Friday, August 06, 2010

“Spiderman” by Peter Griffin

Today’s disco discovery: Peter Griffin (1939-2007) apparently owned and operated a night club called Griffin’s in the seventies in Baden-Baden, located – oddly enough – in the western foothills of Germany’s Black Forest.

He began scoring Euro dance tracks of his own starting with a cover of Australian John Paul Young’s weird “I Hate The Music” in 1977 (Young himself was later famous for his international pop hit “Love Is In The Air”).

Griffin, whose name – and fame – was eclipsed many years later by TV’s Family Guy, recorded a number of disco tunes that never really broke out of Germany. “Spiderman,” though, is a good example of what the guy can do. It suggests a curious cross between Donna Summer’s Pete Bellotte/Harold Faltermeyer/Keith Forsey-penned “Hot Stuff” (1979) and Frenchman Patrick Hernandez’s even better “Born To Be Alive” of the same year (which came first - who knows - but Griffin somehow reuses the same two songs to craft his 1980 tune "I'll Be Your Fireman," even adding a touch of American Gigolo to round things out).

But if you’ve ever heard Griffin’s great 1981 single “Inside Out” it suggests – and predates! – Laura Brannigan’s (not bad) 1982 hit “Gloria.” The point is that everybody borrows from everybody. “Step by Step” is another one of Griffin’s great dance classics that suggests things that will sound familiar to any listener of disco.

It’s hard to believe Peter Griffin was 40 at the time he made “Spiderman.” He looks and sounds nearly half his age. It’s rather amazing he didn’t become more famous.

To my knowledge, there are no sets on CD or iTunes that have made Peter Griffin’s curiously addictive dance music available. But fortunately you can scour YouTube to hear more of Peter Griffin’s fun and funky work.

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