Of course, we knew something about this soul music.  I had an E.P. by the Who and in the liner notes Roger Daltrey had expressed an admiration for Wilson Pickett’s Land Of A Thousand Dances, but the connection between R&B and what we liked to dance to hadn’t been made as far as we were concerned. 

If that seems strange, it’s worth remembering that our version of provincial Australia didn’t even have a choice of commercial television stations at the time, and even something like the legendary British show Ready Steady Go would pop up unannounced once in a blue moon on the ABC, so we weren’t likely to be right up to date with the latest groovy dance moves.

Even if we had been, there was no way we were likely be doing anything but gently hopping from one foot to the other facing whichever girl we’d managed to coax out of her seat to join us on the dance floor. Anything more extreme would have been a sign of total degeneracy, and at the ripe old age of fifteen, fitting in with the peer group was paramount.

So even if we’d heard something like Ike & Tina, all we would have heard was the beat. There was no way we would have anticipated the total frenzy that burst onto the screen when Tina and the Ikettes sashayed onto the screen and proceeded to strut their stuff at what seemed like a million miles an hour.

After relative normality had briefly been returned with the Supremes, there was this madman named James Brown. 

Years later I was reading the introduction to a book called Nowhere To Run by Gerri Hirshey,

The writer was describing an interview with Michael Jackson about the time Thriller was being completed. The Gloved One, being a few years younger than the writer asked if she’d seen, or could help him locate, that 1965 teen special that captured the most mind-bending exhibition of dance hoodoo ever recorded, footage that even Elvis Presley watched over and over tucked away in Graceland.


B© Ian Hughes 2012