G.O.A.T.:YOUNG HEARTS RUN FREE by Candi Staton (1976)

THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time. 

Google this song, and you’ll see it classified as “disco.”  I say thee, “Nay.”  This is not disco.  Not that I have anything against disco as a genre—in fact, I’d say “Forget Me Nots” and “Night Fever” are contenders for future Greatest of All Tunes columns.  But, again, Candi Staton’s song is NOT disco.

Staton, best known as a gospel singer and the girl who made Grammy-nominated remakes of “Stand By Your Man” and the Mac Davis/Elvis Presley treacle “In the Ghetto” (Candi sold it and made it work, trust me), got a #1 hit with the anthemic, inspirational “Young Hearts Run Free.”  The song led a string of hits including “Nights on Broadway” (a Bee Gees cover)—so it’s understandably mixed in as dance music.  And it does have a bit of a “soar” to it, so it might inspire visions of a cascade of colorfull mirrorball reflections, but it’s not about dancing, it’s much more than a hook, and it doesn’t have a heart-racing backbeat.  The song was written by David Crawford, who also produced hits for Wilson Pickett, the J. Geils Band, and BB King.  Does that sound like a disco pedigree to you?

Further listening: Candi has a ton of hits, so if that’s what you’re looking for check out “In the Ghetto,” “I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than a Young Man’s Fool)” (her first hit), and “You Got the Love” (by The Source featuring Candi Staton).  But I have to say, her recent “comeback” album Life Happens was damn good and I really like her more religious stuff–like the His Hands album.
Covers: Make sure you check out Swell Season’s version–it’s better than the original! And watch the Stripped Bears video because…Wow.

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