“I Really Got the Feeling”
Written by Billy Vera
Peak: #1 Country | #11 Adult Contemporary (B-Side)
“Baby I’m Burnin'”
Written by Dolly Parton
Peak: #48 Country |#25 Pop | #11 Adult Contemporary | #15 Dance (Disco)
In a strange twist, this double-sided hit has the pop singer writing the country hit and the country legend penning her own disco number.
“I Really Got the Feeling” isn’t any less pop than its flip side, but it still managed to top the country chart, Parton’s fourth consecutive #1 on that list. Written by Billy Vera of “At This Moment” fame, it’s a pretty terrible composition. Upon first listen, an understandable reaction would be that it has a pretty weak first verse: “I felt it from the moment we met you didn’t ask me my sign,” and then, “I love my daddy but it really don’t matter what my daddy might say.”
Then the song continues and you find out that it wasn’t the first verse; it was the chorus. Parton sings it beautifully, but the material simply isn’t up to her level as a singer or a songwriter.
So if a pop singer writing a country song was a disaster, Dolly herself taking a stab at a disco tune must be even worse, right?
“Baby, I’m Burnin'” is a killer disco track that still sounds great today. Very much of the era, but not overwhelmed by it. A big reason that it works is that Parton’s jubilant persona is a good fit for dance music in its late seventies form. When the genre moved toward synthesized sounds in the eighties, her natural warmth would often sound out of place. But she sounds great here. She knows she’s singing a silly song for people to dance to, and she commits to it wholeheartedly.
And don’t let the cotton candy substance of the song fool you. A great disco song isn’t any easier to write than a great country song, and having a talent for the latter doesn’t necessarily translate to having one for the former. Just ask one of the greatest songwriters country music has ever known – Bill Anderson. Listen to “Trust Me,” which kicked off his attempt a disco album, Ladies Choice, the same year Parton sent “Baby I’m Burnin'” to clubs…
Next: You’re the Only One