Rollercoaster of Love (Say what?) — The Ohio Players ride to the top in 1976

On Jan. 31, 1976, the top single on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players. Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, this was the band’s second #1 song (“Fire,” the title track to their previous LP, had hit #1 on Feb. 8 of 1975).

Some of the band members had been playing together since 1959 in Greg Webster and the Ohio Untouchables (drummer Webster being the namesake). When that band split in 1963, saxophonist Clarence “Satch” Satchell and bassist Marshall “Rock” Jones decided to put together another ensemble, including Webster on drums, and called themselves the Ohio Players. They worked as the house band for Compass Records in Nashville. Eventually, one of their demos made its way to Capitol Records in Hollywood, and in 1969 the band had a recording contract.

“Love Rollercoaster” was the second single released from their seventh album, Honey. “Sweet Sticky Thing” had gone to #33 in October of ’75 (I love Satchell’s saxophone on this one). “Love Rollercoaster” entered the singles charts at #51 in November and steadily rose over the next 11 weeks.

One of the weirder bits of trivia about “Love Rollercoaster” are the rumors that circulated about its recording. During an instrumental break in the song, screams by keyboardist William “Billy” Beck can be heard. The screams sparked a variety of rumors, ranging from being an actual recording of a girl dying on a rollercoaster that was added into the mix to being an actual murder in another studio that was picked up on the microphones during the band’s recording session (and even crazier myths in between involving a dying rabbit screaming from outside the building to the model of the Honey album cover entering the studio to yell at the band).

“Love Rollercoaster” was also a #1 hit in the UK and went to #2 in Canada. It’s become the signature song for the Ohio Players.

“Sweet Sticky Thing” went to #33 on the US singles charts.

About poppaculture

I am a seasoned consumer of modern (and not so modern) culture.
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