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Lowdown (Boz Scaggs song)

"Lowdown" is a song originally recorded in 1976 by Boz Scaggs for his album Silk Degrees. The song was co-written by Scaggs and keyboardist David Paich. Paich, along with fellow "Lowdown" session musicians bassist David Hungate and drummer Jeff Porcaro, would later go on to help form the band Toto.

Artwork for Dutch vinyl single
Single by Boz Scaggs
from the album Silk Degrees
B-side"Harbor Lights"
ReleasedJune 1976
Format7" single
Length3:14 (single version) 5:16 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Boz Scaggs, David Paich
Producer(s)Joe Wissert

Release and reactionEdit

Initially, Silk Degrees received a lukewarm commercial response and, similarly, the first single released from the album, "It's Over" barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at #38. One day, however, a Cleveland R&B radio DJ began playing "Lowdown" straight off the album. This was during a time when DJs had much more say in what was played.[3] Public response was very positive and soon Scaggs' record label, Columbia, sent the song to other R&B-oriented radio stations for airplay. It began being played on Top 40 Pop stations as well and, when it was officially released as a single in June 1976, it became Scaggs' first major hit, eventually peaking at number three on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. It was also successful on the R&B and Disco Singles charts, peaking at number five on both. The song was also a major hit in Canada, peaking at number two. It was a minor hit in the UK, reaching #28. Scaggs is quoted as saying that the success of "Lowdown" was 'an accident' and that, even though it was their favorite from Silk Degrees, he and the others involved in the making of the song thought there 'wasn't a chance in hell' that the song would be released as a single.[3] The single was certified gold by the RIAA for sales of one million copies and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song at the 19th Annual Grammy Awards.


  • In 1996 Scaggs recorded an unplugged jazz version for his Fade into Light album.
  • In 2001 saxophonist Jimmy Sommers recorded a new arrangement with rapper Coolio on background vocals. The song was released on his album 360 Urban Groove.[4][5]
  • Another version was recorded by Incognito, for the 2010 album Transatlantic R.P.M., featuring singers Chaka Khan and Mario Biondi. This rendition was also included on Biondi's 2013 album, '[SUN.
  • Miki Howard recorded another version for her Pillow Talk album in 2006.
  • U.S. house music producer Kenny Summit heavily sampled the song in his 2013 track The Dirty Lowdown.

Usage in filmEdit

  • The producers of the movie Saturday Night Fever asked for permission to use "Lowdown" but Scaggs' manager turned them down and instead used it in the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar.
  • Also, this song was used in the David Fincher movie Zodiac in a scene depicting real life character Robert "Bob" Graysmith telling Inspector Dave Toschi what he knew about the Zodiac Killer.[6]
  • The song was also used in the episode "Gimme an O!" of the J.J. Abrams television series Felicity, where Noel (Scott Foley) is doing sit-ups in preparation for his date with Felicity (thinking that they're going to have sex afterwards), and "Lowdown" is playing on his little stereo.
  • It was also used in the 2013 film Mood Indigo and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Chart performanceEdit



  1. ^ Pearson, Paul (June 7, 2007). "Boz Scaggs, Silk Degrees (1976)". PopMatters. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  2. ^ "Soft Rock Music - What is Soft Rock? - Oldies Music Songs and Artists". 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  3. ^ a b Stoute, Lenny. "Lucky numbers". The Star. Toronto.
  4. ^ "360 Urban Groove overview".
  5. ^ "Jimmy Sommers Bio".
  6. ^ "Lowdown by Boz Scaggs Songfacts". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1976-10-02. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  9. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 22 October 1976
  10. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart". Billboard. 1976-09-18. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  11. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 10/02/76". 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". Retrieved 2016-10-11.

External linksEdit