Sunday, October 2, 2016

"White Horse" by Laid Back

Song#:  1806
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  85
Peak:  26
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Electro-Funk

Pop Bits:  This Danish duo of  John Guldberg and Tim Stahl developed an interest in the new electronic music scene and began experimenting with beats, synths, and sounds. They formally founded Laid Back in 1980 and the following year issued their self-titled debut. It would featured the song "Maybe I'm Crazy," which would be a big hit in Denmark. No one else paid much attention to them until they released their second album ...Keep Smiling and its single "Sunshine Reggae." That song would end up in the Top 10 of several European charts. It was then issued in the US, but it just wasn't clicking. However, some DJs flipped the single over and started playing the b-side, "White Horse." The funky tune caught on and soon it topped the US Dance chart. It would also reach #5 at R&B. There was interest in the song at Pop and it did get into the Top 30, but the song's controversial lyrics ("white horse" is slang for heroin and "bitch" is repeated in the tune) may have kept it from getting airplay on more stations. The duo's next LP was a complete miss everywhere except for the US where the song "One Life" managed to get to #10 at Dance. They would score one more significant hit in Europe in 1989 with "Bakerman," but that would be about it. The duo has continued to record and work on other projects over the years.

ReduxReview:  I'm not really sure if Prince copped from this song or not, but it certainly reminds me of "Erotic City," the b-side to "When Doves Cry," which was released later in 1984. I was always surprised that this minimalistic song did so well. With very few words (or even melody) and just a steady, funky groove, it didn't seem like hit material. I really wasn't impressed with it at at the time, but I do like it now. I'd actually consider it just slightly ahead of its time. Had it been released a year or two later, it might have been a bigger hit.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In addition to their own albums, the duo branched out into the world of film scoring. In 2001, they wrote the score for the Danish family film Flyvende farmor. The pair would end up winning the Robert Award for Best Score. The Robert Awards are Denmark's equivalent to the US's Academy Awards.  2) The video for their 1989 hit "Bakerman" was directed by Palme d'Or winner (Cannes Film Festival) Lars von Trier. It features skydivers doing routines with band instruments while also miming the song. Like von Trier's film works, the video is quite interesting.


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