THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
356-The Hues Corporation-Rock the Boat.
1974-Number 6 single.
Best Bit-At 2.17. Due to it’s popularity in the nightclubs the radio finally began to play it, leading to what many people cite as the first ‘Disco’ record to become a Billboard Number 1 single.
The Hues Corporation were formed in 1969 in Santa Monica, California, United States by Wally Holmes, (1928-2021) and Bernard St. Clair Lee, (1944-2011) they were soon joined by Hubert Ann Kelley, and Karl Russell. The group initially wanted to call themselves ‘The Children of Howard Hughes,’ but their record label wouldn’t allow it, so they settled on ‘The Hughes Corporation,’ naming themselves after the business magnate Howard Hughes, (1905-1976) which was a pun on the ‘Howard Hughes Corporation.’
Their first big break occurred in 1972 when asked to appear in, and provide three songs for the ‘blaxploitation’ film ‘Blacula,’ after which Karl Russell was replaced in the band by Fleming Williams (1943-1998.) This new lineup were signed to ‘RCA Records,’ and recorded their debut studio Album ‘Freedom for the Stallion’ in 1973, which included the original version of this song. The Hues Corporation were active until around 1980, but were reformed in the 1990’s by St. Clair Lee, with new members, in order to tour. In total The Hues Corporation released six studio Albums between 1973-1980, and 17 singles between 1970-1982. In the UK, and on Billboard their only other top 40 hit was ‘Rockin’ Soul,’ also in 1974, which reached Number 24 in the UK, and Number 18 on Billboard.
‘Rock the Boat’ was written by band member Wally Holmes, and produced by John Florez. It was Florez who remixed the song, which led to it’s popularity in the nightclubs, the new remix was one of the tracks to feature on the bands second studio Album ‘Rockin’ Soul’ released in 1974. Some very famous musicians were brought in for the original recording of the song, including Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, and Larry Carlton of the ‘Jazz Crusaders,’ (see also best songs 588) and the drummer Jim Gordon. Fleming Williams who provided the songs lead vocal would leave shortly after the song was recorded.
Richard Finch of KC and the Sunshine Band has said that hearing ‘Rock the Boat’ being played, while he watched people dancing to it enthusiastically was an inspiration for his co-write of ‘Rock Your Baby’ with Harry Wayne Casey (see also best songs 64.) In 1982 the American singer Forrest Thomas (1953-2013) took his version of ‘Rock the Boat’ to Number 4 in the UK.
‘Ever since our voyage of love began, your touch has thrilled me like the rush of the wind, and your arms have held me safe from a rolling sea. There’s always been a quiet place to harbour you and me.’