The Complete Disco Guide to...

Sister Sledge

Kim, Debbie, Joni, and Kathy Sledge

Sister Sledge was one of the most popular disco/R&B groups during 1979. They formed the group in Philadelphia in 1972 while teenagers and recorded a number of moderately-successful songs during the 1970s, including the 1975 proto-disco song "Love Don't You Go Through No Changes On Me" (#92 Pop U.S.) and the 1977 R&B song "Blockbuster Boy" (#61 R&B U.S.). But it was when they got produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards that their careers really soared. They are best remembered for their disco anthems "We Are Family" and "He's the Greatest Dancer". They continued recording into the 1980s and 1990s. Their CD "African Eyes" was released in February 1998. Their next release was the "Style" album of July 2003.

DISCOGRAPHY

Classic Songs:
1975: Love Don't Go Through No Changes On Me
1977: Blockbuster Boy
1978: He's the Greatest Dancer, We are Family
1979: Lost in Music, Thinking of You, Got to Love Somebody
1980: Pretty Baby, Reach Your Peak
1981: All-American Girls
1982: My Guy
1983: BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby)
1985: Frankie

Albums:


We Are FamilyWe Are Family (1979)
TRACKS:   He's the Greatest Dancer      Lost in Music      Somebody Loves Me      Thinking of You      We are Family      Easier to Love      You're a Friend to Me      One More Time
The "We Are Family" album, released by Cotillon (Atlantic Records), was a major success for Sister Sledge. The tracks have such high quality that it's easy to see why. In addition to the four disco tracks ("He's the Greatest Dancer", "Lost in Music", "We are Family", and "One More Time"), there's an upbeat R&B love song ("Thinking of You"), a pro-peace message song ("Easier to Love"), and two pleasant slow tracks. Joining the Sledge sisters on vocals are Alfa Anderson, Diva Gray, David Lasley, Luther Vandross, and Norma Jean Wright. Strings are contributed by Marianne Carroll, Cheryl Hong, and Karen Milne. Other musicians include Bernard Edwards (bass), Jon Faddis (trumpet), Jeanie Fineberg (saxophone), Raymond Jones (electric piano and keyboards), Nile Rodgers (guitar), Tony Thompson (drums), Barry Rogers (trombone), Robert Sabino (clavinet, keyboards, and piano), Andy Schwartz (piano), Ellen Seeling (trumpet), Alex Foster (wind, flute, and saxophone), and Sammy Figueroa (percussion). Their performances are stellar and make this a solid, timeless album.

The song "We Are Family" became the theme song for the world-champion Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team in 1979, thanks to player Willie Stargell. "We Are Family" reached #1 R&B and #2 Pop in the United States, while "He's the Greatest Dancer" achieved #1 R&B and #9 Pop in the U.S. In Britain, "He's the Greatest Dancer" reached #6 Pop and "We Are Family" reached #8 Pop. "Thinking of You" was released as a single in the U.K. but not in the U.S. "Lost in Music" was popular again in 1984. In September 2001, 195 singers and musicians recorded a new version of "We Are Family" under the direction of Nile Rodgers, and it was released shortly thereafter to benefit charities. Gwyneth Paltrow danced in an airplane to a comedic variation on "We Are Family" ("We Are Royalty", with different lyrics) in the 2003 film "A View from the Top". Versions of "We Are Family" were used on numerous American television commercials during the early 2000s.

The song "We Are Family" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

"On Sister Sledge's We Are Family, Edwards and Rodgers lightly embellish the same [Chic] sound with funky trimmings. Unlike Chic, who recalls the Fifth Dimension vocally, the four Sledge sisters have real soul power, which adds welcome emotional depth to such posed ennui as 'Lost in Music.' The title track, beautifully sung by Kathy Sledge, is a near-perfect fusion of gospel fire and disco cool..."
         - Stephen Holden, Rolling Stone


