If you’ve been to a black celebration of any sort, you have either done or watched other people do the Electric Slide. It’s a staple in the black community and each generation passes down the routine, ensuring its survival. Where there are black people, there are electric sliders.
Real talk, I didn’t even think other cultures participated until YouTube got me together, but it’s just...different. I kind of figured that white folks were introduced to it at interracial weddings. The song most closely tied to the dance (not named “Candy”) is “Electric Boogie,” which was originally written and performed by Bunny Wailer, one of the original members of the Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh that would eventually become the world-renowned group, Bob Marley and The Wailers. Also, can we have a moment of appreciation for the awesomeness that is Bunny Wailer’s name?
While Bunny Wailer is the original songwriter, the version recorded by Marcia Griffiths is the version most people are familiar with and the one that actually charted in the early ’80s.
Well somehow, someway, a rumor recently circulated that “Electric Boogie,” the song your aunties, grandmamas, pawpaws, and overly handsy uncles can’t wait to hear at weddings and funerals alike, was written about a vibrator.
And well, because no rumor doesn’t make its way to a person who can answer it in today’s internet world, Bunny Wailer (neé Neville Livingtson, easily one of the most Jamaican names of all time) confirmed that well, yes, the song is about a vibrator. Peep game:
According to a source close to Livingston, word of the question about the origins of the song reached him in Kingston, Jamaica where he currently resides and he put the rumors to rest. “I’m surprised it took people this long to figure out” the source tells us he said. Apparently Livingston wrote the song after a girlfriend told him she didn’t need him because she had a toy she nicknamed the “electric slide”
For one, color my life changed forever. Add this to songs like SWV’s “Downtown” and Bryan Adams “Summer of ‘69" on the list of songs about sex that I had no idea were about sex. In my defense (re: “Downtown” in particular), I was young when the song dropped.
I know women name their vibrators. That’s all I’ll say about that, but maaaaaan listen; somebody get Bunny Wailer an award for being associated with so many awesome names. “Electric Slide” as a name for a vibrator has to be like, top 10 dead or alive, right? Right? Bueller? While my simple ass has always thought of sliding across a floor, Bunny’s ex was talking about going from the window....to the walls! I’ll never listen NOT think of this whenever I hear “Electric Boogie” or decide to do the dance again.
For two, have you ever actually read the words of the song? Never have I ever read them. Hell, I can’t even say that outside of the words, “it’s electric” and “boogie woogie woogie” I’d never listened to any of them for comprehension.
Here are a few of the words words to “Electric Boogie,” according to Genius.com:
You can’t see it
You gotta feel it
Ooh, it’s shakin’
She’s a pumpin’ like a matic
She’s a movin’ like electric
She sure got the boogie]
You gotta know it
Boogie woogie, woogie!]
Now you can’t hold it
Boogie woogie, woogie!]
But you know it there
Yeah here there everywhere
Well, shit. I guess it’s kind of obvious once you know, huh?
Do you know what else is important here? For years, I thought that Cameo’s “Candy” was the best song to Electric Slide to. That shit changes now. Because of the song’s not-so-hidden-meaning, it takes the song itself up several notches in awesome and it now catapults “Candy” as the best song because we all get to look at our family members doing this dance and wonder if they have any idea, thereby increasing its entertainment factor. But...
...but what if Auntie Big Ma already knows and the joke has been on us the whole time. Shit.