We’re ending our week of 70s Disco with some more megahits! But first, here are a few interesting tidbits about the genre via Wikipedia:
The early disco sound was largely an urban American phenomenon. The genre of music was popular from the mid to late 1970s. Its initial audiences were club-goers from the African American, Latino, gay and psychedelic communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Disco hit the television airwaves with Soul Train in 1971 hosted by Don Cornelius, then Marty Angelo’s Disco Step-by-Step Television Show in 1975, Steve Marcus’ Disco Magic/Disco 77, Eddie Rivera’s Soap Factory and Merv Griffin‘s Dance Fever, hosted by Deney Terrio, who is credited with teaching actor John Travolta to dance for his upcoming role in the hit movie Saturday Night Fever.
In December 1977, the film Saturday Night Fever was released. The film was marketed specifically to broaden disco’s popularity beyond its primarily black and Latin audiences. It was a huge success and its soundtrack became one of the best selling albums of all time.
Factors that have been cited as leading to the decline of disco in the United States include economic and political changes at the end of the 1970s as well as burnout from the hedonistic lifestyles led by participants. In the years since Disco Demolition Night, some social critics have described the backlash as implicitly macho and bigoted, and an attack on non-white and non-heterosexual cultures.
In January 1979, rock critic Robert Christgau argued that homophobia, and most likely racism , were reasons behind the backlash, a conclusion seconded by John Rockwell. Craig Werner wrote: “The Anti-disco movement represented an unholy alliance of funkateers and feminists, progressives and puritans, rockers and reactionaries. Nonetheless, the attacks on disco gave respectable voice to the ugliest kinds of unacknowledged racism, sexism and homophobia.” Legs McNeil, founder of the fanzine Punk, was quoted in an interview as saying, “the hippies always wanted to be black. We were going, ‘fuck the blues, fuck the black experience’.” He also said that disco was the result of an unholy union between homosexuals and blacks.
In 1979 the music industry in the United States was undergoing its worst slump in decades, and disco, despite its mass popularity, was blamed. The producer-oriented sound was having difficulty mixing well with the industry’s artist-oriented marketing system. Harold Childs, senior vice president at A&M Records, told the Los Angeles Times that “radio is really desperate for rock product” and “they’re all looking for some white rock-n-roll”. Gloria Gaynor argued that the music industry supported the destruction of disco because rock music producers were losing money and rock musicians were losing the spotlight.
Read the whole story here.
SMH, ain’t that some shit? Anyway (what else is new), enjoy these hits:
Donna Summer w/Brooklyn Dreams – Heaven Knows
Donna Summer – On The Radio
Donna Summer – Last Dance
Donna Summer – MacArthur Park