Listen: Pillow Talk / Sylvia SylviaPillow.mp3
Sylvia Robinson, owner and creative force behind Sugarhill Records, where rap began according to many. Makes sense she’d be the Lil Kim of her day. Every track was sexually provaocative. ‘You Sure Love To Ball’ (now there’s a long lost term: ball), ‘Had Any Lately’, ‘He Don’t Ever Lose His Groove’ and not forgetting this one, ‘Pillow Talk’, the hit (#3 Pop / #1 RnB). Word is she’d originally written ‘Pillow Talk’ for Al Green, who apparently turned it down for being too risquÃ©, and against his religion.
I wish I could scan the PILLOW TALK album sleeve, it’s almost as good as James Gilstrap’s LOVE TALK for bad photography and complete lack of visual appeal – making both essential art. Google them.
An early example of prototypical disco, the vocals are replete with moaning and heavy breathing, predating Donna Summer’s orgasmic inflections on ‘Love To Love You Baby’. Although the album version of ‘Pillow Talk’ runs about a minute longer, fear not – the simulated climax is included on the 7′ ending as well. Even so, this was all over pop radio in spring ’73 – believe it. I was insatiable for it. By summer it had reached the UK, so I got to hear it constantly all over again.