Electric Boogaloo (2): The True Electric Boogaloo
May 11, 2010 1:32 PM   Subscribe

We've seen volcanic eruptions with lightning, heard the musical styles blending modern electro with the (samoan) sasa, and had a few snowclones of the phrasal play from Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (a quick way to tag often unnecessary sequels; exhibits: A, B, C, D, and E), but no sign of the originals. Without further ado, I present The Electric Boogaloos. Float and glide on in for more.

The Electric Boogaloos were not the first group to synchronize moves in popping and related dance styles. The first group was The Go-Go (or YoYo) Brothers in 1971. Back then, Tony Go-Go, James "Skeeter Rabbit" Higgins and Edwin "Buddy GoGo" Lombard were the first to perform synchronized "funk dancing" consisting of sharp and controlled moves. The group was a local Los Angeles-area phenomenon, primarily seen dancing at clubs, but they did appear on local TV during a basketball half time performance in 1972. They were amongst the other short-lived groups of the early 1970s, featuring rotating casts of characters in the Southern California scene.

A number of dancers found fame on Soul Train, which took fashion and dance moves from the local clubs to a national audience. Through Soul Train and other events, The Go Go Brothers members shuffled around, some becoming part of Creative Generation, and later The Campbellock Dancers. This group was formed by Don Campbell, the originator of (Campbel)locking. In the summer of 1973, Don Campbell rearranged "The Campbellock Dancers" and renamed the group "The Lockers". The group performed in a variety of TV shows, including "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," the "Dick Van Dyke Show," the "Carol Burnett Show" and "Saturday Night Live," commercial for Schlitz Malt Liquor, and even toured with Frank Sinatra in 1974.

Over-all, there were at two eras of The Lockers (and maybe a third). Toni Basil joined the group (or was instrumental in forming, it, depending on who is telling the story), and was credited as the Abe Saperstein of The Lockers. She was part of the group when they were seen on SNL, and she can be seen here dancing as Pink Bunny. The group had some long-standing issues, eventually breaking up for good. Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones formed other groups or went solo, and Toni Basil went back to continue creating choreography for touring groups and movies.

The Lockers inspiration spread with their television appearances. In Fresno, California, Boogaloo Sam Solomon had seen The Lockers on TV, which put a more solid form to the earlier influence of James Brown's boogaloo style (seen here in a less frantic form). According to Doc Boogaloo, Electric Boogaloo was influenced by Rumba Columbia, a fast and energetic Rumba. Sam got some fellows with similar styles of dancing together, and formed The Electric Boogaloo Lockers, though the name was soon shortened to The Electric Boogaloos. Sam's Electric Boogaloo style was joined by Popin' Pete (and later, in a Talking Heads [remix] video), Creepin' Cid, Robot Dane, and Puppet Boozer (seen here with Shabba-doo and Angel).

The Electric Boogaloos' original name clouded the separation between popping and locking, and in some areas the style is called "poplocking." Mainstream reports on the styles didn't help split the styles, and the 1984 movie (wiki) plus the sequel released in the same year only muddied terms further. To add to the confusion, Oakland, California had a popping style that evolved from the robot, as seen with Oakland Boogaloo with the Black Resurgents. To be fair, the styles can flow into each-other, and you might not realize it without knowing the scarecrow from puppetstyle or toyman. But to be absolutely clear: this is not breakdancing. Popping and locking are funk styles, where breakdancing is related to hip-hop.

Popping and locking are not dead styles. Boogaloo Sam and Don Campbellock are still down with their bad selves, and The Go Go Brothers are now in their second generation, with Tony Go-Go passing the torch to his sons. New groups are paying tribute to the masters from the past, with The Twilight Players showing more clear influences, while Japanes dancers take things to the next level (in this case, it's U-Min blending a lot of influences, including the newer Animation or Strobe style).

Bonus bits:
- The Jacksons TV Show featuring the Jackson 5 and "Disco Dom" Delouise locking to "That's the Way (I Like It)"
- The Campbellock Story Part 1 (almost 42 minutes long, and the only part I could find)
posted by filthy light thief (15 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
[This is fly and funky fresh]
posted by loquacious at 1:38 PM on May 11, 2010

Incredible post, but I would disagree and say that popping and locking (and ticking) were integrated into hip hop from the very beginning, as part of breakdancing. I get what the person at the link is saying, but to say popping and locking are not related to hip hop (then the author says but they are commonly performed to hip hop), just seems to be a misstatement here. No matter, this is an incredible post, and fuck, you need to write a book or 3.
posted by cashman at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2010

What kind of horrible person posts an awesome post like this so close to the end of the EST business day. I've already USED UP all my reading stuff on the internets important work-related reading time for today!
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2010

There is...too much awesome here. I fear for the very fabric of space and time.
posted by jquinby at 1:52 PM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would disagree and say that popping and locking (and ticking) were integrated into hip hop from the very beginning, as part of breakdancing.

I was flopping on that bit. At one level, they're distinct, but as time has gone on, they've blended together more. Some of the vids show groups doing thing all over the place, while other artists stay standing (more or less). My point was that these were not elements of breakdancing, but started as something original, and were not initially part of hip-hop but the funk music scene.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on May 11, 2010

See.. This is the kind of post I always start to write.. but I seem to have a problem with Premature FPPulation.

Nice work....
posted by HuronBob at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2010

Jesus H. Shatner. I need a greasemonkey script that just takes anything Filthy light thief posts to the front page and drops it into instapaper. This is so fantastic.
posted by gofargogo at 2:37 PM on May 11, 2010

As awesome as this collection of links is, I regret that it has nothing to do with The Bugaloos.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:42 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I regret that it has nothing to do with The Bugaloos

Ooh, there's been no recent retrospective on the creations of the Kroffts? Hmm...
posted by filthy light thief at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2010

I may be wrong, but wasn't the meme of "X 2: Electric Boogaloo" popularized by Mystery Science Theater 3000? That's certainly where I picked it up.
posted by mgrichmond at 4:28 PM on May 11, 2010

I may be wrong, but wasn't the meme of "X 2: Electric Boogaloo" popularized by Mystery Science Theater 3000? That's certainly where I picked it up.

I know that my group of friends in southern NM was using that meme as early as 1985, when we were all still in high school. That pre-dates MST3K by a few years. I don't claim that we invented it, by any means. I suspect it is a spontaneous meme which sprung up in many locales all at once.
posted by hippybear at 5:31 PM on May 11, 2010

Yes. At least a few friends and I started making the Electric Boogaloo reference almost immediately after the movie came out, it was just so memorably ridiculous.
posted by mykescipark at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2010

Can I just point out that flt is just as awesome in person as his FPPs imply?
posted by spiderskull at 2:53 AM on May 13, 2010

Yes. flt has a guaranteed night of bar-tab-covering if ever we are in the same establishment. I've only done a couple of epic posts, and I know how consuming they are to create. That he's so consistently awesome with them continues to amaze, delight, and inform my life.
posted by hippybear at 9:23 AM on May 13, 2010

/me blushes
posted by filthy light thief at 1:05 PM on May 18, 2010

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