Happy Anniversary: Bootsy's Rubber Band, “Bootzilla”
38 years ago today, Booty's Rubber Band - led, of course, by legendary James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins - released the debut single from their third album, Bootsy? Player of the Year, and told the tale of “the world's only rhinestone rock star doll.”
The funk Collins brings with “Bootzilla” is more than enough to make it memorable, but the lyrics are really the reason it's just one of the best things ever.
Take, for instance, the clarification by the aforementioned “rhinestone rock star doll” that he was “created by Funk-A-Tech Incorporated, makers of funky things to play with.”
Or when the doll - who's ostensibly the one singing the song, if you hadn't figured that out yet - assures listeners, “I come equipped with stereophonic funk-producin', disco-inducin' twin magnetic rock receptors.”
Or when he reminds the kids, “Teddy bears and Barbie dolls can't boogie down,” adding that “if you wanna see me boogie, all you gotta do is wind me up.”
Or when he notes that he's “a doll for all seasons, a family doll,” then quickly offers the clarification, “But I have been known to get into personal relationships.”
In his original 1978 review of Bootsy? Player of the Year for Rolling Stone, Ken Tucker described “Bootzilla” as “this record's best cut and Collins' masterpiece to date.” It's arguable that both halves of Tucker's praise still hold true to the day. At the very least, “Bootzilla” is by far the most successful single in Bootsy's Rubber Band's discography: it hit the top of the Billboard R&B Singles chart, and the Band's next highest-charting single was 1977's “The Pinocchio Theory,” which only hit #6. Given that there hasn't been a new studio album by any incarnation of the band since 1993's Blasters of the Universe, by Bootsy's New Rubber Band, it seems relatively likely that it will maintain its champion status for the long haul.
But, hey, that's okay: like the song says, “I'm a doll for all seasons.”