Song Of The Day 9/12/2016: Belle Epoque – “Miss Broadway”

The Hidden '70s, Part 3 – Hard to get more organically disco-fied with just one group than with Paris’ female trio Belle Epoque. They were fronted by Évelyne Lenton, who had a brief career as a French yé-yé singer in the ‘60s under the singular name Evy. She was a bit more forcefully rock-influenced than a lot of other yé-yé girls, probably just a hair or two away from the sophistication of, say, Françoise Hardy or France Gall. After bouncing around Italy for awhile Lenton re-emerged in the mid-‘70s with two other women to form Belle Epoque. The other two women changed frequently, with Lenton as the only constant. They had two monster club hits: a somewhat rote disco cover of Los Bravos’ “Black is Black” which was part of a preventatively lengthy disco medley, and “Miss Broadway” (#92, 1978) which got into Billboard’s R&B Top 30.

“Miss Broadway” is a good deal rawer than most of the other rubberized, candy-scented disco of the era, owing to Lenton’s frenetic menthol vocals. There are also pretty unsparing lyrics about a prospective concubine sorting out her broader goals of security with the sordid realities of the disco underground. If that doesn’t sum up the subtext of disco exploitation nobody likes to discuss, I don’t know what would. Change the title to “Mr. Broadway” and this song could’ve been on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Or put Tony Manero in lip-liner and false eyelashes like he wears when his buddies aren’t watching or aware. The possibilities are endless. I quite like this song.

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