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  1. #1
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    1/22/2019 we are family turns 40

    I'm a day late but on January 22, 1979 the iconic album "We Are Family" was released. This album is special for so many reasons. For one, it catapulted four beautiful and talented sisters from Philadelphia to stardom after years of searching for a hit. Also, it was the very first album that I ever purchased with my own money. I was 12 years old and I can remember catching the bus downtown with my big brother Tony and going to Bad Records. I was so excited because I had my own money and I knew what I was there to buy. When I got home and put the needle on the record it was love at first sound. The matching of The Chic Organization (Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers with Sister Sledge was definitely a match made in heaven). The perfectly crafted opening number "He's The Greatest Dancer' featured youngest sister Kathy lushly describing a night on the town and seeing the man of her dreams. Sister Joni effortlessly wrapped her vocals around "Lost in Music", a song that describes me to a T. The beautiful ballad "Somebody Love Me", another Kathy lead, proved that these ladies were far more than disco divas. My favorite track "Thinking of You" has an infectious Philly groove and should have been a U.S. single. Side two opens with an 8 minute plus version of "We Are Family" that baby sister Kathy literally takes to church. Sister Joni returns on "Easier To Love" another ballad, whose timeless message is more relevant now than ever. Eldest member Debbie gives a stellar performance on the haunting "You're A Friend To Me". Sister Kim, who I often see as the underdog of the group takes it home with the often overlooked but beautifully danceable "One More Time". What a fitting closing number for the album because after every listen I had to play it again "One More Time". I forgot to mention that I've been fortunate enough to befriend all of the ladies who are just as beautiful inside as they are outside. Thank you ladies for 40 years of being lost in your music. Attachment 14966Attachment 14967

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Great post Glen and fantastic photos. I'm not a big fan of the group, but I have a couple of their pre WAF albums. The song "We Are Family" was one that I grew up loving and then hating because it was overplayed. Now I love it again.

  4. #4
    One of my favorite albums ever, in any genre. One of the very few I can play all the way through, and then again "one more time". By the way, I love that last song. It is a great closer. Also, thanks, I didn't know all the sisters sang leads. I'd naively assumed it was Kathy. (Maybe because she's gotten all the accolades I've seen written.) She's definitely one of my favorite vocalists but now I can enjoy the album even more. We are Family, indeed!

  5. #5
    Great pics of the sisters. Can't believe it's been 40 years.

  6. #6
    40 years...…………..can't be!! What a great album. Brings back lots of memories of
    my 'youth' and all those crazy, carefree days (and nights! LOL!).

  7. #7
    I clearly remember the first time I heard it. I was at a dorm party in college and we were doing "the Rock", a dance to it. I liked it, but liked "The Greatest Dancer" better.

  8. #8
    What an album indeed!!!! Chic and Sister Sledge's best!!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Great post Glen and fantastic photos. I'm not a big fan of the group, but I have a couple of their pre WAF albums. The song "We Are Family" was one that I grew up loving and then hating because it was overplayed. Now I love it again.
    Do you have their We Are Family album Ran? And why are you not a fan? If you don't, get it, and you will be.

    I'm actually not familiar with much of the group's stuff outside of the 4 hits from this LP and a few other tracks. I have all their albums which I need to give a proper listen!!!!

  10. #10
    Thanks for sharing, Glen. I am thrilled to know that so many people feel bonded to the music of Sister Sledge (and Chic) like me. Mine was "Love Somebody Today" but I love everything they did. Great memories.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Do you have their We Are Family album Ran? And why are you not a fan? If you don't, get it, and you will be.

    I'm actually not familiar with much of the group's stuff outside of the 4 hits from this LP and a few other tracks. I have all their albums which I need to give a proper listen!!!!
    No I don't have the album Tom. For years I was only familiar with "We Are Family" and "Greatest Dancer". I never liked "Greatest Dancer" until I heard it in the movie Roll Bounce I think, and then I started to dig it a little. But I've never been a big fan of the Chic sound and that's what I've always associated Sister Sledge with. For years I didn't even care for Ross' "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out", although my opinions of the two songs (and Diana's Chic album in general) have moved into a more positive territory in recent years. For me Chic's "Good Times" and "A Warm Summer Night" (which my family had on a 45) were about as good as it got with me and Chic and anything/anyone they produced. Some years ago I ended up with two Sister Sledge albums in my collection, Circle of Love and Together. Neither album knocked me out, although I play "Moondancer" from Together quite a bit, and "Cream of the Crop" which was a bonus track on COL. But reading all these positive comments about the WAF album makes me want to check it out. Maybe I'll love it too.

