In Defence of Disco

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Swingers At Plato's. In side streets, shopping malls and alleyways all over town and especially in another blue collar New York discotheque.


For like their screen hero, such true disciples of the Disco gods came to dance, pure and simple. The way they moved to the tempo of the music revealed their true selves. And each move was the sensual vibe of a great lover that fascinated and fired the erotic fantasies of their onlookers.

Disco Delivery: In Defense of Disco by Richard Dyer

From a postage-stamp floor in a supper club or renovated loft to the vast spaces offered by a refurbished theatre or converted church, nowhere was safe from the Disco revolution. But wherever such bijou or cavernous establishments sprouted, the tie that bound them all together was the music and the erotic and exotic ambience of sensual sound stimulation. Disco showed no ageist, sexist or racist bias either. Mainly because it had originated in the black, Hispanic and gay inner-city communities, during the peak Disco years every minority demographic came together in an explosion of mutual admiration and trust in the bass line.

For whatever age, colour or sexual preference, everyone had one thing in common — a compelling desire to shed their inhibitions in a celebration of segued music and perpetual motion.

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No matter what underlying reason you had to Disco — great exercise, stress relief, fantasy trip, ego posing or social interaction — at no other time in dance history did so many participate so forcefully in a musical ethos. For Disco signalled the way ahead.

For liberation and tolerance. It was a revolution, a people movement for the blissed out and one that set a hopeful blueprint for future society. More lush than Soul Music, easier on the ear than hard rock, Disco weaves together a tapestry of musical styles. From Big Band swing and Broadway pizzazz, from rhythm and blues to funk, via luxurious string arrangements and sweetly sung chorals.

Dancers at Mudd Club. Until the newly syncopated sound started firing the creative juices of European composers and producers like Giorgio Moroder, Jean-Marc Cerrone, Alec R. Moroder of course became one of the key architects of the popular Disco idiom with his muse Donna Summer. Disco as a genre was also further shaped by American studio engineer Tom Moulton who pioneered the remixing and extending of a track, complete with break section, to cater to nightclub preferences. This inch single format innovation was the result of Discophiles wanting the most out of their favourite songs.

Contained in this collection are some of the tracks Mancuso would have played at those legendary house parties. Each spotlights the richness and diversity of Disco, something contemporary critics never acknowledged, even grudgingly. Because the Disco craze ran concurrently alongside the rise of Punk Rock, many viewed it as a very poor plastic relation to that anti-authoritarian musical rebellion.

Here Lies Love and the Politics of Disco-Opera

Take an evergreen standard - a hit for both the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in and Dinah Washington in Add the ethereal beat. Suffuse it with instrumental grandeur. Stand back well back or get crushed by the rush to the dance floor. The recipe for success in the Disco era was the orchestra used to create the lush background sounds.

Many bands put Orchestra in their names to signify the importance of the forty or so session musicians gathered in the studios to texture even the trickiest of rhythmic structures.

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His name might not be as familiar as Giorgio Moroder or Nile Rodgers, but two of the highlights from this collection come from the unsung hero of Disco - Boris Midney. Composer, arranger, producer, sound designer, engineer and an accomplished musician in his own right, the Soviet Union defector created a marriage of music and technology that yielded breathtaking delights. The sparsely ethereal space effect he shaped between gorgeous vocals, wild percussion and roving strings formed uniquely experimental Disco landscapes. This is what the Disco phenomenon was all about. It was one that showcased the most adept and professional singers, while consistently changing with the times, keeping up to date with the latest trends in production techniques and giving rise to an unprecedented commercial saturation that revolutionized the entire recording industry.

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All achieved on the way to becoming one of the most enduring catalogues of music in pop history. Watch this space for reviews of the compilations which are released on September Share this article:. Coat stress in the club might seem a vain anxiety, but the struggle was real even in the carefree disco heyday. Then other people would sit on them and have sex on them. Billboard launched its Disco Action dance music chart in , sending the sound of New York discotheques into the mainstream. Disco Action amplified the popularity of black artists championed by indie labels and disc jockeys onto Hot success.

With disco records dominating the charts, it meant that so too did black women.

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A freedom from the Vietnam-era apathy spreading across America, of identity politics or the foreboding times ahead. Inside the club, dancers could forget about Nixon or unemployment or the Iran Hostage Crisis and get lost in music. It was clean, grand, and Grecian in style. Alongside the glittering blue pool and saunas, it housed a cabaret with acts as diverse as Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, and a young Frankie Knuckles , an STD clinic, hamburger stand, and importantly, a disco dancefloor. Italian label Fiorucci was loved for acid-yellow overalls, glitter-fringed cowboy shirts and the good vibes at his store, which was managed by New York drag royalty Joey Arias.

Shoppers were offered free espressos to caffeinate before a long night of dancing. Nice, but… kind of vanilla. Early DJs like Terry Noel supposedly the first person to mix two songs together, though many others have made this claim still played 60s failsafes like The Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra, and the Mamas and Papas. The relationship between DJ and audience became crucial.

A good jockey constantly read the mood of the room, crafting a set to keep people on the floor. It will always live in our minds and hearts! Based on the last days of Studio 54, the slow decline is marked, like any dying music scene, by businessmen on the dancefloor. But it was also a space for twenty-somethings to figure out who they were.

To seduce, forget and learn how to be.

“Luring Disco Dollies to a Life of Vice”: Queer Pop Music's Moment

Sometimes a place to feel awkward as hell. The moral of the story? Used in jazz clubs in the s, the mirrorball really took off when those reflected shooting stars could mesmerise a floor full of high, blissed-out disco dancers. By , disco had gone well and truly mainstream.

English Disco Lovers

It was everywhere — across the charts, the radio waves, and bad wedding parties. One hit wonders get a bad rap. Like ecstasy or amphetamines, taking a Quaalude meant entry into a euphoric realm in which you were the best version of yourself. Become a robot and join the staff at Disneyland.