652 North LaPeer Drive, West Hollywood
35 years ago tonight, I dropped into Studio One in West Hollywood & dropped a Quaalude.This was my evening of choice in those days. I liked the staff in the their short satin short-shorts. I danced for 5 hours when a hot, no… sizzling redhead danced beside me, slipped out of his tee shirt & held a little brown bottle under my nose. All of a sudden, I felt the beat of the music, the heat of the guy & I felt all sexy & nice & warm & sexy.
I woke up, remembering nothing, in a 1920s Mediterranean style cottage, a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Venice Beach. The gingerman served me coffee & complimented me on my participation in the night before. He asked me if I wanted to go to the beach & I foolishly begged off because I had rehearsal. We came together one more time, showered & I had him drive me home. It was one of those moments I regret, not taking him up on the beach offer.
When our eyes met, & his hand grazed mind as he placed a little brown bottle under my nose, this song was pounding away on the sound system. Don't Leave Me This Way was first performed by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes 2 years earlier, but as covered by Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1976, this version, with its more overt disco arrangement, was a massive worldwide hit, topping the Soul charts & the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for this week in May 1977. I find it to be the very best disco song & possibly the best song of the entire 1970's as well.
I think of that Spring night in 1977 whenever I hear Don't Leave Me This Way, but the song took on a different meaning in the 1980s when friends & colleagues began to drop away from HIV.
Thelma Houston turns 65 years old today. Thelma & The Post Apocalyptic Bohemian both made it into the teens of the 21st century. A broken man with empty hands,oh baby please, don't leave me this way.