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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Odd Songs #006: More, More, More


Another in an ongoing series about songs; originally they were going to be obscurities but as this one is very well known both in the UK and US, I think the series can be expanded to include...oh, just about anything really.

[WARNING:  This has turned out to be insanely long, sorry 'bout that]

This one's about Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More" (readers of the c4c forum may wish to tune out now as I did a brief "bit" about it on there), a big UK & US hit in the spring of 1976.  I wasn't going to write about it at all because I thought the story was quite well-known (hackneyed, even) but the full story contains details of which even I - as a pop nerd - was unaware, so let's do it.

Here's Andrea True performing the song on some European music show in 1976 (although it looks as though someone has smeared a heavy layer of Vaseline over the lens; certainly it takes soft-focus to a whole new level):


Andrea Marie Truden (her birth name; Andrea True was just one of her pseudonyms) was born on 26th July 1943 in Memphis, Tennessee, where she attended a Catholic girls' school prior to moving to New York City in an attempt to break into the film industry.  Although she got sporadic minor roles in mainstream films, by the end of the 1960s she had moved into porn films, initially Scandinavian-produced, but later on, she had became something of a fixture of the New York hardcore porn industry. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s she appeared in over 50 porn flicks, mainly under the name Andrea True, but also under different pseudonyms, such as Inger Kissin, Catherine Warren, Singe Low and Andrea Travis.

In 1975, she went to Jamaica to appear in an advert for a real estate company, but due to an attempted (but ultimately unsuccessful) coup against Michael Manley's government, a State of Emergency was declared and the government banned asset transfers out of Jamaica.  This prevented Andrea from taking the earnings from her commercials back to the States with her.

In what now seems a bit of a masterstroke, she called the American record producer Gregg Diamond down to Jamaica, with the plan of recording a song which Diamond would then take back to the US for release, thus bypassing the asset transfer rules in place at the time.

- - -  INTERLUDE  - - -

Gregg Diamond (born 4th May 1949, died 14th March 1999 of gastrointestinal bleeding at the sadly young age of 49) had first come to prominence working on David Bowie's "Young Americans" album the previous year (well, tangentially; his brother Godfrey Diamond contributed to the album, as did a young Luther Vandross and Andy Newmark, Sly & The Family Stone's late-era drummer).  He wrote and released a number of records under the name Gregg Diamond Bionic Boogie, including this one, "Hot Butterfly", featuring a lead vocal from Vandross:


That one wasn't a hit in the UK; his only UK hit was "Cream (Always Rises To The Top" (again with Vandross on lead vocal), which reached #61 in January 1979:


He also wrote and produced an album for George McCrae (of "Rock Your Baby" fame) called "Diamond Days", which whilst not a chart hit, did produce a club hit, "Love In Motion":


- - -  INTERLUDE ENDS  - - -

So, back to Andrea True, who as you will recall, was down in Jamaica in 1975 and had contacted Gregg Diamond to help her make a recording.  So Diamond decamped to Jamaica with a master tape of an instrumental track that he'd earlier recorded in a studio owned by the son of Les Paul (yes, the guitar guy), with himself on percussion and piano, Steve Love on guitar, Jim Gregory on bass and his brother Godfrey on drums.  He had no lyrics for the track at the time; the intention was that he and True would collaborate on these and Andrea would then record her vocal.  So, they wrote the lyrics (apparently within an hour), Andrea laid down her vocal and some overdubs were also recorded by the Mighty Sparrow horn section (who - in a happy coincidence - Gregg had bumped into in the lobby of the hotel in which he was staying).

