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The Joy Of Disco (BBC Documentary)


alphanguy74

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BBC4 also did a Queens of Disco documentary a few days ago:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NEUApMRYAsw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/I43ob-VpRrQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fFQV2mUUo1Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rZf6J6_jNPI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Thanks for finding all this. Don't think I will watch right now, as the downfall of disco and all the hatred spewed out for it always kind of annoys me. It annoys me even more since disco music kept on with a name change and a drop in quality.

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I don't know a lot about disco beyond the more famous songs, but I know that gospel singers like Tramaine Hawkins [Fall Down] and The Clark Sisters [You Brought the Sunshine] caught hell from COGIC when their songs gained crossover disco appeal. Steve Rubell invited the Clark Sisters to sing at Studio 54. Their momager, Mattie Moss Clark, was the head of COGIC's Music Ministry and she put the kibosh on that. They were reprimanded by church officials for singing at the Grammys resulting in Mattie never being able to perform with them publicly again if she wanted to keep her position.

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That's a shame, as gospel music and disco music had a lot in common - love and respect for divas with booming voices, a search for pure music - disco more than almost any other genre has a pure spark that goes right through you.

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I love disco and loved the 70s. I am surprised this show doesn't feature "Rock The Boat" which is generally regarded as the first hit disco song. Being too young, I was only able to get to Stduio 54 in 1983 when it was a ghost of itself (although I did see some incarnation of The Village People perform there). There were some really catchy tunes out of disco that have been forgotten.

This was one of my favorites growing up

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/egHuzxYgFkc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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I had been to NY before, but the first time I laid eyes on the Studio was when a revival of Cabaret was playing there.unsure.png I'm not a crazy loud dancing club type person, but I sure would have loved to have had that experience at least once. Especially if I was rich and well connected. We've talked about this before, but that whole era intrigues as well as scares the [[email protected]#$%^&*] out of me. I mean, Plato's Retreat??

Carl, you make such a great point... my ear is fixed on gospel given my upbringing, and the disco, rock, alternative, and even the Broadway my ear has been drawn to has had this gospel thread somewhere in there. Not just the soloists who came from the church, but the thumping bass and those gut punch minor chords, all very gospel. I know it sounds silly, but a song like It's Raining Men that we could all get a good laugh out of would be right at home on Sunday morning.laugh.png Well, for various reasons as I touched upon in the Kirk Cameron thread, but that's another subject.tongue.png Another disco song I like is Sylvester's You Make Me Feel. Sylvester also came out of COGIC where he was molested by a well-known member of clergy. His gospel sound infused his disco hits. He continued to be a part of the church, a member of the Hawkins family's [O Happy Day] church, the "radically inclusive", i.e., LGBT accepting, The Love Center out in the Bay area. His funeral was there. That's all so very interesting to me. The relationship between the church and the club, the gay and the straight, so close, yet so far away... and that's something the proponents of disco preach, how it erased all lines and brought all walks of life together just to have a good ass time.

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The message of the music is that you can go anywhere and be anything you want to be. It just makes you feel, instead of needing a story.

The disco artist I most feel that way with is stuff like this, especially the first, one of the most underrated songs ever:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4904429/ecstasy_passion_and_pain_touch_and_go/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r4dlObrpCc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlXKfFPx7po

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI2yTWUFquI&feature=related

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Exactly--the "Rockist" mentality (I love whoever coined that term) that in the 70s Disco was synthetic and inauthentic, compared to rock music of the day, or punk. It's not exagerating to point out that the whole disco sucks campaign was fueled by misogyny, homophobia and racism. Rock was still nearly completely a white, straight, male domain, disco was seen as feminine (with its focus on divas, and dancing), where it was more widely embraced by straight males was in the black and hispanic community, and of course gay. Unfortunately when disco did reach the mainstream around 1977, it did get kinda out of control--by '79 it saturated the radio stations, small discos were popping up in strip malls, and novelty disco singles, as well as ironically bands like The Rolling Stones appropriating disco (Miss You), a backlash was inevitable.

The best disco, IMHO (and I'm disco obsessed I admit) was largely the stuff that played at the real disco clubs--not so much places like Studio 54 where people wnet to be seen, but places like The Paradise Garage. Some of that stuff crossed over, and some of the songs that were big radio hits are very good, but Disco Duck doesn't represent legit disco, as snobby as that sounds. It reallyw as in its way at least as revolutionary as a movement and as music as rock was--and its detractors undermine the fact that it used the very best musicians, writers, producers and singers in pop music. Of course now disco has started to become acceptable for even indi rock bands to name check, but it was a long time coming (at least in North America, it never really died in Europe).

ANd rock critics often singled disco out in their criticism for having vacant lyrics. Which really is a non issue--any disco fan knows that disco wasn';t about the lyrics, they were as important as the thrythm, the vocals, etc--and that some basic mantra like "I Feel Love" or "Let's All Dance" repeated on the dancefloor takes on as much meaning, if not more, as some pseudo authentic personal lyrics by a rock band.

Donna Summer is still the hallmark IMHO--one of the few disco artists who actually had massive albums that were consistantly strong, not just singles, and managed to cross over to the mainstream while still being groundbreaking and as popular in clubs. (She was also the best selling female singer of the 70s--Diana Ross probably aside, but we'll never know as Motown was too cheap to get Ross' albums certified). There's a great book, Faking It, about the stigma many rock fans have about other forms of pop music, that points out that unlike singers of Donna's time like Aretha Franklin who are given much more cred, Donna did write or co-write nearly all her stuff, and was a forced in the production studio along with her famous collaborator Giorgio Moroder. Of course she did get some cred--David Bowie, Brian Eno and John LKennon all said that Donna Summer was the strongest voice of their generation, (John Lennon also said that her I Feel Love was the future of music, which has rung somewhat true considering how many songs have ripped it off since 1977). Of course like so many of the vocalists, Donna did come out of a gospel (and musical theatre) background.

ANyway some of my favorite disco songs that didn't make commercial crossover:

Donna Summer - Now I Need You (from her 1977, double album Once Upon a Time, a camp-tastic and also kinda spooky disco retelling of Cinderella complete with drugs):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHjgZwRNR9c

Cerrone - Look For Love:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKiGSdGgWkU

Donna Summer - Our Love (New Order loved this track so much they sampled it for the basis of Blue Monday)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uU9ikIg8FU

Boris Midney - Come Into My HEart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfT_h1fe2jw

The camp-tastic Romeo and Juliet (this is just side one--it continues on the other side) Disco Symphony by Alec Costandinos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_QNkOvNvLM

(I'm sure I'll add more, I find this a hard thread to resist--but I do love a number of the clips already posted).

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Thanks for all the songs; hadn't heard of quite a few of these.

Donna at her peak had the music and the image and probably could have had a strong career for most of the 80's...too bad various things happened, although she still had a very solid career in the 80's. I do think she deserves more credit. If she doesn't get it it may because she never sold her own personality or story as much, just her music, which led to a disconnect you didn't get with someone like Madonna.

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