celebrity pop


On this day in music history: June 21, 1971 - “I Just Want To Celebrate” by Rare Earth is released. Written by Nick Zesses and Dino Fekaris, it is the seventh single release by the psychedelic/R&B/rock band from Detroit, MI. Scoring two gold selling albums and a pair of top ten pop hits in rapid succession in 1970 with their rocking and funky covers of The Temptations classics “Get Ready” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You”, Rare Earth keep rolling forward into the next year. The Detroit based band are first major success that R&B powerhouse Motown Records have with a white rock & roll band. The label specifically creates the Rare Earth imprint named after the band with the intent of breaking the band on FM underground radio, rather than placing them on the Motown or Tamla imprints. Rare Earth originally consists of band members Pete Rivera (lead vocals, drums), Gil Bridges (flute, saxophone, percussion, vocals), Eddie Guzman (congas, percussion), Kenny James (keyboards), John Persh (bass, vocals) and Rod Richards (guitar, vocals). After their first two Motown albums “Get Ready” and “Ecology”, Richards and James leave the band and are replaced by Ray Monette (guitar) and Mark Olson (keyboards, vocals). Their fourth album is produced by the band and Motown staff producer and Tom Baird, best known for co-writing Bobby Taylor And The Vancouvers’ hit “Does Your Mama Know About Me?”, also working with Gladys Knight & The Pips and Diana Ross. As well as writing their own material, Rare Earth often recorded cover versions of R&B songs and material provided by Motown’s songwriting staff. The latter is the case with the song “I Just Want To Celebrate”, written by Nick Zesses and Dino Fekaris. The soulful rocker is chosen as the first single from “One World”. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on July 17, 1971, it peaks at #7 on September 11, 1971, becoming Rare Earth’s third and final top ten pop single. The band manage to score only one more Top 40 pop hit with a cover of the Bee Gees’ song “Warm Ride” (#39 Pop) in June of 1978. Though their run of hits ends, it is not the last that Rare Earth is heard from. During the 90’s and beyond, “I Just Want To Celebrate” is sampled numerous times including by N.W.A. (“Real N****z Don’t Die”), Foxy Brown (“BWA”), and Ghostface Killah (“We Celebrate”). The song is also featured in dozens of television commercials (Ford, AT&T, Nicoderm), films and television programs including “Three Kings”, “A Knight’s Tale”, “Land Of The Lost” and “Entourage”.