Mates’ Crates: Bob Sinclar – Gym Tonic

Mates’ Crates, a series headed up by our friend Andrei Sandu, dives into the tales behind records and digs deeper into our connections to music. A recent favourite this time with Bob Sinclar’s “Gym Tonic”. 

Label: Yellow Productions | Year: 1998 | Discogs: Bob Sinclar – Paradise

I’ve really enjoyed getting back to DJing out recently and exploring the higher-energy side of my collection alongside the mellow brunch-time bits I play on the show. Of all the records I’m consistently bringing to these gigs, one stands out.

Born in Paris in 1969, Christophe Le Friend performed under various aliases before settling on Bob Sinclar (Jean-Paul Belmondo’s titular character in the 1973 film “Le Manifique“) in 1998. Before international chart-toppers like “World Hold On” and “Love Generation” came his debut album, Paradise.

Most of the record is pretty good classic French house – disco string samples and filters galore. But “Gym Tonic” is different. Done right, sampling a Paradise Garage classic like Motown Sounds’ “Bad Mouthin'” was always going to end well. But dare I say that the star of the show here is Jane Fonda’s Workout Record. Nothing goes off quite like it. Tragically, Fonda didn’t feel the same, refusing to allow the official release of the record.

With the official release of Sinclar’s single blocked, opportunistic British production duo Spacedust released a “cover”, titled “Gym and Tonic” with vocals re0recorded by a session artist to avoid a dispute with Fonda. Despite conquering the UK singles chart in October 1998, it was the lowest-selling chart-topper that year.

Sinclar produced “Gym Tonic” alongside Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk – particularly interesting as “Music Sounds Better With You” by Bangalter’s side-project Stardust peaked at No.2 in the UK charts just a few weeks before Spacedust’s “cover” of Gym Tonic clinched the top spot. Dust.

As an aside, I learned that Bangalter’s father Daniel wrote Ottawan’s “D.I.S.C.O.” and The Gibson Brothers’ “Cuba”, and that Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (the other half of Daft Punk) is the great-great-grandson of Portuguese military leader and politician who was exiled to France in 1910. History.

Not sure what to make of Jane Fonda’s Workout Record having been in my collection, whereas I’ve only recently bought “Gym Tonic” and “Bad Mouthin'”.

Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and back.