A Twist With Lime

Few fans of '80s dance music really know their hi-NRG from Italo disco, or synth-pop from freestyle, but they all know Lime. They were a dancefloor sensation at clubs and house parties throughout the early-1980s. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Lime was helmed by keyboard genius Denis LePage and his coincidentally-named wife, Denyse LePage.

Denis started out in the late-'60s music scene with his first outfit, Ouba, who put out an improvisational psych-rock record on the A1 label in 1968.

The band was a bomb, so Mr. LePage scrapped it for the funky soul-jazz scene and put together Le Pouls in 1974. The band produced a self-titled LP in 1976, and followed it with a 7" single, "The Miracle of Music."

These records didn't make many waves, and quickly drowned in a sea of other, better-quality releases in that genre such as Parliament, Tower of Power, Ohio Players, and many of the then-upcoming disco acts. Possibly realizing that straight-up dance grooves were the new craze, Denis tried his hand at steady four-on-the-floor beats and syncopated basslines with his Joe La Greca collaboration, Kat Mandu, which scored a hit with the 1979 instrumental "The Break."

Teaming up with other dance hit producers such as Sandy Wilbur, he continued working with La Greca and released more records for clubland, such as Diva's "Double Trouble" in 1981.

While working on those records, Denis LePage decided to start something on his own, and recruited his supposed wife (more on this later) Denyse to form his most famous of musical outfits. In 1981, the first Lime LP, Your Love, hit DJ rotations around New York City, Toronto, and Miami. It spawned two club favorites with "You're My Magician"...

...plus the record's closer and title track.

The stars seemed to align for Lime when the 1982 movie, Summer Lovers, starring Daryl Hannah, used "You're My Magician" on the soundtrack—along with other hits such as Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," and The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited"—just as their second album, Lime II, was hitting shelves. Their second release brought more dancefloor favorites with "Come and Get Your Love"...

...and their biggest (and most-sampled) hit, "Babe We're Gonna Love Tonight."

The hits kept on coming, as 1983's Lime 3 gave the world "Angel Eyes"...

...as well as "Guilty"...

...but the hit machine began to lose some steam the next year, as their fourth LP, Sensual Sensation, only produced the minor hits "Your Love"...

...and "Take it Up."

They bounced back in 1985 with the Unexpected Lovers album's title track...

Around this time, the band needed to play out more and more, and fans found it odd when many in different cities on separate coasts would call one another only to find that Lime was playing places like Los Angeles and New York City on the same night. It was later revealed that the duo had hired singers to perform as them.

To make matters worse, rumors began to circulate that Denyse LePage didn't even exist, and all of the female vocals were either hired out or performed by Denis himself. This gossip still persists to this day, and is even held by many who write about the band—including this author.

By 1986, their Take the Love LP only gave D and D their least-known club staple, "Gold Digger," as folks grew tired of the repetitious synths and shrill strains of Denyse's verses.

The next few Lime records didn't score well with club-goers, as freestyle began to dominate, and placed the band's continuing jaunts into the hi-NRG sound onto the disco backburner. 1988's A Brand New Day and 1991's Caroline left the band unnoticed by most, and no one saw hide nor hair of them until 1998 with the release of The Stillness of the Night, which—while having some new cuts—held mostly remixes.

Though none had heard any output from Lime between '92 and '97, Denis stayed busy going back to work with Joe La Greca for some weird techno, such as their "Tickle, Tickle (Don't Stop)" 12" as The Brat Brothers, and "Cousin Willie," under the moniker of The Hillbillies.

Finally, featuring a slew of different female vocalists, 2002's Love Fury album spelled the end for Lime, but not for Denis LePage. He has since come out as transgender, and has begun to release music under the name Nini No Bless (also Nini Nobless).

Here's to hoping she puts out something to rival the pleasure Lime gave me as a young dude on the dancefloor, before I began to mosh.

comments powered by Disqus