BARRY COURTER: Lisa, if I said to you the words "hotel motel," what would you respond?
LISA DENTON: Holiday Inn! I'm not the world's biggest rap fan, but even I know how that lyric ends.
BARRY: I can honestly say that "Rapper's Delight" is one of the few songs that had a big impact on me. I was working at Record Bar in Eastgate when it came out in 1979, and no one had ever heard anything like it. I still have the 12-inch single in the blue sleeve. It wasn't the first rap song, but it was the first one to break through to the masses, and it opened the way for many others.
LISA: And it is some fun. "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie, to the hip hip hop." Now you've got me singing like the Sugarhill Gang. That song is 14 minutes, 37 seconds long. And they recorded it in a single take.
BARRY: Its release changed music for sure. Now, we can argue for better or for worse -- I never much liked gangster rap and think a lot of the misogynistic lyrics have done a lot of harm -- but that was a fun song. And we are talking about it because the guys with The Communicators are going to perform it and other notable rap songs on Friday at Rhythm & Brews. Among their previous special events were doing Beck's "Odelay" and The Beastie Boys' "Ill Communication." They are worth checking out, "but first I gotta bang bang the boogie to the boogie ..."
LISA: We could kick it old school all weekend. The tour of "Rock of Ages" stops at the Tivoli on Sunday. That's the show built around classic rock hits from the 1980s. You'll hear songs by Styx, Journey, Twisted Sister and Poison, among others.
It sounds a little "Glee" to me. Or "Guitar Hero." One of the songs is "Wanted Dead or Alive," and I'm known for a particularly memorable rendition of that Bon Jovi classic on the video game.
BARRY: Maybe I was more into rap than hair bands back in the day because I looked better in Adidas high tops, black Levis and big gold chains than leopard-print spandex. I've come around to it, though the tights are still not an option. How much would it take to get you to sing that song, by the way?
LISA: How about you slip into your spandex, and I'll sing Bon Jovi?
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354. Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6281.