Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'll Teach You The Electric Moron

Have you ever wondered where the Twist came from?  Or the Mashed Potato or the Bristol Stomp?  The kids in Bristol are sharp as a pistol so obviously they came up with that one on their own, right?  According to wikipedia they did (the Bristol in the lyrics was the Philadelphia suburb, not the British city).  The names of the creators of most of these moves are lost to history but there's one guy who refuses to be anonymous: Ric Silver, choreographer of The Electric Slide. 

Please understand that I'm not calling Silver a moron; he did everything right here, including copyrighting his work.  I'm still trying to figure out who might be the moron in this case, actually.  Silver's problem, as he told NPR, was that he'd get up to do it at a wedding or bar mitzvah or whatever and would do the steps as he choreographed them and would inevitably be told that he was doing it wrong.  I can't even imagine how that feels but I can guess that after about the tenth time I'd be pretty ticked off.  Silver's original dance had 22 steps but the one that you and I and everyone else does has 18.  Siver's website discusses the controversy in depth.  As you can see by scrolling down the page it includes Bunny Wailer of  Bob Marley and the Wailers (the song "The Electric Boogie" is performed by Marcia Griffiths, one of the I Threes who backed Marley).  Silver also claims credit for Poppin', Locking, the Robot and Breakdancing.  Can one anonymous choreographer from New York really be the author of half of old school hip hop's moves?  Stranger things have happened but West Coast funk collective The Electric Boogaloos claim their own version of events.

It's a funky kind of day here and I think I need to dance in a non-controversial manner.  The P-Funk Bot sang to me on Twitter this week so in that spirit I want the funk and I want it Parliament Funkadelic.  Have a great weekend!


  1. I had no idea that one could copyright a dance!!! Wow, thanks for the info!

  2. It seems odd to copyright a social dance, doesn't it? He also created a square dance (the Texas "Silver" Star) but I'm not certain if that's copyrighted. I'd never really thought about copyright on, say, ballets before I heard about this case.

  3. Wow! Who knew??!!! So, is there controversy over the Twist too? Chubby Checker where are you?

    Jazzie, just found you here and am wondering if you ever did your Mike Nesmith post?

  4. Welcome to the blog, NovemberBride! I did a Nesmith post about a month ago, you can find it here.

  5. Wow, I'll join the others who had never heard of copyrighting a dance. Who knew? Does that mean that he could actually charge a fee for people to do the dance at weddings or proms (or anywhere else for that matter)? That would be a whole lot of income for the guy!

  6. @memythoughtsandwhoknows...I don't think he could charge for people doing it in a social situation and in his defense he doesn't seem to be charging anyone for any of his copyrighted works. From what I gather he just wants "The Electric Slide" as shown on television or in movies or in instruction manuals and videos to be the one he actually created. I can't say I blame him.


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