The Internet is full. Go away. -- Networld/Interop '95
My favorite example is a Barbara Mandrell's song from her 1979 LP "Just For The Record." On the cover, a 31 year old Barbara is sporting a sequined little dress that would have gotten her pass the velvet ropes at any Nashville discotheque. On the whole, the album is her blend of country with a little pop and soul (heavier on the pop than soul.) But a little song, Is It Love Yet, hidden on track 3 on side 2, is so catchy it could get stuck in one's head for close to 30 years and forever break the common wisdom that country music doesn't groove outside a line dance.
I put together this little video to illustrate. It starts off with a rhythmic lead in and then rides a slight but defined drum/dance beat and accented with backup singers throughout. In the video, I've noted the specific disco references at about 1:24 and around 2:20. To set the mood, the video includes a disco ball and go-go boys.
Babs was not the first artist to take this route, Dolly Parton had a fair amount of success with danceable country songs like Baby I'm Burnin' (#25 in 1978 on Hot 100 charts). Nor was Mandrell the last. In 1991, Tammy Wynette had a #11 hit with KLF doing Justified and Ancient. And today, all Leann Rimes songs are better after they've been reworked and remixed.
Barbara went on to win two Grammy's, have a top 10 TV Show, six #1 country singles, and perhaps the only person to appear on both Hee Haw and Baywatch.
In 1981, the New York Times wrote, "Miss Murray's calm blandness of personality has a way of anchoring what might otherwise seem impossibly frothy - as in the case of Olivia Newton-John -with an affecting emotional weight. And her voice, a consoling contralto, is always a pleasure."She was most famous for ballads that hit the adult contemporary and country music charts in the late 70's and throughout the 80's. But bored with those ballads, Anne went through a period of doing some uptempo music. It was still the 80's - so uptempo meant some synth pop stylings worked into her albums. It resulted in some cools songs and a few really bad ones. None translated into hits for her. I'm no music marketing exec, but I would imagine it was difficult to find an audience among fans used to more sedate love songs. Plus she wasn't edgy enough for the at-the-time MTV crowd. The first cut off of her 1983 A Little Good News album (which won a Grammy for Country Female Performance) is the best example. The same year my cassette player had in heavy rotation songs like "Sex (Im a...)" from Berlin and "Hungry Like The Wolf" by Duran Duran, I was also listening to this 80's sound burning up the charts (Well, it peaked at #103 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #47 on the Country Charts):