Wednesday, 16 March 2011
30: The Rocksteady Crew, “(Hey You) The Rocksteady Crew” (no.6, 1983)
Not a group so much as a genuine gang - a collective that were to the Bronx and breakdancing what the Globetrotters were to Harlem and basketball - and one that still survives to this day in one form or another. As shameless cash-ins on passing crazes go, this one’s unusually fresh and charming, a real time-capsule of a song: clock how unschooled and self-conscious the Crew are when asked to do anything other than flips and turns in the video. The idea that breaking was anything other than a fad proved hard to shake off, no matter how many windmills, flares and pikes its practitioners sallied forth, no matter how many times white boys in provincial Midlands towns rented “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” on VHS: follow-up single “Uprock” limped to a lowly 64 in the UK, and following what are described as “difficult contract negotiations” (I’ll bet), the Crew and their record company went their separate ways. The suits involved have since disappeared without a trace, but the tracksuits - along with their descendants and protégés - are still out on the streets somewhere even today.