Archived Story

I’ll take The Bump over The Hustle any day

Published 5:16pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Remember the dance craze called The Hustle?

I do. It was in the 1970s when The Hustle appeared. Folks on “Soul Train” were doing The Hustle. Folks as discos were doing The Hustle. I recall seeing young children doing The Hustle in grocery stores, schoolyards and at church.

As for The Hustle, I was hustled by someone — yes, it was a good-looking woman — who promised to teach me how to do The Hustle for a price. Not only could she dance The Hustle, she knew how to pull off a hustle.

Despite shelling out $40, I never quite learned to do The Hustle. I had the right clothes — red, crushed-velvet bell-bottom pants, a black turtleneck sweater and an ivory-color sport coat. Let’s not forget those platform shoes. I might have looked like a member of the O’Jays, but I didn’t have the moves that one Eddie Levert Sr. had.

There was a dance in the 1970s that I could do, and do well. I could do The Bump. In those days, I weighed in at 170 pounds. When I did The Bump, there was no danger I would break my wife’s hip. I wouldn’t think about doing The Bump these days. I might break my hip.

The Hustle and The Bump have all but disappeared these days, but there is one dance from the 1970s that remains popular — YMCA.

We can thank — or blame — the Village People for starting that dance craze when those performers came out with the song “Y.M.C.A.” in 1978.

The song was accompanied by body movements — arms mostly — that spelled out each letter in the song’s title. It became hugely popular. To this day, people around the world perform it. Go to YouTube and search for “Y.M.C.A.” There are plenty of videos showing the Village People and others performing the song and dance. You will find the original music video somewhere in the YouTube lineup.

Ah, yes, the Village People. Let’s see if I can recall the “characters” in the group: policeman, military man (sometimes a solider, sometimes a sailor), biker, American Indian chief, cowboy and construction worker. In their music video “In the Navy,” the policeman appeared as an admiral.

Pardon me while I go and play “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” by Joe Tex on my eight-track.

What’s an eight-track? Ask anyone who was around when The Hustle was all the rage.

Mike Voss is the senior member of the newsroom at the Washington Daily News.

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