The only reference I’ve ever seen to “I Missed the Funky Boogie Train” is on the back of a 4-story 8-track tape at Pop Century, when I was lurching around in a sleep-deprived, magic-saturated state, desperate for Mickey waffles and a couple more hours in bed, but jonesing for those last few hours in the park before heading back to MCO.
The name lends itself to so many things! My son’s already made great use of it. After I told a really lame joke recently he turned to me in mock derision saying, “Mom, you really missed the funky boogie train.” I nearly fell on the floor laughing. Or the other day, when comforting a sad friend, reminding her of the good times ahead, “But honey, we are on the funky boogie train!” Or my son saying to me, “Mom, I don’t even have a ticket for the funky boogie train!”
I figure it’s gotta just be a parody. After all, Google can’t find any reference to it, so it must never have happened, right? But it’s so perfect…it sounds like my friend Karen and I should have got down to its funky grooves, just like we learned the Hustle in our disco dancing class at Tam High, circa 1976. (We weren’t in high school yet, so I for one felt quite sophisticated walking to the school in the evenings, having enrolled in the class through some Parks and Rec program.)
Sitting here after the turn of the millennium, it may seem strange to imagine a song with such an outrageous name. I mean, that’s obviously a parody, right? But, well, no. Listen to a little Parliament-Funkadelic, or better yet watch the video below (it is a seriously awesome performance). Consider that people were indeed shaking their groove things to the Meco Star Wars Catina Theme remix, and a disco version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, adorably titled “A Fifth of Beethoven.”
And don’t forget that the nation was in economic crisis, gas prices and inflation were high (sound familiar?). People were watching movies like Taxi Driver or Skatetown USA, depending on whether they wanted to delve into, or escape, the bleakness of the times. The smiley face button didn’t become a ubiquitous icon because people were really happy…it happened because we needed to remember to smile. Have you watched Saturday Night Fever lately? It’s not really as upbeat as one might think, given the dance craze it spurred. In reality, the 1970s were part Xanadu, part The Ice Storm.
In fact, just thinking about the 1970s make me want a ride on that train…I hope it hasn’t left.