Friday, 30 May 2014

Moroder's Munich Mess

Giovanni Giorgio Moroder (born Hansjörg Moroder in the Tyrolean town of Urtijëi in April 1940) is one of the most influential record producers and songwriters of the 70s and 80s. Frequently credited with pioneering synth disco and electronic dance music, he’s best known for his collaborations with the late Donna Summer - including the mega hits Love to Love You Baby and I Feel Love. He also founded the Oasis label and the famous Musicland Recording Studios in Munich, used by major acts including the Electric Light Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, Queen and Elton John. He worked with David Bowie on Cat People (Putting Out Fire), Blondie on Call Me and, of course, Phil Oakey on Together in Electric Dreams. As these things go he’s pretty huge.

Unfortunately he also produced some utterly terrible trash. Throughout his career Moroder has exhibited a horrible habit, insisting on stepping out from behind the mixing desk to inflict his own solo efforts on an unsuspecting public. He may have an impeccable pedigree in disco circles, but the great man is no stranger to releasing rubbish. His first album, 1970’s That’s Bubble Gum – That’s Giorgio is stuffed with appalling cover versions 'sung' in broken English, such as the two Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks here, Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising. Just dreadful.

But it didn't stop there. Oh no.

In 1978, at the height of the disco era - and at the height of his success - Moroder issued a dire discofied version of the Procol Harum classic A Whiter Shade of Pale. The track, from the album Knights in White Satin, is credited to the Munich Machine Featuring Chris Bennett but it’s actually a studio project from Moroder and his co-conspirator, British songwriter/producer Pete Bellotte utilising many of the musicians they had used on their various sessions. Vocalist Chris Bennett, now a respected jazz musician (born Christine Bennett in Illinois in August 1948) was a backing singer and pianist who had appeared on recordings by Tina Turner, The Manhattan Transfer and Donna Summer. She was later nominated for a Grammy for The Theme from Midnight Express.

Horrifyingly this piece of rubbish was a minor hit in Britain in 1978, reaching the dizzying heights of 42 during its’ four-week run.

‘How long can disco on?’, Harry Nilsson once asked. Too long if you ask me, especially if it coughs up crap like this.



  1. You call "A Whiter Shade of Pale" a complete mess? Are you mad?!

    It's one of Moroder's best and a brilliant album, epic electronics mixed with traditional instruments and orchestra, not even one track of the album is bad.

    The Munich Machine-Project was the best at the time, feel ashamed for creating such a bad article!

  2. 5/30/14 Wrote:
    I never seen this 1970 album pictured here in the U.S. Giorgio's first success in the US came two years later with the minor Top 50 single "Son Of My Father", which is his best song. Compared to that classic, the stuff you put up here on the blog sound dated & mechanical. What must have sounded hip in 1970 sounds like a WTF period-piece relic in 2014. But then, have you heard "Underdog", his flip side to "Son Of My Father?" Sounds like Giorgio had attempted the "Sgt. Pepper" sound five years too late after it happened.

  3. Moroder's original version of Son Of My Father is virtually unknown here in the UK, but a cover version by Chicory Tip was Number One for four weeks in 1972

  4. I generally regard Giorgio Moroder as a god...but not everything the man put out was alchemical gold! I rather like the Procol Harum cover because I've got a thing for cheesy disco covers, and the Munich Machine album really *does* have some impressive tracks on it. But, man, those early "soul" albums? Even Moroder himself admits they were unadulterated crap. But they DID earn him the cash and contacts to finally get a hold of some synths are really discover his calling.


WWR Most Popular Posts