Song Of The Week: “Fantastic Voyage” by Lakeside

After a long story last week, we’ve got a short one for the follow-up. In fact, there’s not much of a story at all. I just wanted to get some funk up in your biscuits this morning.

Lakeside formed in Ohio in the early 70’s, one of a growing number of large, multi-piece R&B groups beginning to spread throughout the land — bands like Kool & The Gang, Parliament, and Earth, Wind & Fire. After years of hard work, touring, and recording, Lakeside began to make inroads on the R&B charts, but couldn’t cross over onto the pop charts (despite the fact that the group liked to draw attention by dressing as 1920’s gangsters, or cowboys, or Robin Hood’s merry men).

But everything changed in 1980 with the release of their fourth album, Fantastic Voyage (for which they dressed as pirates).

Rap had started to find its way out of New York City in the late 70’s, particularly with “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang becoming a major hit. Lakeside was one of the first bands to incorporate this new style into a non-rap song (albeit only in the intro for the radio version), creating a trend which lasts even to this day, rap verses with a sweetly sung chorus for the hook.

Although it didn’t quite reach the Top 40, when released as a single in late 1980, “Fantastic Voyage” became Lakeside’s biggest and bestselling song. Coolio sampled the track in 1994 and scored a massive hit with the same title.

So come along and ride … just slide, glide, slippity-slide …. with Lakeside.

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