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For today's SoundTRAX we're workin' at the "Car Wash," girl

Richard Pryor and George Carlin are in the foreground with car wash workers in the back.
Universal Pictures
Car Wash

The 1976 movie "Car Wash" features Richard Pryor and George Carlin and one funky, fun soundtrack.

Not every film has to be art. Sometimes you just want to turn your brain off for a while and not ponder a movie's cinematic integrity, impressive cinematography, or which actor is going to clean up during awards season.

Car Wash, from 1976, definitely falls into the latter category.

I distinctly remember my brother and I watching it as kids on late-night TV because, well, Richard Pryor was in it and that's all we needed to know. We would watch him in anything, as long as our parents weren't around.

On a similar note: never quote a Richard Pryor routine in front of your mother. You will pay and pay dearly.

But I digress.

Car Wash centers on the employees of— you guessed it— a car wash in Los Angeles, as well as the interesting characters that drop by.

In addition to Pryor, another legendary comedian also appears in the form of George Carlin. There's also Saturday Night Live's Garrett Morris, Franklyn Ajaye, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas ("Huggy Bear" for those of you old enough to remember Starsky & Hutch), and even The Pointer Sisters.

I can't say I remember a lot of specifics about the movie, but even then, I was affected more by the music.

The soundtrack was not only a double album, it was the debut release for the funk band Rose Royce. It was also produced by Motown giant Norman Whitfield, who almost single-handedly crafted the "Motown Sound" and later, "psychedelic soul."

The compilation has 19 tracks, all Rose Royce tunes, with the exception of The Pointer Sisters joining them on the song "You Gotta Believe," and one cut that is five minutes of Richard Pryor dialogue from the film.

Um, you're not gonna want to play that in front of your mom either.

The album was a big hit, spawning three Top Ten hits and winning a Grammy Award for "Best Score Soundtrack."

But for today's SoundTRAX selection you've probably already guessed what must be played. It went to Number 1 on the Billboard pop chart and it is one joyful jam.

From the film Car Wash, it's Rose Royce with the title song.

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10 a.m.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.