Rock The Boat – The Hues Corporation | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: R&B (#2) and Pop (#1); 1974

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In 1974, popular artists such as John Denver and Elton John suddenly found themselves joined on the charts by a new wave of dance records. TSOP by MFSB featuring The Three Degrees led the invasion, hitting #1 R&B and pop in April.

The second salvo occurred on July 6th when the Hues Corporation sailed to the pop top spot with Rock The Boat. Wally Holmes had founded the group in 1969 with Bernard St. Clair Lee Calhoun Henderson, Hubert Ann Kelly, and Fleming Williams.

For a name, Holmes punned on zillionaire Howard Hughes’ empire. The going was slow until Holmes booked Hues into the lounge at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Hues was a hit and hit the airwaves in 1973 with Freedom For The Stallion, followed by Rock The Boat.

With Williams on lead, instead of Kelly as originally intended, Boat was launched in February to underwhelming response. Then radio “discovered” disco and latched onto the hottest disc in the clubs: Rock The Boat.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • John Florez

Lyrics Written by:

  • Wally Holmes