Interesting Facts About Disco You Didn’t Know
The time that Disco existed was short-lived, but many people to this day still listen to classic from the era. Disco was the only genre in history to have an official death date. That being said, despite the hate that it received, the genre known as disco contributed a great deal of things to the music world.
Here are a few interesting things about disco and a few ways that disco helped shape the music scene:
1. It Saved Dancing
During the 70s, it was considered one of the most cultural movements at the time. We can all thanks disco for giving rise to social dancing, one of the genres most prominent aspects. It became such a sensation that it re-ignited the passion people had for dancing as a social activity. Before disco, social dancing was nothing more than a man and woman dancing with one another.
The genre allowed people to express themselves in ways other genres did not allow. People that danced to the music of disco influenced how the DJ would play the music.
2. Thank Disco for the DJ
DJs are popular all across the world. Big names like Aviici, David Guetta, and Marshmello have all made their names with the skills of one. But do they know where their profession sprouted from?
According to professor Tim Lawrence of the University of East London said, “In 1970, within a week or so of each other, David Mancuso at a private party soon called The Loft and Francis Grasso at the discotheque The Sanctuary started to develop this new form of what we now call DJing. It’s the first time that Djs, in a focused and concentrated way, selected music in response to the crowd.”
It used to be a tradition for DJs to actually announce titles between songs. While that does not always happen anymore, the way Grasso used the headphones while Djing is still copied today.
It does not matter where you are from or what culture, but the majority of techniques used by DJs today were developed in the 1970s, at the peak of disco’s popularity.
3. Inspiration of Social Liberation
As with any movement, things began slow and began picking up speed as time went on. Up until 1971, the city of New York had a law making it illegal for two men to dance together. Thanks to disco, the group dancing allowed for more freedom in the gay scene.
While the gay community benefited from the freedom it provided, disco connected vastly distinct cultures together.
“…a lot of the most influential performers were African American women who developed a really strong relationship with gay audiences. Singers like Grace Jones, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer… the list goes on, had lyrics about survival of hardship and emotional resilience that were profoundly appealing to the gay dance crowd.”
4. Showed the Power of Indie Labels
Although rock was hugely popular in the 60s and 70s, disco entrance into the music world gave rock a run for their money. Disco was outselling everything rock-n-roll by 1978 and many in the music industry could hardly believe it.
In the 70s, two indie labels took the first steps in DJ history to make it a legitimate profession. Sceptre Records began commissioning records to be made exclusively for disco.
When Saulsoul, another indie label, saw the demand for records they made for DJs, they released their first commercially in 1976.
Thanks to this era in music, we can see how powerful an indie label can be with the right product.
5. It Invented The Remix
Remixing is another aspect of music that we have to give disco credit for. Whether it’s pop, techno, or rap, these genres all have artists who have released a ‘remix’ of an original track.
The first remixed track was commissioned by Salsoul in 1976. It was a mix of Ten Percent by Double Exposure. Walter Gibbons, a DJ hired by the label, was tasked with creating a remix that could be played for a crowded dance floor.
Many big-time producers saw this as an immediate threat to their livelihood, and the fact that people could now mix music on their own was not appreciated.
6. Saturday Night Fever
Yes, this was the time of white polyester and John Travolta’s dancing. ‘Saturday Night Fever’ is still one of the most memorable movies of all time. The success of this movie shocked everyone, and thanks to this movie the face of disco changed forever. Everyone was wearing white and the polyester suit was actually a thing.
Interestingly, this wasn’t only reserved for Travolta wannabes. It was actually a big-scene thing. Everyone was rocking the white, including Cher, The Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, and, yes, even David Bowie.
The biggest reason for the success of this movie lied in the fact that the movie had so many different and active social-matters that were connected to social, racial and life existence questions.
7. Disco Clubs
Disco music was strictly reserved for disco clubs. At 254 West 54th Street, New York City, one of the most infamous clubs ever made. The club was simply named ‘Studio 54.’ Disco clubs had massive dance floors and ‘Studio 54’ was no exception.
It had colored lights and hundreds of people dancing all night long, from different society layers. Disco era brought everyone together. Everyone was equal.
Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager made a real ‘boom’ with this place. Studio 54 had interesting people, great drinks and it had people always pulling back to come for more. The best Studio 54 story is: IRS closed the place down in 1979 when they found garbage bags of drugs and money stashed throughout the club.
What did you think about the facts you learned about disco? Did you know any of these before?