With New Year’s Eve upon us, we need a throwback video that says PARTY! And all you really need to get a party started are three words: EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!
C+C Music Factory was the brainchild of Robert Clivillés and David Cole. They had a knack for writing and producing fun dance hits. Their 1990 debut album, Gonna Make You Sweat, was an international smash. The chart-topping title track is still instantly recognizable thanks to its inclusion in dozens of movies, TV shows, and commercials. But the music video for “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” came with some controversy.
The rap verses were performed by and properly credited to Freedom Williams. He also appeared in the video. The uncredited female vocalist was Martha Wash (top) of the Weather Girls. However, in the video we see model-turned-singer Zelma Davis lip-syncing to Wash’s vocals.
After discovering that C+C Music Factory was using Davis in the video, Martha Wash unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with Robert Clivillés and David Cole for credits and royalties. She later filed a lawsuit against Clivillés, Cole and Sony Music Entertainment for fraud, deceptive packaging and commercial appropriation. The case was eventually settled in 1994 and Sony asked MTV to credit Martha Wash for vocals and Zelma Davis for “visualization” in the music video.
As for everybody else in the video, you can probably guess what they’re doing.