  12. #12
    Ah OK, I see Ran. Yea the We Are Family album is definitely a good place to start. I also got sick of "We Are Family", "Greatest Dancer" and "Lost In Music", but have come to appreciate them again. (I love it when that happens )

    I'd say I have always liked Chic's work ("Everybody Dance", "I'm Coming Out", "We Are Family" etc) but I when I bought their Classic Albums boxset I wasn't exactly won over by their albums. Iíve come to appreciate the Chic sound more since then.

    As for Sister Sledge, their Circle Of Love album is pretty good from what I remember. My favourites from that are "Love Don't You Go Through No Changes" and "Mama Never Told Me". Couldn't tell you any other tracks though (yet). Together I have but don't think I have ever properly listened to. (also yet)
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 01-25-2019 at 09:48 PM.

  13. #13


    This is pretty fantastic in my opinion RanRanny!!!!!
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 01-25-2019 at 09:47 PM.

  14. #14
    Hey Glen (or any other SS fan), can you confirm which sisters take the lead vocal on "Love Somebody Today"? I know it's Kathy on "Got To Love..." , "How To Love" and "You Fooled Around." I've always believed it was Joni on "I'm A Good Girl" and "Reach Your Peak" but I am not 100% sure. I am unsure about "Easy Street", "Pretty Baby" and "Let's Go On Vacation."

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Great post Glen and fantastic photos. I'm not a big fan of the group, but I have a couple of their pre WAF albums. The song "We Are Family" was one that I grew up loving and then hating because it was overplayed. Now I love it again.
    I can totally relate. I was definitely tired of hearing that song but one day, a few years ago while driving and listening to internet radio, the 8 minute version came on and man, I felt good all over afterwards.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    One of my favorite albums ever, in any genre. One of the very few I can play all the way through, and then again "one more time". By the way, I love that last song. It is a great closer. Also, thanks, I didn't know all the sisters sang leads. I'd naively assumed it was Kathy. (Maybe because she's gotten all the accolades I've seen written.) She's definitely one of my favorite vocalists but now I can enjoy the album even more. We are Family, indeed!
    It's definitely one of those drop the needle and let it play albums. I love the fact that the sisters are all very capable lead vocalists but unfortunately I felt that they didn't have a lot of time to shine because the focus was on Kathy.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Ah OK, I see Ran. Yea the We Are Family album is definitely a good place to start. I also got sick of "We Are Family", "Greatest Dancer" and "Lost In Music", but have come to appreciate them again. (I love it when that happens )

    I'd say I have always liked Chic's work ("Everybody Dance", "I'm Coming Out", "We Are Family" etc) but I when I bought their Classic Albums boxset I wasn't exactly won over by their albums. I’ve come to appreciate the Chic sound more since then.

    As for Sister Sledge, their Circle Of Love album is pretty good from what I remember. My favourites from that are "Love Don't You Go Through No Changes" and "Mama Never Told Me". Couldn't tell you any other tracks though (yet). Together I have but don't think I have ever properly listened to. (also yet)
    That was a very solid album. My favorite track on there was a ballad "Give In To Love", sung by Debbie which was also recorded by Ronnie Dyson.

  18. #18
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    One of my favorites from the album. I'm surprised that the steppers community hasn't found this one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    Hey Glen (or any other SS fan), can you confirm which sisters take the lead vocal on "Love Somebody Today"? I know it's Kathy on "Got To Love..." , "How To Love" and "You Fooled Around." I've always believed it was Joni on "I'm A Good Girl" and "Reach Your Peak" but I am not 100% sure. I am unsure about "Easy Street", "Pretty Baby" and "Let's Go On Vacation."

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    You're right with the Kathy and Joni leads. Kim leads "Easy Street" and Debbie leads "Let's Go On Vacation". I've always been stuck on "Pretty Baby". Could never tell if there was more than one sister leading that one

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    No I don't have the album Tom. For years I was only familiar with "We Are Family" and "Greatest Dancer". I never liked "Greatest Dancer" until I heard it in the movie Roll Bounce I think, and then I started to dig it a little. But I've never been a big fan of the Chic sound and that's what I've always associated Sister Sledge with. For years I didn't even care for Ross' "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out", although my opinions of the two songs (and Diana's Chic album in general) have moved into a more positive territory in recent years. For me Chic's "Good Times" and "A Warm Summer Night" (which my family had on a 45) were about as good as it got with me and Chic and anything/anyone they produced. Some years ago I ended up with two Sister Sledge albums in my collection, Circle of Love and Together. Neither album knocked me out, although I play "Moondancer" from Together quite a bit, and "Cream of the Crop" which was a bonus track on COL. But reading all these positive comments about the WAF album makes me want to check it out. Maybe I'll love it too.
    Hopefully you'll check it out. As much as I love the group "Cream of The Crop" is one song that I truly hate by them.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    Thanks for sharing, Glen. I am thrilled to know that so many people feel bonded to the music of Sister Sledge (and Chic) like me. Mine was "Love Somebody Today" but I love everything they did. Great memories.
    I have to agree that "Love Somebody Today" is my go to album for them. I loved the harmonies and vocal arrangements especially on this one. I actually do enjoy this one more than "Family".

