November 20, 2005
Primer: Disco in the now
In 2005, The Year Of Our Pop Music, many acts/artists are looking back to disco music for inspiration. Both Madonna and Goldfrapp cited Cerrone as something they listened to while making their respective records. When I was a kid I had a double record set, I think by K-Tel, called A Night At Studio 54. Four sides sequenced to one long mix. It had Musique, Cher, Cheryl Lynn, KC And The Sunshine Band, etc. It was brilliant!
Disco was the music of the disenfranchised. It came about as a reaction to music (rock, punk, AM radio lite) that was not speaking to various elements of society. Rock really was - and is - white patriarchal theme music, legitimized by the masses. It's not surprising that there were disco record-burning events, but really, who burns music? It's like burning books! Those white baseballers were threatened by its existence, or more importantly, having to acknowledge the existence of the Latinos, the gays, the single women, the city dwellers, the chic immigrant Eurotrash.
Of course, in 2005 everything is hybrid, with white boys pretending to be black boys, straight boys pretending to be gay, but it will never be cool to like disco. The Stuart Prices, Alison Goldfrapps and Will Gregorys may be popular now, but they weren't always. We have a small group of artists who carry it along today, like Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and lots of electronic bands, particularly in Europe, where they are chilled out about this stuff! We have a few biggies now - the divas like Kylie and the genre busters like Scissor Sisters. Viva la disco!
Ive compiled some mixes of what I think are the greatest disco tracks. I know I have left a lot off, but there are some real gems in here that not everyone will know, like "Doctor's Orders" or "Native New Yorker."
CD 1: 1 Jive Talkin’ / Bee Gees 2 Take Me Home / Cher 3 He’s The Greatest Dancer / Sister Sledge 4 Never Can Say Goodbye / Gloria Gaynor 5 Shadow Dancing / Andy Gibb 6 When Will I See You Again / Three Degrees 7 Forget-Me-Nots / Patrice Rushen 8 Heaven Knows / Donna Summer 9 Love’s Theme / Love Unlimited Orchestra 10 It’s Raining Men / Weather Girls 11 I’m Coming Out / Diana Ross 12 Dancing Queen / Abba 13 Night Fever / Bee Gees 14 The Hustle / Van McCoy 15 If I Can’t Have you / Yvonne Elliman 16 Heaven Must Have Sent You / Bonnie Pointer 17 Take Your Time (Do It Right) / SOS Band 18 Last Dance / Donna Summer
Disco Stories. I was in about 4th - 6th grade when disco was hot. I have many disco stories, but the most notable one is a moment I had at the Big Shanty Roller Rink in Kennesaw GA, skating to "Dim All The Lights" by Donna Summer. I remember a feeling of total bliss when Donna hit the long note that takes the song from ballad to beats. I think I even closed my eyes. [note - one reader of this blog was most likely there that night! Lova ya, troll!] I also remember coming home from summer camp and finding that my Mom had bought me a 45 of "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees. Wasn't she sweet? It was in that brown RSO sleeve with the red cow. Remember that? (see below)
"Emotion" by Samantha Sang was the first single I ever bought. As for that great Cher record above, I made my mother drive all over metro Atlanta to find it (K-Mart didn't stock it!). It's not solid disco, but side 1 is one of the best disco sides there ever was. I also recommend Donna Summer's greatest hits in any version (there are like 4), the Bee Gees hits and Diana Ross's Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards collab, diana.
For post-disco, check out Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack to Cat People, with the gorgeous "Irena's Theme." [I still have my Nastassja Kinski/cat hologram button, Laurie!].
CD 2: 1 Get Down On It / Kool and The Gang 2 Good Times / Chic 3 Supernature / Cerrone 4 I Love You Donna Summer 5 Streetlife / Randy Crawford 6 I’m Every Woman / Chaka Khan 7 Boogie Oogie Oogie / Taste of Honey 8 Say The Word / Cher 9 Native New Yorker / Odyssey 10 I Will Survive / Gloria Gaynor 11 Funkytown / Lipps Inc. 12 Grease Theme/ Frankie Valli 13 Disco Nights / GQ 14 Heart Of Glass / Blondie 15 Stomp! / The Brothers Johnson 16 We Are Family / Sister Sledge 17 Doctor's Orders / Carole Douglas 18 Everlasting Love / Carl Carlton 19 YMCA / Village People
What songs did I not include?
Do you have a disco story?
Thanks to all my trolls who know the importance of a good disco song! See you at the roller rink. I swear those will come into vogue again soon...
Posted by xolondon