I had actually wanted to write a long, link-filled post about the Solid Gold Dancers, but Clinton McClung over at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog already beat me to it (and how!), pretty much grabbing the last word on everything I wanted to say. I have pubescent hormone-clouded memories of the Solid Gold dancers, and the show Solid Gold in general, it’s shifting hosts, it’s shifting floors with rotating walls with mirrored shapes and little lights attached to them that Marilyn McCoo or Andy Gibb leaped over as they opened and closed when the camera zoomed-in on a lip synching band on stage. The dancers were often featured front and center, but mostly existed as a weird, half-visible wave of limbs and hips undulating somewhere behind the music acts – sometimes a pair of eyes would peer out from the wave, perched atop a foil-covered cylinder. And the sequences of the show that counted down the music charts, with each song snippet getting it’s own 10-second dance routine by the dancers? Unholy (read: awesome). The Solid Gold Dancers weren’t the first interpretive dancers fusillading their posteriors to popular songs featured as a major part of a variety music show (The Mickey Mouse Club? Lawrence Welk? American Bandstand? Dance Fever? …or the countless teen music shows that populated daily afternoon local television stations throughout the 60’s?) but their existence is the most visible marker of that medium in it’s era. This was the easily-filled time gap in culture between the death of the disco, and the soon-to-be strict requirement of choreographed dance bodies becoming de rigueur in every single one of the zillions of early-80’s rock videos made during MTV’s initial global infestation (no doubt a period for the working professional dancer that was a renaissance… and probably dark age). The Solid Gold Dancers easily slid right in (no… sexily shimmied… crawled cat-like across the floor into…) to fill this gap. Post-disco meant way-post 50’s wholesomeness – but post 60’s and 70’s meant post-sexual revolution, so thrust tits and crotches in your prime-time face became the ho-hum rule, not a titilating exception. Hence The Solid Gold Dancers were ahead of their time and in their own limbo, in a way. I remember the Solid Gold Dancers achieving the same kind of notorious, dichotomic fame that The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and The Unknown Comic had. They were obviously very skilled, professional dancers, but they were bad, they were good at being bad and bad at being good… in their own world; parody-proof. Appreciation of them activated both hemispheres of your brain and hence made you feel smarter, which made watching Solid Gold a bi-polar delight.

In my town, most girls outwardly conveyed how eye-rollingly absurd they were, but also dug them in an love/hate ambitious kind of way (like secretly wanting to be on the high school cheer pep squad, but with the requisite backwash emotional loathing after-feeling). Girls who truly hated them 100% were also the type of girl that gay guys befriended and later became fag hags (and were also probably slightly chunky, wore black, had bangs and carried a metal TV show-themed lunch box as a purse – if you grew up in the 80’s you know exactly what I’m talking about). Gay guys’ appreciation was uncomplicated: they thought they were just awful (read: brilliant!). Of that demographic, there probably were quite a few gay guys who wanted to be one of the male Solid Gold Dancers in a very sincere, irony-free way, but we won’t analyze that kind of burgeoning male homosexual here (I don’t want to scare anyone). And straight guys’ appreciation? The All-American Male saw x-ray vision-style right through the silver spandex, sequins and braided headbands towards a very un-fussy appreciation: these girls were totally hot. The difference between how gay men and straight men saw The Solid Gold Dancers inhabited the same stretch between how gay men and straight men saw Debbie Harry (and later Madonna) at the time, it was the difference between human anatomy and what was covering that anatomy. Straight men saw past the adornment right into these women’s core, gay men could only see the surface.

The Solid Gold Dance Connection website is dedicated to documenting everything about the Solid Gold Dancers that you could ever want to know, especially tracking down where they are now, and interviewing them. The Unofficial Solid Gold Website does the same thing, and covers some of the history of the dancers the previous site misses.

This long list will tell you every host and music act that ever appeared on the show (although I think it’s incomplete).

But since Sold Gold was a television show – no doubt YouTube can be relied upon to supply so many clips that it will categorically become torture if you try and watch every single one of them.

And just in case you skipped your medication this morning, try and swallow this clip of Andy Gibb and Marilyn McCoo introducing Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics performing “Black Leather Monster? on Solid Gold (yep!) The dancers are suspiciously absent, but make sure you watch to the end – where Wendy O. has a long, post-chainsaw chat with a rainbow-mohawked Madame (& Waylon Flowers).

But of course, once again, I find myself directing you to a post on WFMU’s blog, Clinton McClung’s link-filled history-sweep of The Solid Gold Dancers has it all.