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George McCrae. Disco pioneer
08.07.16 - 12:43 -
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"John Lennon loved 'Rock Your Baby'"
George McCrae performs ‘Rock Your Baby’, at the Funky Town Festival in Torremolinos. :: Tony Bryant
Born the second of nine children in West Palm Beach, Florida, George McCrae started singing gospel in a church choir
George McCrae began his professional career singing with the ‘Jivin Jets’ in Palm Beach during the late 1960s, but his life would take a dramatic turn in 1974, when he was asked to sing a song that was originally written for KC and the Sunshine Band.
The song was ‘Rock Your Baby’ and it turned George McCrae into an international star. The record proved to be highly influential and it is widely considered one of the greatest hits of the disco era.
It has been more than forty years since that record was released, and today, George McCrae is back with a new album called ‘Love’. He is currently on a tour that has taken him to the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, but he had taken time out from the tour to appear as guest artist at the recent Funky Town Festival in Torremolinos.
SUR in English managed to speak with the legendary singer just moments before he went on stage in Torremolinos, and considering he had just completed a string of television interviews, he was in remarkably high spirits.
This was not his first visit to Spain, he performed in Malaga about five years ago, and he told SUR in English that he loves Spain because the people are so welcoming and polite. He also loves the weather.
He was obviously keen to talk about ‘Rock Your Baby’ and he smiled politely when asked if there was any truth in the legend that says the song inspired John Lennon to write ‘What Ever Gets You Thru The Night’.
“Yes, Lennon loved the song,” he says with a degree of certainty.
Lennon apparently claimed he would have “given his eye-tooth to have written that song,” and one could not get better praise than that, but George McCrae is too polite and far too courteous to revel in such trivia.
He has performed with some of the greatest stars, including Michael Jackson, James Brown and Bill Wyman, but George says he would love the opportunity to perform a duet with British singer Adele. George had recently performed at the O2 arena in London and the UK holds a special place in his heart.
‘Rock Your Baby’ topped the charts in the UK in 1974 and George said, “When I perform in England, the people always make me feel so special, it’s a wonderful place.”
When asked if he had ever given a concert without performing ‘Rock Your Baby’, George McCrae looks surprised, before saying, “I think you already know the answer to that one.”
“This is not my song, it belongs to the people, they would lynch me if I didn’t sing it,” he says in his West Coast accent. The boy who began singing gospel in the church choir has sold millions of records worldwide and ‘Rock Your Baby’ is still the top selling record to come out of the state of Florida.
George McCrae’s current tour ends in Mallorca on 30 July.


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