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Singer of One of the Biggest Disco Hits of All Time Dies

Mar 9, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The lead singer of one of the biggest disco anthems ever has died, according to The New York Times.

The song "Disco Inferno," which begins "Burn Baby Burn," was first made popular by the Trammps. The group’s lead singer, Jimmy Ellis, 74, has died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, The Times reports.

The Trammps original version of the song became popular when it was included  in the film "Saturday Night Fever" and was on that film’s megahit soundtrack album. The only soundtrack album to have ever sold more copies than "Saturday Night Fever" was the soundtrack to Whitney Houston’s "The Bodyguard."

According to The Times story, the Trammps’ "first recording was a remake of one of Judy Garland’s signature songs, ‘Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,’ which reached No. 17 on the R&B charts. They went on to have hits like ‘Hold Back the Night,’ and in 1975 were signed by Atlantic Records, which released seminal disco records by the group like ‘Where the Happy People Go.’"

The Times notes that Ellis  was "born on Nov. 15, 1937, in Rock Hill, S.C. He sang gospel as a teenager in St. Mary’s Church, graduated from Emmett Scott High School and left for Philadelphia to sing with R&B groups like the Volcanoes and the Exceptions, who had a popular single called ‘Down by the Ocean.’ … Except for a hiatus of several years, Mr. Ellis toured with the Trammps until 2010."

Here is a video of Ellis and the Trammps performing "Disco Inferno" that we found on YouTube: 

One Comment

  1. Talk about “happy music” – I miss it!

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