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post


    This is pretty fantastic in my opinion RanRanny!!!!!
    good choice Tom Tom . A song that snuck by me in its original release, but when I learned of it many years later , I loved it and its Gloria Gaynor Gallop.

  23. #23
    "we are family: I've got all my sisters with me...."


    The comradery that existed in the gay clubs at the time was reinforced each time the song's unifying message played overhead :





    The distinctive music of WAF was a sort of "sweet funk" sound , lead by piano and prominent strings (both fake and real), but with the notable absence of any horns.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-26-2019 at 04:38 AM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    That was a very solid album. My favorite track on there was a ballad "Give In To Love", sung by Debbie which was also recorded by Ronnie Dyson.
    Thanks glen, I'll check that one out.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    One of my favorites from the album. I'm surprised that the steppers community hasn't found this one.
    Totally agree glen, such a fantastic song. It was a pretty bit hit in the UK when it was reissued in the early 80s (1982) believe.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Totally agree glen, such a fantastic song. It was a pretty bit hit in the UK when it was reissued in the early 80s (1982) believe.
    It was actually 1984, and the group had a smash with "Frankie" shortly after

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    I have to agree that "Love Somebody Today" is my go to album for them. I loved the harmonies and vocal arrangements especially on this one. I actually do enjoy this one more than "Family".
    I love "Got To Love Somebody" but have never really given the Love Somebody Today a proper listen for some reason.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    "we are family: I've got all my sisters with me...."


    The comradery that existed in the gay clubs at the time was reinforced each time the song's unifying message played overhead :





    The distinctive music of WAF was a sort of "sweet funk" sound , lead by piano and prominent strings (both fake and real), but with the notable absence of any horns.
    You know Boogie the lack of horns is always one thing I think the Chic sound was missing. It's odd because a few Chic productions like "Got To Love Somebody" and "I'm Coming Out" have horns but most of their stuff doesn't.

    Then again "We Are Family" is perfect anyway

    "sweet funk" is a great description. It's classy and sophisticated but still funky and danceable.

    Never thought of it as a gay anthem, but that's cool. Can I ask are you gay yourself?

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    You're right with the Kathy and Joni leads. Kim leads "Easy Street" and Debbie leads "Let's Go On Vacation". I've always been stuck on "Pretty Baby". Could never tell if there was more than one sister leading that one
    Thank you!

  30. #30
    'He's The Greatest Dancer' was one of those records that just cut through AM radio like a lightening bolt. As then did the rest of the lp. A true classic, perfect all around.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    You know Boogie the lack of horns is always one thing I think the Chic sound was missing. It's odd because a few Chic productions like "Got To Love Somebody" and "I'm Coming Out" have horns but most of their stuff doesn't.

    Then again "We Are Family" is perfect anyway

    "sweet funk" is a great description. It's classy and sophisticated but still funky and danceable.

    Never thought of it as a gay anthem, but that's cool. Can I ask are you gay yourself?
    I know the question was not asked of me, but ... what ever. I am indeed gay myself as well as with others My recollection is that WAF became a gay anthem several years later, perhaps during the AIDS pandemic, but at the beginning was just a great dance song. Being 40 years ago, though, I really wasn't born yet so I'm not sure.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Ah OK, I see Ran. Yea the We Are Family album is definitely a good place to start. I also got sick of "We Are Family", "Greatest Dancer" and "Lost In Music", but have come to appreciate them again. (I love it when that happens )

    I'd say I have always liked Chic's work ("Everybody Dance", "I'm Coming Out", "We Are Family" etc) but I when I bought their Classic Albums boxset I wasn't exactly won over by their albums. I’ve come to appreciate the Chic sound more since then.

    As for Sister Sledge, their Circle Of Love album is pretty good from what I remember. My favourites from that are "Love Don't You Go Through No Changes" and "Mama Never Told Me". Couldn't tell you any other tracks though (yet). Together I have but don't think I have ever properly listened to. (also yet)
    I also like the "circle of love" album. Bought it on vinyl before the girls hit the big time. One of my favorite Sister Sledge albums is "All American Girls" produced by Narada Michael Walden. Some of their albums are patchy to say the least, but the vocals are always of a high standard, especially when Kathy takes the lead. I have loved this group every since "mama never told me" became a surprise hit in the UK. Happy memories. Thanks for sharing.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    'He's The Greatest Dancer' was one of those records that just cut through AM radio like a lightening bolt. As then did the rest of the lp. A true classic, perfect all around.
    I agree PNH!

