The Number Ones: Ohio Players' “Love Rollercoaster” - Stereogum

Billboard #1 Hits:#388: “Love Rollercoaster”- Ohio Players. January 31, 1976. #1 for 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.

  • Single: “Love Rollercoaster”- Ohio Players
  • Record Company- Mercury
  • Genre: Funk
  • Written by William Beck, Leroy Bonner, Marshall Jones, Ralph Middlebrooks, Marvin Pierce, Clarence Satchell, and James Williams
  • Time: 2:52
  • B-side:”It’s All Over”
  • Album- Honey
  • Grade: B
  • Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.

When I hear or think of this song- the first thing that always comes to mind of course it an urban legend- that the scream between 1:24- and 1:28 on the single version of the song was the voice of a person being murdered live while the tape was rolling. Actually it was band member Billy Beck. The urban legend varies as to who the murdered victim was- including my favorite that it was the screams of a girl who had fallen off a roller coaster and was screaming to her death. Another is it was a rabbit being killed outside of the studio and it was the rabbit’s screams accidentally being picked up by the bands recording equipment. And of course- another is the model who appeared nude on the Honey album cover- Ester Cordet- it was her screams after being burned by the super heated honey used for the photo shoot.

According to band member Jimmy “Diamond” Williams-

There is a part in the song where there’s a breakdown. It’s guitars and it’s right before the second verse and Billy Beck does one of those inhaling-type screeches like Minnie Ripperton did to reach her high note or Mariah Carey does to go octaves above. The DJ made this crack and it swept the country. People were asking us, “Did you kill this girl in the studio?” The band took a vow of silence because you sell more records that way.


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