‘Skin Tight’ And Out Of Sight: The Ohio Players In 1974

The funk group’s September 1974 chart entry debuted even higher than Hot 100 resident Elton John’s ‘The Bitch Is Back.’

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Ohio Players 'Skin Tight' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Ohio Players 'Skin Tight' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

The funk and soul group from Dayton, in the state that inspired their name, were hot as a pistol in 1974. The Ohio Players had wriggled to the top of the R&B chart the year before with their “Funky Worm,” a Top 15 crossover pop success, and now they were reaching both audiences again with a new success, “Skin Tight.”

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The album of the same name had entered the chart in April, and the single started its ascent of the soul bestsellers fully five weeks before it made its Hot 100 debut. But when it did, on September 8, it came racing out of the traps, as the highest new entry of the week at No.45 — fully 18 places higher than even that US chart resident Elton John, with his new single “The Bitch Is Back.”

Skin-tight funk

That chart, on which Paul Anka continued at No.1 with “(You’re) Having My Baby” also contained new entries for the Righteous Brothers, with “Give It To The People,” and Steppenwolf with “Straight Shootin’ Woman.” One of the most inventive novelty singles of the year, Reunion’s fast-talking and celebrity-quoting “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me),” also entered the Hot 100 that week, on its way to a No.8 peak.

Listen to the Greatest Soul 45s playlist.

“Skin Tight,” meanwhile, cruised into the Top 40 in its second week and spent two weeks at its No.13 peak in October. Before the end of the year, the Ohio Players’ hot streak truly burst into flames, as the single “Fire” hit the pop and soul charts on its way to No.1 on both. By the summer of 1976, they’d amassed a weighty five soul chart-toppers in little more than three years. The Skin Tight album of 1974, self-produced and recorded in Chicago, was also the one that began the group’s run of platinum-selling long players.

Buy or stream “Skin Tight” on the album of the same name.

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