Classics: Rose Royce – Car Wash (MCA)
Norman Whitfield is to be remembered as one of the key figures in the history of Soul Music, then Disco. A songwriter and a producer, but also a pianist/keyboardist, he is one of the creators of the Motown Sound. Meanwhile havin’ contributed to countless classics including ‘Ain’t To Proud To Beg’, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and ‘Cloud Nine’. But also ‘War’, ‘Ball Of Confusion’ and ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’.
The aptly titled ‘Masterpiece’ album by the likes of The Temptations standing as of his signature albums. Displaying experimental Soul elements in a unique futuristic way for the period (1973).
He left Motown 2 years after to create his own label – Whitfield Records – where he would bring Undisputed Truth, producing the unforgettable ‘You + Me = Love’ for them. His biggest success ever remaining the main theme from the Joel Schumacher seminal written film ‘Car Wash’. The latter marking the debut of Rose Royce…
‘Car Wash’ is a pure slice of infectious psychedelic funkiness. Meanwhile the film is an episodic comedy about a day in the lives of the employees and the owner, Mr. B (Sully Boyar), of a Los Angeles, CA car wash. Hitting the screens back in 1976, it gave an interesting display of different facets in a community of multi-racial employees. From Abdullah, formerly Duane (Bill Duke), a Black Muslim revolutionary. To Lindy (Antonio Fargas) whom he sharply criticizes the cross-dressing. To which Lindy coolly replies, “I’m more man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get”.
The whole featuring extra appearances by the likes of Richard Pryor, Lorraine Gary and ThePointer Sisters to name but a few.
Formed in Los Angeles, CA in the early 70’s, Rose Royce (Magic Wand at the time) started as backing musicians with Edwin Starr who introduced them to producer Norman Whitfield. They would soon after act as a studio band for Undisputed Truth whose bandleader introduced singer Gwen Dickey to Whitfield. And Rose Royce was born, makin’ their debut with the memorable ‘Theme From Car Wash’.
The central theme to Joel Schumacher written film of the likes would be the very first of an impressive series of hot jams for the band. Among their classics, ‘Wishing On A Star’, ‘Do Your Dance’ and ‘Love Don’t Live here Anymore’. Not to mention ‘Still In Love’ or ‘Is It Love You’re After’ among others.
The arrival of the 80’s would also mark the progressive beginning of the end for the band, although they keep on touring regularly in the UK.