Love Somebody Today (1980)
TRACKS:   Got to Love Somebody      You Fooled Around      I'm a Good Girl      Easy Street      Reach Your Peak      Pretty Baby      How to Love      Let's Go on Vacation
The sisters' next album was also released by Cotillon (Atlantic Records). The disco song on the album is "Got to Love Somebody". The single "Got to Love Somebody" became a #6 R&B hit and a #64 Pop hit in the U.S. in 1980. In the U.K., "Got to Love Somebody" was released on January 19, 1980 and debuted at #34 Pop. "Got to Love Somebody" was released in the U.S. at the end of 1979. "Reach Your Peak" got to #21 on the American R&B chart. "You Fooled Around" is a beautiful violin-backed mid-tempo song verging on disco. "Pretty Baby" is a good R&B number. Bernard Edwards played bass, Nile Rodgers played guitar, Tony Thompson played the drums, and Raymond Jones and Andy Schwartz played keyboards. The horn section consisted of Domenico ("Meco") Monardo, Bob Milliken, and Eddie Daniels. The violinists were Valerie Heywood, Cheryl Hong, and Karen Milne. The Sledge sisters were joined by the singers Alfa Anderson, Michelle Cobbs, Luci Martin, and Fonzi Thornton.
All-American Girls (1981)
TRACKS:   All-American Girls      He's Just a Runaway      If You Really Want Me      Next Time You'll Know      Happy Feeling      Ooh, You Caught My Heart      Make a Move      Don't You Let Me Lose It      Music Makes Me Feel Good      I Don't Want to Say Goodbye
Sister Sledge's 1981 album was produced by Narada Michael Walden and released by Cotillon (Atlantic Records). The disco single "All-American Girls", released in January 1981, did reasonably well on American charts, reaching #6 Disco, #3 R&B, and #79 Pop in early 1981. Meanwhile, in Britain "All-American Girls" reached #41 Pop. "All-American Girls" incorporates both violins and keyboards. The ballad "Next Time You'll Know" reached #28 R&B in the U.S. "If You Really Want Me" is a nice up-tempo song with strings and a funky flavor and "Music Makes Me Feel Good" is another funk-dance number.

Sister Sledge Compilations:

  • The Best of Sister Sledge (1973-1985)
  • The Very Best of Sister Sledge (1973-1993)
  • Free Soul: Classics of Sister Sledge
  • Sister Sledge: The Essentials
  • Sister Sledge: The Definitive Groove Collection
  • Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization: Boxset Volume 1: Savoir Faire - includes Sister Sledge's "He's the Greatest Dancer", "We Are Family", "Lost in Music", "Thinking of You", "Got to Love Somebody", and "Reach Your Peak". Previews of all tracks, and you can order it here from Juno Records in the UK.

    Covers of Sister Sledge Songs:

  • "Somos Familia (We Are Family)" by Charanga 76 (1979) - Spanish version
  • "Good Times Medley (Funkercise)" a.k.a. "Funkercise (The Chic Medley)" by Enigma (1981) includes partial covers of the following Sister Sledge songs: "Lost in Music" (34 seconds), "He's the Greatest Dancer" (79 seconds), and "We Are Family" (65 seconds)
  • "Groovin' on the Beat" medley by Stars on 45 includes a partial cover of "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "Stars on Soul" medley by Stars on 45 includes a partial cover of "Lost in Music"
  • "Dance Trance Medley" by Boys Town Gang (1984) includes a partial cover of "We Are Family" at the end
  • "Easy Street" by Isabelle Antena (1986)
  • "Frankie" by James Last (1988)
  • "Thinking of You" by Maureen Walsh (1990)
  • "Lost in Music" by The Fall (1993)
  • "We Are Family" by Ebony Vibe Everlasting (1995) - gospel-pop version
  • "I'm Thinkin' of U" by 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor (1997) - house version of "Thinking of You"
  • "We Are Family" by the Weather Girls (1998) - electro version
  • "We Are Family (Live)" by the Spice Girls (1998)
  • "Family Values (Live)" medley by Seattle Men's Chorus (1999) includes as its third song a cover of "We Are Family" recorded live in concert on June 1997
  • "Thinking of You" by Swedish Soul and Funk Community Blacknuss Allstars featuring Nai-Jee-Ria (2000)
  • "Thinking of You" by Curtis Lynch JNR featuring Kele Le Roc and Red Hat (2000)
  • "We Are Family (Angel's Style)" by Nobody's Angel (2000) - combination of dance-pop and rap
  • "We Are Family" by Nile Rodgers and Friends (2001)
  • "We Are Family" by Young American All Stars (2001)
  • "We Are Family (Live)" by Banda Rod Hanna (2002) - electro-disco version
  • "We Are Family" by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers (2002) - dance-pop version
  • "Lost in Music" by Wackside featuring Sister Sledge (2002) - house remix
  • "Lost in Music" by Sheila Ferguson (2003)
  • "We Are Family" by Jump5 (2003) - pop version
  • "Thinking of You/Studio 150" by Paul Weller (2004)
  • "It's You" by Sin Plomo featuring Janet Taylor (2004) - disco-house version of "Thinking of You" with partially different lyrics
  • "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Dannii Minogue (2006) - disco-house version
  • "We Are Family" by We Are Family Club (WAFC) (2007)
  • "We Are Family" by Home Made Kazoku (2007)
  • "We Are Family" by Groovestylerz (2007)

