What do you get when you bury a high-pitched scream in a song using an amusement park ride as a metaphor for the thrill of sex? You get Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster,” along with a shitload of urban legend.
This funky R&B piece, from the band’s 1975 album Honey, had to have been the most talked about song of its day. It didn’t matter how old you were at the time; if you were alive in North America as it climbed the pop and R&B charts, you knew that the scream, faintly heard at around the 2:32 mark on this album version, was a woman being murdered in the studio, or something similar. Of course, it wasn’t—it’s keyboardist Billy Beck—but no one, including the band, went out of their way to dispel any of the circulating myths.
“The band took a vow of silence because that makes you sell more records,” Ohio Player drummer James “Diamond” Williams explained in “The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits” by Adam White and Fred Bronson.
Love Rollercoaster wasn’t the only controversial thing about the album, either. The risqué nature of the cover caused plenty of feminist outrage, and it’s said (possibly more rumour) that some retailers refused to carry it because of the cover alone. However, none of this stopped me from reaching over to the car radio and dialing it up a notch or two. And I still love this track. Rising, falling, and pulsing in all the right places you can’t help but move and groove to this 70s classic in your vintage Mustang.
You can learn more about Ohio Players here:
About the Curator - Jane Asylum
When my mother wasn’t walking around the house belting out early 60s’ girl-band lyrics, she was collecting compilation albums, specifically from K-Tel. She may not have had the most refined taste, but she enjoyed variety, or at least that’s what I recall. I poured over them all, preferring some sounds to others. And when I found the perfect song, I’d play it over and over until ready to perform my latest theatrical dance incarnation.
With my family all gathered on floral grey sofas in our basement apartment, I’d set the vinyl on the turntable of a brown fibreboard stereo and not-so-carefully lower the needle. It would pop, screech, and crackle before any music spilled from the weaved-wheat speakers. My toes would press, lift, and sweep through the blue-green shag carpet, my arms would flail, and the music would bass and treble through my soul.
I’m no longer that 6-year-old doing private-audience interpretive dance routines, but my passion remains just as intense. I have no special superpowers as a curator — just my love of sounds and lyrics that transport, transform, move, and make your body groove.
15 November 2021
When you adore a band and practically everything they’ve done, it can be a bit difficult to decide on one single track to feature on a playlist, but “Drive Your Car” became a no-brainer.
13 October 2021
English band Free’s “I’m a Mover” is music to my ears, and it’s the track I want to listen to while driving my pony on a stretch of cracked grey highway over green hills.
13 September 2021
Any track from this band would pair well with Chuck Berry’s “My Mustang Ford,” but I want to drive into a more or less psychedelic blues and garage rock direction. This makes “Lying Eyes” the perfect fit.