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I know the question was not asked of me, but ... what ever. I am indeed gay myself as well as with others My recollection is that WAF became a gay anthem several years later, perhaps during the AIDS pandemic, but at the beginning was just a great dance song. Being 40 years ago, though, I really wasn't born yet so I'm not sure.
    LOL, that question wasn't for you PNH but thanks for answering!

    Yeah, that would make sense. And a great dance song it is too.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    One of my favorite albums ever, in any genre. One of the very few I can play all the way through, and then again "one more time". By the way, I love that last song. It is a great closer. Also, thanks, I didn't know all the sisters sang leads. I'd naively assumed it was Kathy. (Maybe because she's gotten all the accolades I've seen written.) She's definitely one of my favorite vocalists but now I can enjoy the album even more. We are Family, indeed!
    lucky2012, here's a great example of the sisters displaying their solo chops

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    You know Boogie the lack of horns is always one thing I think the Chic sound was missing. It's odd because a few Chic productions like "Got To Love Somebody" and "I'm Coming Out" have horns but most of their stuff doesn't.
    .
    And of course I'M COMING OUT features a very rare trombone solo rarely , next to never, heard in pop songs , as seen here @ 2:35

    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-29-2019 at 04:55 AM.

  37. #37
    ... which was performed on the single by Meco Monardo, a main force behind Gloria Gaynor's NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE , as well as this #1 song under his own name:

    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-29-2019 at 05:35 AM.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post

    "sweet funk" is a great description. It's classy and sophisticated but still funky and danceable.
    and a sound that caught on readily , like here from the italo disco group Change:



    flowers bloom in morning dew
    and the beauty seems to say
    it's a pleasure when you treasure
    all that's new and true and gay
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-29-2019 at 05:08 AM.

  39. #39
    ....oh and gay , Tom Tom you asked if I was, yes under optimal conditions. Are you?
    And unlike PNH I was around when WE ARE FAMILY was amongst the hottest songs being heard in the gay clubs and the plausible nod our way in the lyrics was not lost on us at the time.

    here's some "CHIC" with horns:

    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-29-2019 at 05:41 AM.

  40. #40
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    Here's a nice interview with Kathy Sledge discussing WE ARE FAMILY turning 40 https://www.soultracks.com/interview...-we-are-family

  41. #41
    Funny enough, Thinking Of You was originally released as the b side to Lost In Music, before becoming a UK hit in its own right in 1984 peaking at No. 11

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    lucky2012, here's a great example of the sisters displaying their solo chops
    Beautiful! A belated thanks. One of my favorite songs, sung beautifully by all four sisters and with the pure harmony supposedly only real sisters can possess.
    Thanks for the above interview, too. It has a nice positive end.
    Last edited by lucky2012; 01-30-2019 at 01:18 PM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    and a sound that caught on readily , like here from the italo disco group Change:



    flowers bloom in morning dew
    and the beauty seems to say
    it's a pleasure when you treasure
    all that's new and true and gay
    Yes, Change definitely had a Chic influence goin on!!!

  44. #44
    Another one with that Chic sound, from British group Delegation.



    Love it!!!

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    ....oh and gay , Tom Tom you asked if I was, yes under optimal conditions. Are you?
    And unlike PNH I was around when WE ARE FAMILY was amongst the hottest songs being heard in the gay clubs and the plausible nod our way in the lyrics was not lost on us at the time.

    here's some "CHIC" with horns:

    Well Boogie I'm not gay myself, but I do enjoy a gay anthem or two "We Are Family" definitely fits in there now you mention it.

    And I like that one by the BB&Q Band too!

  46. #46
    Kathy's leads on this lp (as are all the ladies) superb.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Well Boogie I'm not gay myself, but I do enjoy a gay anthem or two "We Are Family" definitely fits in there now you mention it.
    Haha ! A gay anthem or two here and abouts never hurt nobody. lol!

    Got any other "CHIC" like songs ? Delegation's was a good one.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-30-2019 at 05:13 PM.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Well Boogie I'm not gay myself, but I do enjoy a gay anthem or two "We Are Family" definitely fits in there now you mention it.

    And I like that one by the BB&Q Band too!
    Wow, haven't heard this song in ages...thanx for posting. Very Chicish

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Haha ! A gay anthem or two here and abouts never hurt nobody. lol!

    Got any other "CHIC" like songs ? Delegation's was a good one.
    Ooh, can't think of any off the top of my head, but if I do I will get back to you

  50. #50
    I'm back Boogie, only took me a week! "Me, My Woman And My Music" from the Chairmen Of The Board!!


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