    Sister Sledge-Influenced Songs:

  • "Disco Lover" by Frieda (1987) - electro-disco song that quotes the line from "He's the Greatest Dancer" about "He wears the finest clothes... Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci"
  • "The House That Cee Built/It's A Big Daddy Thing" by Big Daddy Kane featuring Greg Nice and Smooth B. (1989) - samples "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith (1997) - rap song that samples "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "Greatest Dancer" by Nick Holder (1997) - house song that samples "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "I Feel For You vs. Lost in Music" by Bob Sinclair - house song that samples "Lost in Music"
  • "Busta Rhymes vs. Sister Sledge" - house song that samples "Lost in Music"
  • "We Are" by Sebastien Leger - house song that samples "All-American Girls"
  • "Disco Dancin'/The House of Disco" by DJ Tonka (1998) - samples "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "I Want You (For Myself)" by Kings of Tomorrow (1998) - house song that reworks "Thinking of You"
  • "You Get What Yo Give" by New Radicals (1999) - "updates" "Lost in Music"
  • "Good Things" by Spacedust (1999) - dance song that samples "Thinking of You"
  • "Makes Me Love You" by Eclipse (1999) - dance song that samples "Thinking of You"
  • "Boogie Shell" by Le Knight Club (1999) - disco-house song that samples "You Fooled Around"
  • "I Love to Love (Pasta Boys Main Mix)" by Jody Watley featuring Roy Ayers (2000) - disco-house song that samples "Got to Love Somebody"
  • "Down, Down, Down" by Gamba Freaks (2000) - dance track that samples "One More Time"
  • "I Wonder Why (He's the Greatest DJ)" by Tony Touch featuring Keisha and Pam of Total (2000) - based on "He's the Greatest Dancer" but some of the lyrics are different
  • "Sex Bomb" by Mousse T with Tom Jones (2000) - disco-house song that samples "All-American Girls"
  • "Ghost Train" by Altered Beast (2000) - techno song that samples "Pretty Baby"
  • "My Feeling" by Junior Jack (2000) - house song that samples "One More Time"
  • "My Love" by Kluster (2001) - dance song that samples "You Fooled Around"
  • "Never Knew Love (2002 Mix)" by Stella Browne (2002) - disco-house song that samples the piano from "We Are Family"
  • "You Touch Me Baby" by Demon Ray (2002) - dance song that samples "Got to Love Somebody"
  • "I Don't Know" by Soul Providers (2004) - house song that samples "Pretty Baby"
  • "In Love Again" by Magic Touch - house song that samples "Thinking of You"
  • "End of Time" by the Bitch Hotel (2004) - house song whose electronica background and rhythm guitar are influenced by "You Fooled Around"
  • "Sunshine On My Mind" by Major Boys (2004) - house song that samples "Got to Love Somebody Today"
  • "Freak It" by Giampiero Ponte featuring Lisa Shine (2005) - house song that samples "Got to Love Somebody"
    HOW TO ORDER YOUR FAVORITE SISTER SLEDGE SONGS

    CD TITLEMerchant 1Merchant 2Merchant 3Merchant 4
    The Best of Sister Sledge (1973-1975) Amazon.com Amazon.ca
    We Are Family (CD) Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
    We Are Family (2001 Remake) Amazon.com
    Love Somebody Today (CD) Amazon.com iTunes
    All-American Girls (CD) Amazon.com

    Related links:
    Other Sister Sledge sites

  • Sister Sledge - Official Website
  • Sister Sledge
  • Entertainment-net: Sister Sledge
  • Armin Rahn International Music Agency: Sister Sledge - in German
  • Warr.org's Reviews of Chic Productions - includes Sister Sledge's disco albums
  • S Page's Reviews of Works Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards - includes Sister Sledge's disco albums
  • Brian J. Dillard's Review of "Love Somebody Today"
  • MCM.net: Sister Sledge
  • Disco-Funk: Sister Sledge

    Related artists and bands

  • Chic
  • Norma Jean Wright
  • Sumthing Distribution: Nile Rodgers Musical Biography
  • Nile Rodgers and Chic's Musical Timelines
  • Narada Michael Walden

    Index

  • Disco Savvy Homepage