Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Incredible Bongo Band (1973) Bongo Rock

The Incredible Bongo Band, also known as Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band, was a project started in 1972 by Michael Viner, a record artist manager and executive at MGM Records. Viner was called on to supplement the soundtrack to the virtually anonymous B film The Thing With Two Heads. The "band's" output consisted of upbeat, funky, instrumental music. Many tracks were covers of popular songs of the day characterized by the prominence of bongo drums, conga drums, rock drums and brass.
The band released two albums, 1973's Bongo Rock and 1974's Return of the Incredible Bongo Band. The song "Bongo Rock", co-written by Art Laboe and Preston Epps and released by Epps as a Top 40 hit in 1959, was covered by the Incredible Bongo Band as "Bongo Rock '73", and became a minor US hit for them in 1973, and a substantial hit in Canada.

Michael Viner would make use of MGM recording facilities in down-time, recruiting whichever studio musicians were on-hand. This apparently included many well-known blow-ins, all uncredited. Ringo Starr is rumoured to have played on some tracks. The "down-time" sessions carried on for some time, until words from upper management finally quelled the vanity project.

This was never an actual band. When product was finally released, a fake band was assembled and photographed. Those photos were seen on some album artwork, and in publicity.

However, the band is best known these days for its often-sampled cover of "Apache", an instrumental tune written by Jerry Lordan and originally made popular in the UK by The Shadows, and in North America by Jørgen Ingmann. The group's version of "Apache" (produced by Perry Botkin, Jr.) was not a hit upon release, and languished in relative obscurity until the late 1970s, when it was adopted by early hip-hop artists, including pioneering DJs Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, for the uncommonly long percussion break in the middle of the song. Subsequently, many of the Incredible Bongo Band's other releases were sampled by hip-hop producers, and the "Apache" break remains a staple of many producers in drum and bass. The song received popular attention again in 2001 when it was featured in an ad for an Acura SUV. Recently, music critic Will Hermes did an article on "Apache" and the Incredible Bongo Band for the New York Times. [1]

As well, the band's cover of "Let There Be Drums," which was made famous by Sandy Nelson and also performed by The Ventures, was used as the theme song for the long running television show "Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling" during the 1980s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incredible_Bongo_Band


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