DISCO. By: Michelle Chebeir. TIMELINE AND GEOGRAPHY. Cultural origins: Scotland England France Italy U.S.A.
By: Michelle Chebeir
Disco is a genre of pop music that blends elements of funk and soul music. It began in the early 1970’s and then was popularized in discothèques in the mid-1970s. Disco songs dominated mainstream pop until the late 1970s and early 1980’s.
kool and the gang
earth wind and fire
kc and the sunshine band
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There are a few possible reasons disco caught on. One is that the music was just good, and people like good music. Another is that after the end of the Vietnam War in 1974 the American people wanted a little less politics in their leisure time, and disco was about as un-political as one could get. In those years of the energy crisis and struggling economy and inflation, a light-hearted getaway once per week at the disco was a welcome distraction. This brings up another plus for disco: it was cheap. For between 3 to10 dollars, one could get into a club/discotheque and dance the night away.
such as sheer, flowing Halston dresses for women and shiny polyester shirts for men with pointy collars, preferably open at the chest, often worn with double-knit suit jackets. Disco clubs had a club culture which had many African-American, gay and Hispanic people.
Some cities had disco dance instructors or dance schools which taught people how to do popular disco dances such as "touch dancing", the "hustle" and the "cha cha." There were also disco fashions that discotheque goers wore for nights out at their local disco,
In addition to the dance and fashion aspects of the disco club scene, there was also a thriving drug subculture, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud music and the flashing lights, such as cocaine (known as blow) and the 1970’s club drug Quaalude, which suspended motor coordination and turned one’s arms and legs to Jell-O. The massive quantities of drugs ingested in discotheques produced the next cultural phenomenon of the disco era: rampant promiscuity and public sex. The dance floor became the central arena of seduction.
Disco can perhaps be divided into several phases.
Early disco (1970-1975) included early 1970s rhythm and blues hits such as "Rock the Boat" by The Hues Corporation. While eminently danceable, early disco often lacked many of the distinguishing features that would later be associated with disco music, such as the clap track (the sound of clapping hands counting the beat) or the soaring choruses of violins. The success of the instrumental hit "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited/Barry White and the novelty song "Do the Hustle" by Van McCoy signaled the arrival of a new sound, smooth and frothy, just perfect for the mid-1970’s revival of elaborate dance steps. In fact, one of the primary characteristics of disco was just how often the songs themselves were about dancing.
High disco (1976-1980) is the sound most often associated with disco by the general public. It reached something of a climax with the film Saturday Night Fever in 1977 and its sidetrack full of hits by the Bee Gees. That same year saw the opening of a virtual temple to the disco lifestyle where gays and straights of all ethnicities danced to the music that had been born in black and gay clubs a few years previously.
During disco's post-classic period (1980-1982), its earlier momentum slowed in the face of increasingly violent negative reactions on the part of its foes, who saw disco as shallow, effete, and to a great extent, too queer
queer. Post-classic disco thus went largely undercover and was heard primarily in gay clubs.
“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life with disco by the general public. It reached something of a climax with the film See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queenFriday night and the lights are lowLooking out for the place to goWhere they play the right music, getting in the swingYou come in to look for a kingAnybody could be that guyNight is young and the music’s high”
DO THE HUSTLE
“Express yourselfIs a wonderful thoughtBut right here, right now, please do not!Specific moves fit the groovesYou got nothing more to proveCoordinate your steps and clapAvoid the individuality trapTake a walk on the wild sideAnd the African-American women singDo the Hustle!Do the Hustle!Do the Hustle!”
“Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.Music loud and women warm,I’ve been kicked around since I was born.And now its all right. its ok.And you may look the other way.We can try to understandThe New York times effect on man”
That’s the Way I like It – KC and the Sunshine Band
Staying Alive – Bee Gees
I Will Survive- Gloria Gaynor
Disco bashing became a major preoccupation in 1977. rock rediscovered a rage it had been lacking since the '60s, but this time the enemy was a culture with plastic and “feminine” musical tastes. Examined in light of the following political backlash, it's clear that the slogan of this movement--"Disco Sucks!"--was the cry of the angry white male. The 'Disco Sucks' campaign was a white, macho reaction against gay liberation and black pride more than a musical reaction against drum machines.
July 12, 1979: This was Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. Two Chicago radio DJs came up with the idea of having people bring unwanted disco records to the stadium. The spurned records would be burned between doubleheader games with the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Lead by the chant, “Disco Sucks!”, most of the records weren’t burned, but sailed through the stands during the game - nearly stirring a riot. Some fans started their own fires and mini-riots. There was so much commotion that the ballplayers couldn’t even finish the last game of the doubleheader.
The End and The Transformation with disco by the general public. It reached something of a climax with the film
By the 1990s, Disco had already returned as a new genre with a new name: dance music. Its survival and triumphant re-emergence was ensured by 1980’s performers such as Madonna, whose 1983 release "Burning Up" combined a New Wave techno sound with the traditional disco beat.
As dance music continued to evolve, by the 21st century, it split into innumerable sub-genres: house, trance, hypno, jungle, and many other subtle combinations and variations. Electronically produced, digitally manipulated sounds predominated. Disc Jockeys became celebrities in the 1990s, selling mixes and re-mixes of dance songs that were bought not for the vocalists or performers, but for the mixing talents of the DJs.
And throughout its complex evolution, Gays remained the most loyal fans of disco and dance music.