Synthesizers, whistles, bells, tambourines and electronic beeps are all incorporated into dance music, but the hand-clap stands out for its human connection (granted they're often the product of a synthesizer). What I also like about hand claps is how they have a primal way of compelling the listener/dancer to join in. You'll know what I mean as you review the following baker's dozen of my hand-clap favorites:
- Cocomotion - El Coco (1977). The song begins with the lyrics, "Do it, do it good (clap-clap), dance the Cocomotion (clap-clap) ...". (In the link this line comes on about midway through the song.)
- Don't Let Me Be Understand - Santa Esmeralda (1977). A remake of a rock classic from the mid-60s, but with a salsa beat.
- Everybody Dance - Chic (1979). The lyrics issue the command, "Everybody dance (ooh ooh ooh), clap your hands, clap your hands."
- Good Times (1979)- Chic. This song, perhaps the top song of the summer of '79, came out just as the CBS sitcom by the same name was ending its 6-year run. The clapping occurs during the chorus of "Good times, these are the good times, leave your cares behind".
- Fairy Tale High (1977) - Donna Summer. From her double-album titled Once Upon a Time, when I bought it I realized that I was gay. Double click here to hear an extended remix.
- One of a Kind - Donna Summer (1978). This song comes in the middle of the grand, 18-minute "MacArthur Park Suite".
- If There's Love - Amant (1978). Clapping comes in during an interlude about two-thirds of the way into the song. I first heard this at the famed Gaiety in Times Square (above Howard Johnson) when I moved to New York in March 1979.
- In the Navy - Village People (1979). Hand claps come in during the chorus of, "They want you, they want you, they want you as a new recruit!"
- Let's All Chant - Michael Zager Band (1978). The extended 12-inch version begins with rounds of clapping followed by "Ooh-ooh, ah-ah, let's all chant (clap-clap-clap); Ooh-ooh, ah-ah, let's all chant (clap-clap-clap)". Click here for a jaw-droppingly cheesy clip from Solid Gold that may ruin your enjoyment of the song forever.
- Mandolay - La Flavour (1980). Not to be confused with the Burmese city of Mandalay, Mandolay is a woman who hangs out at a disco in Spain. Rhythmic hand claps are part of the song's chorus.
- Don't You Want My Love? - Debbie Jacobs (1979). The clap pattern is: "Clap, beat, clap-clap". Listen for yourself in this clip.
- Car Wash - Rose Royce (1976). Its funky opening includes rhythmic clapping.
- Rasputin - Boney M (1978). This group was huge in Europe but not in the U.S. Double click here to hear the song and watch the video.
You may also find the following two posts about classic disco of interest: