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"Rock the Boat" is a disco song by the group Hues Corporation in 1974. "Rock the Boat" was written by Waldo Holmes, who also wrote the Blacula songs.

"Rock the Boat" was first featured on the Hues Corporation's 1973 album, Freedom For The Stallion (an edited version later appeared on certain editions of the band's follow-up album, 1974'sRockin' Soul).[1] and was released as the second single from the album in early 1974 to follow-up Stallion's title song, which had peaked at #63 on the Hot 100. Initially, "Rock the Boat" appeared as though it would flop, as months went by without any radio airplay or sales activity. Not until the song became a disco/club favorite in New York did Top 40 radio finally pick up on the song, leading the record to finally enter the Hot 100 and zip up the chart to #1 in July 1974. The record also reached the top 10 in the United Kingdom (number 6). It is a heavy airplay favorite on oldie and adult-contemporary stations today.

Composition[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The song features a lead vocal by Fleming Williams, who left the Hues Corporation shortly after the song was recorded. According to The Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, the lone female member of the group, H. Ann Kelly, had originally been pegged to sing lead, but this idea was discarded out of fear that groups with female lead singers were less commercially viable. The song also features an important post-Motown performance of James Jamerson.

Hues Corporation member St. Clair Lee claims "It was a song that you could do anything on. You could cuddle or you could get crazy if you wanted to. It was a love song without being a love song. But, it was a Disco hit and it happened because of the discos."[2]

The 'Rock the Boat' dance also a favourite at weddings and birthday parties and involves many people sitting down in a row and 'rowing' a boat to the tune of the song.

Samples and covers[edit source | editbeta]Edit

"Rock the Boat" was covered in 1982 by the Dutch/American singer Forrest Thomas. His version also made the UK top five (number 4) and the top 10 of the American Dance/Disco chart. Jacob Miller and the Inner Circle cut a reggaeversion of the song in 1974.

There is a reference to the song's distinctive bridge in Jurassic 5 track "Concrete Schoolyard".

Richard Finch of KC and the Sunshine Band has said that "Rock The Boat" played a partial role in inspiring the hit "Rock Your Baby".[3] The song was also featured in the 1996 film The Cable Guy, the 1999 film Man on the Moon, and a commercial for M&M's.

Charts[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1974) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Hot Soul Singles [4]
Hot Dance/Disco 5

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