This week, the Morning Grooves are going to focus on “Summer” songs. Because summer begins on Monday, the songs that will be featured will have the word summer in the title.
For my Sunday instrumental, we’re going to play “one song, two ways.” The song, in case you skipped the title, is “Summer Madness.” The two versions I’ve chosen for today are Kool & The Gang’s classic from 1974, and the remake that was done by Jerald Daemyon just over twenty years later.
The original version of “Summer Madness” has become so popular that it has been sampled and interpolated in tons of songs over the last thirty-two years. It is probably best known for being sampled for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime,” a song that signals the beginning of summer for many. But the original was so good, that it became the third single released from Kool & The Gang’s Light Of Worlds album, charting in the top 40 on both the Pop and R&B charts—not a bad feat, considering it was a B-side. The flip side of “Summer Madness” was “Spirit Of The Boogie,” a #1 R&B hit for the group and the first single from the album of the same name, released as the follow-up to Light Of Worlds.
The second version of “Summer Madness” was done by Jerald Daemyon, who released his take on the song in 1995. Daemyon is an electric violinist, who has both classical training and has played with jazz ensembles before going out on his own. This version is taken from his debut album Thinking About You, which became something of a sensation once this song began getting airplay nationwide. In fact, the album was independently released by Daemyon, when his version of the track got him noticed by contemporary jazz label GRP, which picked up the album for national distribution. Daemyon’s cover version was his only charting single; it got as far as #60 on the R&B chart, and a search for additional albums found one other release from back in 2001.
If you have a preference, which version do you like? I’ll always ride with Kool & The Gang’s classic, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the violin-centered version that Daemyon released. Either way, these are the Morning Grooves that kick off a week of Summer. As always, thanks for reading and listening.