is a song originally recorded in 1976 by Boz Scaggs for his album, Silk Degrees. The song was co-written by Scaggs and David Paich. Keyboardist David Paich, along with fellow “Lowdown” session musicians bassist David Hungate, and drummer Jeff Porcaro, would later help form the band Toto.
Initially, Silk Degrees received a lukewarm commercial response and, similarly, the first single released from the album, “It’s Over” just barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at #38. One day, however, a Cleveland R&B radio DJ began playing “Lowdown” straight off the album. This was during a time period when DJs had much more say in what got played.
Public response was very positive and soon Scaggs’ record label, Columbia, sent the song to other R&B-oriented radio stations for airplay. It began receiving airplay on Top 40 Pop stations as well, and when it was officially released as a single in June 1976, it went on to become Scaggs’ first major hit, eventually peaking at number three on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. It was also successful on the R&B and Disco Singles charts, peaking at number five on both. The song was also a major hit in Canada, peaking at number two. It was a minor hit in the UK, reaching #28.
Scaggs is quoted as saying that the success of “Lowdown” was ‘an accident’ and that, even though it was their favorite from Silk Degrees, he and the others involved in the making of the song thought there ‘wasn’t a chance in hell’ that the song would have been released as a single. The single was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of one million copies and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B song of 1976.
Saturday Night Fever
According to the DVD commentary for Saturday Night Fever, the producers intended to use the song “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs in the rehearsal scene between Tony and Annette in the dance studio, and choreographed their dance moves to the song. However, representatives for Scaggs’ label, Columbia Records, refused to grant legal clearance for it, as they wanted to pursue another disco movie project, finally ending up in Looking for Mr. Goodbar released in 1977, starring a very young Richard Gere.. Composer David Shire, who scored the film, had to in turn write a song to match the dance steps demonstrated in the scene and eliminate the need for future legal hassles. The track Lowdown does not appear on the final movie’s soundtrack.
Missed opportunity maybe?
More recently Incognito joined forces with Chaka Chan & Mario Biondi to produce this masterpiece.
As featured in the 2010 Incognito album Transatlantic R.P.M. and was also included on Biondi’s 2013 album, SUN.
Download > Transatlantic RPM
Download > Mario Biondi Sun