"Midnight at the Oasis" is a 1973 song written by David Nichtern. It was recorded by the singer Maria Muldaur for her self-titled album and is her best-known recording, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 in the UK Singles Chart in the spring of 1974. Billboard ranked it as the No. 13 song for 1974. It was also nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards, held in 1975. In Canada, the song reached #2 in the RPM magazine singles charts and #45 in the year-end chart.
The song is a saucy, teasing offer of a desert love affair, in a fantasy setting that owes more to Rudolph Valentino sheik movies than to real Middle Eastern deserts. AllMusic reviewer Matthew Greenwald describes the song as "so sensual and evocative that it was probably one of the most replayed records of the era and also may be responsible for the most pregnancies from a record during the mid-'70s". Some of the lyrics are doubtlessly suggestive (such as: "let's slip off to a sand dune ... and kick up a little dust"; "you won't need no camel ... when I take you for a ride") But the tone is playful throughout. "Midnight" features a 1970s-defining instrumental bridge, particularly memorable for the guitar work of Amos Garrett.
The lyric "Cactus is our friend" is used several times in the song, but cacti are actually New World plants, native to North America, South America and the West Indies, and are not naturally found on the Arabian Peninsula.
In 2008 Muldaur recalled that she wanted to add the song to her album as an "afterthought" at the last minute. She has acknowledged that people do approach her at her concerts or events and claim that, because of this song, sexual encounters, such as loss of virginity and pregnancy, have ensued.
|Canada RPM Top Singles
|US Billboard Hot 100
Brand New Heavies version
A version of this song was recorded by the group Brand New Heavies, attributed to "Brand New Heavies featuring N'Dea Davenport". This version reached #13 in the UK in 1994 and was their biggest hit up until the departure of Davenport, when Sometimes made #11. The song featured on their 1994 album Brother Sister.
UK CD Single
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Radio Version) - (3:48)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Rogers Brand New Radio Anthem) - (4:35)
UK CD Single BNHCD 05
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Radio Version) - (3:48)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Extended Version)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Opaz 7" Version)
- "Midnight at the Oasis" (Roger's Brand New Radio Anthem) - (4:35)
- Simon Bartholomew
- N'Dea Davenport - Vocals
- Jan Kincaid
- Richard Stilgoe
- Andrew Levy
In 2004, Muldaur's original version was featured in the CD "What Is Hip: Remix Project 1", a compilation of pop songs remixed for the clubs. The single is billed as the "Cuica Remix", with the track extended from its 3:49 recording to 4:49, incorporating portions of the background vocal, strings, and instrumental break with semi-chilled out Ibiza-themed elements.
In popular culture
- An instrumental version was used in the 1975 movie White Line Fever, as was another David Nichtern song, "Drifting and Dreaming of You".
- It was performed in American Pie at the prom.
- In the short lived Jenny McCarthy Show on MTV an entire skit revolved around people buried up to their necks like a garden of human lettuce heads being forced to sing this song on command by their deranged captor.
- The song is sung by the lounge act at the hotel in Sofia Coppola's film Lost in Translation.
- The American multiracial female R&B duo Harem took their name and the concept for their self-titled 1995 album from the song.
- In Christopher Guest's 1997 film Waiting for Guffman, the characters Ron (Fred Willard) and Sheila (Catherine O'Hara) audition for the play Red, White and Blaine with a comically inept performance of the song.
- On the November 18, 2000 episode of Saturday Night Live (season 26, episode 6), during the "Rap Street" segment, Tom Green (as MC Kevin Gustafson) performs a rap on top of this song.
- In the 2002 film The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Adam Garcia's character, Andy, plays this song while sitting on the floor of his room and Rosario Dawson's character, Alisa, comes in singing and dancing.
- In 2007's Whisper, where character Roxanne (Sarah Wayne Callies) lulls the kidnapped boy, David Sandborn (Blake Woodruff) to sleep.
- In Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, Gex parodies the song playing in the level Tut TV.
- The song is used as the closing theme to The King's Court after Cleveland Cavaliers games and The 10th Inning after Cleveland Indians games (both hosted by Greg Brinda) on WKNR AM 850 in Cleveland.
- In 2005, Howling Pig Smelly Soaps & Other Stuff of Seattle, Wash. began selling soap and other products with a scent called "Midnight at the Oasis", inspired by the song.
- In the Gilmore Girls episode "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis", a cuckoo-type clock (in Dwight's house) is featured that plays "Midnight at the Oasis" on the hour.
- In the episode "Undertow" from The Wire, the song plays as Beatrice "Beadie" Russell meets with an old boyfriend in a diner. Since "The Wire" primarily used source cues as a soundtrack/music score, the usage of this song is equivalent to an inclusion in the soundtrack.
- In the Heroes episode "Acceptance" in 2009, the song is playing in the background of the flashback sequence when young Nathan Petrelli is playing with his toy airplane.
- The song was frequently used as bumper music on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell.
- ^ Fontenot, Robert (February 21, 2016). "Too Much Information: The 10 Ickiest '70s Love Songs". About.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "Top Pop Singles" (PDF). Billboard. New York, New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. December 28, 1974. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Song Review: Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "Amos Garrett". Homespun Video. Archived from the original on 2006-11-05. Retrieved .
- ^ Maria Muldaur (4 of 8) - Midnight at the Oasis on YouTube from Living Legends (January 8, 2008)
- ^ Maria Muldaur at Discogs
- ^ "RPM Top Singles". RPM Weekly. RPM. 8 June 1974. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "RPM Pop Music Playlist". RPM Weekly. RPM. 22 June 1974. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "Adult Contemporary". Billboard. 4 May 1975. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "The Top 200 Singles of '74". RPM Weekly. RPM. 28 December 1974. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "Topp 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Music Outfitters. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ Arena, James. Stars of '90s Dance Pop: 29 Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. p. 232. ISBN 147666756X. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ "Rap Street". SNL Transcripts. Retrieved 2018.