Oh, this song! “Bad Boy/Having a Party” by Luther Vandross is so many things to me, but the main thing is that it reminds me of good childhood memories. The song, which is off of the 1982 album Forever, for Always, for Love, is a fun track with just a splash of funk that makes you want to nod your head and smile while you make a fool of yourself listening to it on the subway.
I come from a family of smart, funny storytellers who know how to have a good time. The background of this song is a lot of laughter and tomfoolery that is reminiscent of an actual house party, the event at the heart of the track. This takes me back to all those family house parties of my youth. I was far too young to indulge in all the copious amounts of brown liquid in those red cups, but I sure could soak in the scene. Finger snaps, dance moves that were older than me, tales as tall as the Empire State Building and of course lots of laughs. Real laughter. Deep, from the diaphragm laughter that reached the eyes, so you knew it was real.
The cigarette smoke would seep into everything in the house and everybody was so damn happy. For those few hours it didn’t matter how much was owed on the rent or mortgage or what happened at work that day or what argument was had that morning. Ain’t no party like a Detroit house party in the 80s, son. Though, I have heard tales of the red light parties in the decade or two preceding that. Pretty epic, I’m told.
But anyway, I love this song because it brings back happy family memories and it has therefore earned a spot on my “Happy” playlist.