I sat intensely, strategically positioned, in front of the family TV, watching the weekly Saturday morning dance show, "Dick Clarks American Bandstand."
The year was 1977. The studio audience on the Bandstand set went into a frenzy. It wasn't a Hitchcock flick but a new superstar from France, making his US debut. At first I didn't understand it. It was reminiscent of the fab four that descended here in the sixties. This new artist had a different sound and style.
This was Cerrone.
" The trick" to the fresh new sound was my reputation as a drummer: A kick drum, high in the mix, was to serve in his entire career and to this date," states Jean Marc Cerrone.
Cerrone was not anticipating such a reaction from the American public when "Love in C Minor" hit the East coast in a monumental fashion. At the time, we danced to a pop sound, mixed with vocals which lacked the full sound of a symphony. Cerrone took on Manhattan, playing in NY’s Studio 54 and other trendy venues, he introduced his "sexy wet vocals, funk influenced brass and Barry White type strings"....all combined made "Love in C Minor" the beginning of Cerrone's strong musical outfit. For years, we danced to his nonstop music. It intrigues me today, looking back, to understand that Cerrone, a French euro-disco wizard, was greatly influenced by one of America's shining stars, Barry White. The late great White made great use of a full orchestra in his elegant music, AKA as The Love Unlimited Orchestra.
Cerrone's music captivated us. "The music was created to dance too." The jackets to his albums were ingenious, sexy and typical of his European flair. He was beyond the bleeding edge, even today, his album covers would still be considered "racy" -- twenty-five years beyond their birth. For the next five years this euro-disco sound, drove the dance community as did other symphonic artists - I.E., Vince Montana Jr, Alec R. Constindinos, Boris Midney, John Davis & the Monster Orchestra, El Coco...
Cerrone enlightened us with SuperNature, Love In C Minor, Cerrone's Paradise, Give Me Love, Love Is Here......
Born in Paris, in 1952, Cerrone together with Giorgio Moroder are recognized as Europe's biggest contributors to the Disco-Sound. By the time he reached the young age of 18 he had already become the Orchestra - Leader at the Club Mediterranee. When he was 20, he had a very lucrative contract with the French producer Barclay. Here, in the US, he achieved his biggest success in the international Single-Charts with the release of "Super Nature." in July of 1978. He sold more than 10 Million records until 1979.
Like others, Cerrone felt a change in the music as the mid eighties slid in. The fashion and mood in the US was shifting again. Disco had been on a high for almost six years. "Music is first and foremost one that is to be happy and lend to dancing," reflects Cerrone. "When the change of music occurred in the mid eighties to be replaced with the birth of the lost or famed American youngsters to perform in a complacent and/or plaintiff/groaning rock (rhythm bass and electric guitar) influenced fashion (announcing Rock/Grunge and RAP), the taste for disco, i.e. joy and harmony, sensual body language and taking things 'lightly' had been replaced with the younger generations wish to express graver matters associated to the country's political spoilings and glorification's. The sound was no longer in demand as, Art is always, a reflection of society," explains Cerrone.
Today, Cerrone is back. After eight years of silence, he has released a new album "Hysteria." His influence on other artists is wide spread and is easy to see in the many samplings of his work. To date, more then 100 artists have made use of his music in theirs. Cerrone samples have been used by such American artists as Lionel Ritchie, Pink, RAP and groups like Kool G Rap and others. His music didn't go away.
Stay Tuned for Part 2, of my interview with Cerrone, the French euro-disco Wiz, as we prepare you for his new endeavors. Cerrone is back and returns in 2003 to the forefront. ( this interview was conducted via a translator)