

"Dance With Me" at Amazon

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