Heptones - Save the last dance for me

A: The Heptones – Save the last dance for me

B: The Heptones – Save the last dance for me version


The Heptones were always greatly influenced by soul music and often sought ways to incorporate the sound of the young, gifted and black americans into their own music. Being gifted songwriters themselves as well, their amalgamation brought them great succes in both Jamaica and beyond. “Save the last dance” is not really a blend, though. It’s a straight up cover tune.

Written by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman and produced by the infamous duo Leiber & Stoller (who can also lay claim to have written ‘some’ major hits) “Save the last dance’ became a huge hit for the 7 year old soul group with perpetual personnel problems: The Drifters.

12 years after hitting the charts in Jamaica, The Heptones recorded their version for Joe Gibbs. Although I’m not a big fan of the song itself and rate other Heptones material for Gibbs far higher, I would be lying if I wrote I don’t like their take. The riddim is quite sparse and that was an excellent choice. The song is still corny and cheesy, but the heavy bassladen backing and somewhat militant drumming and chugging well make up for that. It’s also perfect for Leroy Sibbles to show off his excellence on the mic. I particularly like the little touches on the keyboard that Winston Wright (?) lays down.

The B side leaves room for a dj to add his skills, but I wish they had recorded one in the studio as well (Johnnie Lover would have been great). That would have made for a more interesting version, as nothing much is happening here. Surely the lyrics of “Save the last dance” are inviting enough for any soundsystem dj to write some slack or lovers lyrics to?

A fine disc, nonetheless, which you can also find on the Heptones & friends lp or various cd reissues.


Label: Pressure Beat (Ja) / Pama Supreme & Duke (Uk).
Release date: 1972
Matrix: DSR-JG-7013 A / DSR-JG-7014 B

(originally posted on 18-07-12)


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