Our family had this on 8-track!
I never had much interest in disco because the first music that interested me as a child was punk/post punk, so I don’t know much about it. But I’m surprised to learn that all disco is sci-fi, queer and Black.
Black, absolutely. I’d agree with that. And certainly there was a crossover between disco and sci-fi. I’d guess because there was a resurgence of sci-fi in the wake of Star Wars (or maybe Star Wars was part of a more general resurgence of sci-fi) that was more or less coincident with disco? And queer, I guess so. High-energy, un-ironically happy dance music seems to be the vibe in any gay bar I’ve been in.
But does it really apply to all disco?
Well, maybe I overstate my case… BUT the roots of it are most certainly those things… Like all over genres there are very white, safe, and boring versions of disco… but where it comes from matters…
I didn’t have to. I love disco. I have always loved disco. I will always love disco.
I was at a friend’s funeral the other year and was sitting in the hotel the night before blankly staring at an episode of Top of the Pops from 1979. It was great beginning to end for me. Disco, punk, reggae, pop. I mean Buzzcocks were the greatest pop band releasing great single after single back then. Chic were just as great (I love Dimitri from Paris’ re-edits because he fixes the one flaw in say “greatest dancer” etc. - they’re not all ten minutes long. Each one is a bona fide banger to this day).
Also, following on from Cerrone above, “I feel love” by Donna Summer is, literally the greatest song ever recorded. I had an epiphany dancing to it on a dancefloor with all the lights and that as a child. An epiphany that stayed with me for the next 40 years.
I never stopped loving chic or Donna Summer whatever fashion was trending at the time. Sometimes even when you are an ignorant child from an unfashionable end of the western part of a continent you’re still right from the get go.
I think you are partially confusing disco with novelty dancefloor songs, which most genres attract. I have much to say on that subject (positive which might be a surprise) but this is long enough already. Also disco is both a scene and, later, a set of production tropes to be applied to other musics to make them “on trend”. So when I was a kid people in Ireland thought Abba were disco, they were in their hole, they were a pop band who sometimes used disco production tropes. Boney M were though and I dare you to listen to Night flight to Venus as Rasputin starts edging into the mix without a smile on your face at the outrageous cheek they had to pull that off. Talking of novelty.
Sounds of my childhood:
Well, see, I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison, since Disco Duck is a novelty song… I’d say something like I Feel Love is probably more representative of the genre…
And honestly, The Stranglers aren’t my favorite of the first wave punk… I’d take the Damned, the Slits, or X-Ray Spex first…
Honestly, which I’d like would depend on my mood…
Post-punk and opera…
And also… let’s not forget that Malcolm McLaren wanted to make a punk version of the bay city rollers with the Sex Pistols and disrupt the music industry…
I’m ashamed to say I did too…
I do however freely admit that I Feel Love is a fantastic track.
My favourite Donna Summer track is this though. To this day it’s still on my playlist. There was a Vangelis version which I also liked as a child but I prefer the Donna Summer one now. I was obsessed with anything futuristic as a kid (still am) and both versions have a sort of futuristic vibe.
You’re absolutely right. It’s not. It’s just that all the disco tracks I could remember, apart from Disco Duck, are good!
For me, The Stranglers were one of the first bands I liked and I sort of rediscovered them recently. That TOTP version of Nice and Sleazy blows me away with their shear arrogance, almost contempt. That has to be some kind of high-watermark of punk!
Most Stranglers stuff isn’t punk at all, it’s unusually high quality pop music, but that track is pure, condensed essence of punk.
I’ve always thought of them as disco, because I think that’s how they were marketed in the US? But they are a bit before my time… But then again, the Erasure EP might be my favorite version of ABBA songs…
Well, there ya go then!
True. It’s a great track…
Disco music was a big part of my childhood but then as a teenager and 20-something it seemed too escapist. But now that I’m on the other side of 50, I see the appeal of escapism. And humans sometimes need a little help bumping together and hooking up so why not.
Which? Klaus Nomi? He was awesome! He was a German performer who had a talent for singing arias… eventually landed in NYC, where for a short time, was being scouted by Bowie:
He was also on of the earliest folks from the NYC gay/arts scene to die of AIDS, sadly…
Incidentally, regarding Bowie’s seeming interest in outsider queer artists that border on exploitation, Jayne County claimed that Bowie was interested in her work and wanted to manage her, but basically just stole lots of her style and then dumped her…
That Bowie track needs more Klaus Nomi.
Bowie never really resonated with me. I liked Bowie the man, but Bowie the artist never spoke to me.
(And I really, really can’t stand the Beatles, so I think musically, that means I come from a weird place.)
But Bowie championed my favourite ever band, Screaming Blue Messiahs. SBM consistently spoke to my very soul. Not that they ever said anything very coherent, but I got glimpses of a weird America of cars, aeroplanes, UFOs and TV evangelists that’s actually not very far from where the US is now.
There’s a review somewhere that goes - Americana as seen through the warped lens of Thatcherite Britain. That really nails it.
The front man, Bill Carter is almost entirely inarticulate when he speaks in interviews. But then he goes on stage and the w̶o̶r̶d̶s̶ imagery comes out in a raging torrent from some weird Reagan-era alternative universe.
I urge you to watch this a couple of times. I think it’s awesome in the most literal meaning of that word.
(Pay particular attention to the guitar hitting the mic stand!)
Thank you for this! I had no idea that the Divine Comedy track was a cover!
So, for the first time, I went back to the first post to see what the overall original intent or impetus was for this thread. I’m not sure why it took so long; maybe the length of the thread or just… MUSIC!
Bit of a shame that things seem much the same today. So, in the spirit of the OP, here’s a tune from a bygone era that I always feel better for having listened to.
They’ll be back.