Sugarhill Gang’s “Big Bank Hank” dead at 57: Songs you can’t get out of your head
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People: Big Bank Hank; Master Gee; Wonder Mike
“I go hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, I say if your girl starts acting up, then you take a friend…”
And it goes on and on from there.
And now the 3mcs that rocked the mike are now only 2 – as Big Bank Hank – part of the trio from Englewood known worldwide as the Sugarhill Gang – passed away at the age of 57.
The song, “Rappers Delight” is commonly referred to as the first hip hop record ever recorded (although I know of one that preceded it by about a month.)
The lyrics go on and on, but once you hear the opening line
(I say a hip hop a hippy to the hippy a hip hip hop you don’t stop a rockin’ to the bang bang boogie, say up jump the boogie to the boogeddy boogeddy beat…now what you hear is not a test I’m a rappin’ to the beat.)
...you can’t get them out of your head.
And no wonder. The song became ubiquitous in the summer of 1979 and is listed at number 248 of Rolling Stone’s top 500 Greatest Songs of all time.
Here's a clip of them performing the song live on the classic show Soul Train.
I remember the first time I heard it. I was working at Disco 14 in Harrisburg, when my program director, Scott Robbins, started playing it. When he got to the lyric where Big Bank Hank raps, “I can bust you out with my super sperm,” he took it right off the air.
But one play generated phone calls by the hundreds – and the legend was born.
And since that time, anytime you hear it – it plays over and over until it drives you crazy.
What’s the one song that whenever you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head?