The recording made, Gregg flew back to the States and commissioned Tom Moulton to remix the track at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studio (having previously made a deal with Buddah Records to release the track).  This remixed recording was initially only released to clubs and discos in late 1975, but proved so popular that it was given a full release by Buddah in early 1976 (under the moniker of Andrea True Connection) and became a hit in pretty much all record-buying territories:  a #4 hit on the US Hot 100 (and the 17th biggest-selling single in the US in 1976), a #5 hit in the UK (hitting its peak in May 1976 and spending 10 weeks in the top 50; it was the 66th biggest-selling UK single of the year).  It was a number one hit in Canada and performed well elsewhere:  #6 in Ireland, #9 in Germany, #11 in Italy, #19 in Australia, #23 in Spain, #25 in New Zealand (and no doubt some other places I've missed).

Before moving on to related matters, I want to concentrate on that lyric in a bit more detail:

Oooh how do you like your love
Oooh how do you like your love
So if you want to know 
How I really feel
Get the cameras rolling
Get the action going
Baby you know
My love for you is real
So take me where you want to
Boy my heart you steal
More more more 
How do you like it how do you like it
More more more 
How do you like it how do you like it
More more more
How do you like it how do you like it
Oooh how do you like your love
Oooh how do you like your love
So if you want to know
How I really feel
Get the cameras rolling
Get the action going
Baby you know
My love…

Now, if that's not written about making a pornographic film - it's not even double-entendre, it's single-entendre! - then I don't know what is.  But I don't think this was particularly remarked upon at the time, even though it must have been known that Andrea True was a porn performer.  Certainly Tom Moulton was unaware of Andrea's film career, although he said he "wondered a bit about the lyric" while remixing the track (his later comment on the track was "it wouldn't have come out so pretty if I had known what it was about").  Once I twigged just what it was about, though, I always found it really funny whenever I heard it played on the radio (it remains something of a radio staple to this day) with the DJ making no comment on its subject matter.

An album (also titled "More, More, More" followed, with further songs featuring "suggestive" lyrics written by Gregg Diamond), but it didn't chart in the UK.  However, a further single taken from this album, "N.Y., You Got Me Dancing", became a US #27 hit in 1977, but didn't chart in the UK:


Andrea - by then jaded with porn movies and wanting to concentrate on her singing career - was teamed up with Michael Zager to produce a follow-up album, "White Witch".  Again, although the album didn't chart in the UK, it did give Andrea a second hit single, "What's Your Name, What's Your Number" (co-written by Zager and Roger Cook; that Roger Cook didn't half have his finger in a lot of pies!), a UK #34 in the spring of 1978:


Incidentally, Zager's best-known and most enduring song, "Let's All Chant" - credited to The Michael Zager Band - was a UK top ten hit at much the same time, reaching #8 that same spring, seen here in a super-extended mix (if not exactly great video quality):


Andrea released a third album, "War Machine" in 1980, but it wasn't a success and later that year had surgery to remove a goitre on her vocal cords, which effectively ended her singing career.  She attempted a return to porn movies, but - cruelly, I think - at nearly 40, was deemed "too old" and gradually faded into obscurity, although she still received royalties from her music.

She (and "More, More, More") did, however, briefly return to the limelight when the Canadian band Len sampled the instrumental break from "More, More, More" to form the basis of their hit, "Steal My Sunshine", a US #9 hit in the summer of 1999 and a #8 hit in the UK in late 1999/early 2000:


Gregg Diamond received a co-writing credit on the song, but sadly died three months before its release.

Want More, More, More?  Here's some cover versions:

Bananarama teamed up with production trio Stock, Aitken & Waterman for a version in 1993 which became a #24 hit:


Rachel Stevens (of S Club 7 fame) also had a major UK hit (#3 in October 2004) with her version of the song:


Inevitably, Dannii Minogue got in on the act too:


Even more inevitably, saucy old Sam Fox had a go, combining it with a cover of Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby" and managing to make it sound even more blatantly suggestive than the original:



Here's a version by Valentina (whoever she is/was):


And finally, a version in Spanish (Mas, Mas, Mas) from Andrea herself (sorry I can't find a better version; how the uploader managed to mangle both the audio and the video so badly is beyond me:


And that's just about all I can say about "More, More, More".  I think it was probably quite enough, wasn't it?

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