People of the blog world, do you have *any* idea how long it took me to find this song?
Years, I say!
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, my fourteen-year-old self was not as keen as my current doctoral self on data curation. I had the title of this song labeled correctly, but I never knew who the artist was. This may have been an early attempt at musicological enterprise, as I’m fairly certain I grabbed the song off the radio because it was being featured on some 8 pm ‘up and coming hits’ breakdown. I certainly never heard it much on the actual radio – only ever on this mixtape. Over the years, I rather forgot how it went, only remembering that it quoted lines from Animal House. Since as I’ve mentioned, this particular mixtape broke from overuse, I had nothing else to go on but that sample.
People, do you know how many songs out there quote Animal House?
Way too many. Combine that with the fact that searching for “Do You Wanna Dance” will inevitably end you up with 5,000,000 hits for Bobby Freeman, and you’ll understand how difficult this was for me.
Finally, though, it was YouTube for the win, when a random search for “Do Ya Wanna Dance” resulted in me stumbling across the completely unknown Brother Makes 3. I say completely unknown because clearly I had no idea who they were. Also, the internet doesn’t appear to know them either; they don’t have a Wikipedia page, and their AllMusic page is virtually empty. Still, through careful research (ahem, Google), I have discovered that not only was this song a top ten Billboard hit (no, seriously, it was) but it was featured on One Life to Live (see, I was a Days of our Lives and General Hospital junkie). I also learned that the group had a second top ten hit in “I Wanna,” which is a song I’m pretty sure I never heard until now, and which you should not confuse with the Keith Sweat New Jack swing masterpiece “I Want Her.”
Anyhow, about the actual song. This, as I said, was a bit of an anomaly for me, in that I definitely don’t remember liking the song before I recorded it. I grabbed it off the radio purely because I was told it was already popular and I Should, therefore Like It. And I did like it, don’t get me wrong, but I was still sussing out what it was that I actually liked versus what it was that I was supposed to like (via friends, radio publicity, television shows, etc.) I was definitely drawn to songs that sampled; I was entranced by the way that different artists or groups would spin tiny elements of things – other song lyrics, bass lines, melodies, names, movie quotes – into these huge, totally different life forms. I’m sure that some of my interest in this song was being told by the radio that it sampled from Animal House (the only reason that, at fourteen, I knew where that dialogue came from). An internet commenter on YouTube claims it samples also from George Kranz’s “Din Daa Daa,” which is certainly possible, but I can neither confirm that nor did I know that at the time. Still, I liked the sparseness of it, the repetition that was so common at that time in dance music. I was rather put off by the inability of the singers to stay on pitch. But mostly I just remember loving the lyric “let me wax that fat behind.” Not exactly high-class poetry, but it was certainly a fun song at the time.
Brother Makes 3 is pretty much this dude named Joe Shock Lopez who teamed up with friends 2 in a Room (notorious for their song “Wiggle It“), which explains why both of Brother Makes 3’s songs sound strangely like … Wiggle It. Apparently Mr. Lopez – ShOcK, to his friends – is still kickin’ it (wiggling it?) as Brother Makes 3, as his MySpace and reverbnation pages proclaim loudly. He can be heard on Urban Latino Radio every Monday and Tuesday from 6-8 pm, plus he may be coming to a city near you!