WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this was hardcore, deadly earnest and hilariously arch, and it blared on the coolest disco dance floors during the late ’70s.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Sergio Leono’s “spaghetti” westerns — full of grim machismo and starring a young, pre-chair-chatting Clint Eastwood — served up a decidedly Euro take on Americana.
A hypno-dance-floor moment that was noteworthy if not exactly noted back in the day.
Now swap “western” for “disco” and replace Clint Eastwood with French-Italian businessman Jacques Fred Petrus et voilà, we have a hypno-dance-floor moment that was noteworthy if not exactly noted back in the day.
We’re talking about the band Macho, formed by impresario Petrus along with Mauro Malavasi and singer Marzio Vincente. Macho released exactly one album in 1978, and it had just three tracks. But one of them was a cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s blues rouser, “I’m a Man.” Curiously enough, it was penned by none other than soft-rock icon (not a compliment) Steve Winwood, along with producer Jimmy Miller.
There’s a certain greatness to Macho’s excessive excess…
The 1967 Spencer Davis original was a fast, bluesy, three-minute stomper. Macho’s version, on the other hand, muscled up at 18 minutes. When Macho’s electric, propulsive version hit the dance floors, it put an exclamation point on what many would later call Euro disco, its harmless lesser cousin. It was a soundtrack for the lives lived by its creators, including Petrus’s untimely and uninvestigated death at the wrong end of a gun.
There’s a certain greatness to Macho’s excessive excess — and an enduring power to what they did with a much-covered song. It sounds different every time you hear it, and never more than in this version.