Fatback Band  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Fatback Band (later, simply Fatback) is an American funk and disco band. Most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, The Fatback Band is most known for their Top Ten R&B hits, "(Do The) Spanish Hustle", "I Like Girls", "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)", and "Backstrokin'". Their 1979 single "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is considered by many to be the first rap single.



Formed in New York City in 1970, The Fatback Band was the concept of Bill Curtis, an experienced session drummer, inspired to merge the "fatback" jazz beat of New Orleans into a funk band. In addition to Curtis, the band's initial line-up included guitarist Johnny King, bassist Johnny Flippin, trumpet player George Williams, saxophonist Earl Shelton, flautist George Adams, and keyboardist Gerry Thomas. The band specialized in playing "street funk". The group also later included conga player Wayne Woolford, vocalists Jayne and Gerry, Deborah Cooper saxophonist Fred Demerey, and guitarist George Victory.

The Fatback Band signed to Perception Records and had a hit single that summer with "Street Dance". The single reached the Top 30 on the Rhythm & Blues chart but failed to cross over to the pop chart, a pattern the group would follow for the rest of their career. The band released the albums Let's Do It Again, People Music, and Feel My Soul before signing to Event Records in 1974.

In the mid-1970s, the band incorporated jazz elements and moved more towards a disco sound resulting in the singles, "Keep On Steppin'", "Yum, Yum (Give Me Some)", and "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop". The singles proved popular in dance clubs but didn't do as well on R&B charts until the spring of 1976 when "(Do The) Spanish Hustle" came close to the Top Ten. "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" birthed the development of line dancing.

Now recording for Spring/Polydor, the group continued with the singles, "Party Time", "The Booty", and "Double Dutch". Late 1977 brought a name change to Fatback, and in 1978 they found their first Top Ten single with "I Like Girls". The song "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is often considered to be the first commercially released rap single, having shipped just a week before The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" in October 1979.

In 1980, Fatback had a pair of their biggest hits with "Gotta Get My Hands On Some (Money)" and "Backstrokin'". Also finding the charts in the 1980s were "Take It Any Way You Can't It", "I Found Lovin'", and "Spread Love", with singer Evelyn Thomas, in 1985.

Keyboardist Gerry Thomas was simultaneously a member of The Jimmy Castor Bunch, so the band elected to remain close to the New York area instead of extensive touring. They had substantial success in South America, especially in Brazil (with "Money", and "Backstrokin'"). The band is still currently touring and actively recording new material.

Selected discography


As The Fatback Band

  • "Soul March" (1973), Perception - #69 R&B
  • "Street Dance" (1973), Perception - #26 R&B
  • "Njia (Nija) Walk" (1973), Perception - #56 R&B
  • "Keep On Steppin'" (1974), Event - #50 R&B
  • "Wicki Wacky'" (1974), Event - #94 R&B
  • "(Hey I) Feel Real Good (part one)" (1975), Event
  • "Yum Yum (Gimme Some)" (1975), Event - #80 R&B
  • "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" (1975), Event - #37 R&B
  • "(Do The) Spanish Hustle" (1976), Event - #12 R&B/#101 pop
  • "Party Time" (1976), Spring - #84 R&B
  • "The Booty" (1976), Spring - #32 R&B
  • "Double Dutch" (1977), Spring - #22 R&B

As Fatback

  • "Master Booty" (1977), Spring - #88 R&B
  • "I Like Girls" (1977), Spring - #9 R&B/#101 pop
  • "Freak the Freak Funk (Rock)" (1977), Spring - #36 R&B
  • "You're My Candy Sweet" (#67 R&B)/"King Tim III (Personality Jock)" (1979), Spring - #26 R&B
  • "Love in Perfect Harmony" (1979), Spring - #59 R&B
  • "Gotta Get Some Hands On Some (Money)" (1979), Spring - #6 R&B
  • "Backstrokin'" (1980), Spring - #3 R&B
  • "Let's Do It Again" (1980), Spring - #55 R&B
  • "Angel" (1981), Spring - #67 R&B
  • "Take It Anyway You Want It" (1981), Spring - #19 R&B
  • "Kool Whip" (1981), Spring - #64 R&B
  • "Rockin' to the Beat" (1981), Spring - #50 R&B
  • "She's My Shining Star" (1982), Spring - #76 R&B
  • "The Girl is Fine (So Fine)" (1983), Spring - #28 R&B
  • "Is This the Future?" (1983), Spring - #43 R&B
  • "I Found Lovin" (1984) - global re-releases in 1986 and 1987
  • "Call Out My Name" (1985), Cotillion - #70 R&B
  • "Lover Undercover" (1985), Cotillion
  • "Girls on My Mind" (1985), Cotillion - #79 R&B
  • "The Legendary Fatback Band-Second Generation" (2005)

Fatback/Evelyn Thomas

  • "Spread Love" (1985), Spring - #88 R&B


  • Marymont, Mark (1996). Fatback Band - Let's Do It Again / The Perception Years [CD liner notes]. Collectables Records.
  • Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Backbeat Books, pp 245-247. ISBN 0879306297

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fatback Band" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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