THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
330-Frankie Smith-Double Dutch Bus.
1981-Has never charted in the UK.
Best Bit-At 1.38.The ‘slang’ language used in this song would become a staple in Hip-Hop music, with artists such as Snoop Dogg,(see also best songs 544) and Jay Z (see also best songs 636-477 and 23) being amongst those influenced.
Frankie Smith was born Franklyn Leon Smith on January 29th, 1940, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, he died on March 8th, 2019, at the age of 79. Frankie Smith along with this songs co-writer Bill Bloom had both been employed in the early 1970’s at Philadelphia International Records where they worked with some of the labels top acts including the O’Jays (see also best songs 648) and The Detroit Spinners, (see also best songs 834) but it wasn’t until they released this track that they found major success.
‘Old School Hip-Hop’ developed in New York, but by the early 1980’s it was spreading across America. Like many early Rap songs ‘Double Dutch Bus’ tells a fancy-full story, Smith Raps about a ‘Funky’ bus on which everybody is having a party, the problem though is that Smith misses the bus and has to walk 15 blocks to get to work. While walking he sees girls playing ‘Double Dutch,’ a game where you have to jump over ropes in rhythm to keep going.
The bus that Smith was rapping about is a very common sight in Philadelphia, having been inaugurated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in 1964, with around 200 of them now in service. The skipping game of ‘Double Dutch’ originated amongst Dutch immigrants in New York City, it’s popularity spread across America, and today sporting competitions are held worldwide.
‘Double Dutch Bus’ is probably best remembered for it’s use of slang which was used by African/American pimps and hustlers in the 1970’s. The ‘iz-izzle-izzo-ilz’ speak was originally developed by African/Americans in the 1920’s, with hot spots of the speak in Oakland, New York City, and Philadelphia. It was partially developed as young African/American girls improvised chants and nursery rhymes while jumping with rope, with the ‘iz’ dialect serving to add syllables when necessary to maintain the rhythm. The Rapper Snoop Dogg is probably the best known artist who uses the ‘slang’ in his music, and his everyday speech. Another good example is Jay Z who in 2001 had a hit with ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.’) where he spells out ‘HOVA’ in ‘izzle-speak.’
‘Double Dutch Bus’ was co-written, and co-produced by Frankie Smith, and Bill Bloom, and was taken from Smith’s only studio Album release ‘Children of Tomorrow’ from 1980. The 12 inch single was certified ‘Gold’ in 1981 for sales of over 500,000, making it just the second 12 inch single at that time to earn the certification, the first was ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough’) by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer from 1979.’ Double Dutch Bus’ would prove to be the only hit for Smith, but he did release a further seven singles between 1980-1985.Frankie Smith has said of the song,’Double Dutch’ is a tribute to all the girls in the world, especially the girls on my block. I’ve been watching them for 25 years, they use their mothers clotheslines to play the game, it’s an art. It’s a tribute to them, they’re really good at it.’
‘Hizzey gizzirls y’izzall hizave t’ mizzove izzout the wizzay sizzo the gizzuys can plizzay bizzasketbizzal.’ (‘Hi girls, you have to move out the way so the guys can play basketball.’)