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The Joy Of Disco (BBC Documentary)


alphanguy74

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Yeah the whole "Act II" of Once Upon a Time is stunning,and truly shows off the genius of Moroder--particularly the segue between Now I Need You and Working the Midnight Shift, and I love how Queen for a Day brings it out of the synth based music the act is mainly, into acoustic instruments near the end. If You Got It is from the non disco side of the two record set (aka Act III) and I think is meant to represent when Donna/Cinderella gets her dress. LOL

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Which part is the drugtaking supposed to take place in? Before she becomes Cinderella?

It's funny because you always hear that everything on an album outside of singles is filler, but they seemed to try to take a lot of chances on the material.

I can't get that Now I Need You out of my head. The Gregorian chants alone are so ahead of their time. If I had a lot of money I'd get that song out right now. I think it would be a huge #1 hit.

Working the Midnight Shift is also way, way out of place for 1977. It sounds so New Wave, and so early MTV.

I also like the "Over 70 minutes of music" on those covers. I guess that was just slapped on by the label but it makes you feel like they have a lot of pride in putting out quality and quantity music.

The comments sections on these songs on Youtube are a drama of their own - the AIDS stuff (again), and someone saying this reminds them of when they were a male prostitute in 1981, and so on.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMAnzWNoGKY is the druggie track (though I suppose it's open to interpretation). It really is a great album, it and the double album Bad Girls are I think the only two full on disco masterpieces in terms of consistant albums, though I like a number of Moroder's concept albums (even earlier Donna Summer ones like Four Seasons of Love which is almost jazz/disco, and I Remember Yesterday where each song skips a few decades from flapper styles music, to wall of sound, to Motown and ending in I Feel Love which is meant to represent the future).

The over 70 minutes label was slapped on the cd reissues (Bad Girls has since been released in Universal's Deluxe line though they fucked up and put on the mono version of Walk Away's 12" remix on disc two). I think the Donna/Giorgio team truly were ahead of their time, yet they managed to bridge the more commercial and, for lack of a better term, hardcore "arty" sides of disco. I'll have to read those comments--there was a great blog post I found once, and of course can't find now, about someone unearthing his copy of Once Upon a Time and playing it and how it reminded him of the pre-AIDS era and brough back memories of all his friends.

Donna also performed a bit of Faster on her 1980 ABC tv special, I think I posted it in the thread you created about the Melanie/Liza tv special.

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A few of the videos with some comments, and all the usual drama.

The person who made the AIDS comment also said that gays could accept Now I Need You, but the public couldn't, that gays were used to this due to Patrick Cowley. Then I looked up Cowley and saw that he was one of the early victims of AIDS, before it even really had a name. It's such a stark reminder of the fantasy and brutal reality which makes up disco - many people were escaping from everything through this music, and some never got to have an escape.

This music is so hypnotic - I wonder what it must have been like hearing it back then, in a club, or owning it on vinyl. I know vinyl has made something of a comeback, although I guess they don't release any old albums on vinyl now.

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Cowley was a bit later really--though he did an epic (I think 1982) remix of I Feel Love. The album did go gold, but didn't do well outside of discos (although I Love You was a UK hit--the UK charts are very strange with Donna, often the opposite of what charted in the US which is strange as she has such a Euro sound--a British friend of mine mentioned how Last Dance simply is not known over there the way it is in N America)... I think there definitely is a sadness to disco now in a way as it represented a period where gay rights were starting to come around, before that got all shot to hell due to AIDS.

Some of those comments are too much, though it's nice to see that the songs did make an impression with disco goers. I would love to go to a club that still played stuff like this. (Back in Montreal there was a disco monthly night but they mainly played the radio standards--very disappointing).

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What I like, and what you mentioned before, is that you could dance to this but it's still music which they take seirously and work on, whereas now there is more of a self-seriousness. And you didn't have marketing like Katy Perry where ZOMG Donna Summer has blue hair! She. Has. Blue. Hair!!!

Anyway, thanks for mentioning these, as I'd never bothered to listen to them before. I'd read some of the reviews on allmusic (which are fascinating in some cases), but hadn't listened to most of the songs.

I'd never even heard of Madleen Kane. I liked that suite you posted. Wikipedia makes it sound like she had some solid success, although that is sometimes written like PR.

I always love that Romen and Juliet song you posted. My favorite part is when the guy starts talking really really fast. I also like the way the woman says "Romeeeeeo" and "Julllliet." Or am I just making all that up? laugh.png

What Donna songs were hits in the UK but not here?

That always interests me - like I think Rick Astley had a #1 in the US which wasn't even popular in the UK (Together Forever).

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I Feel Love is Donna's biggest hit in the UK, I believe.

She never had major major success there, but as Eric mentioned, her chart history there is almost opposite of what it was in the US.

The UK has a strange history with disco anyway, it didn't seem particularly big there in the 70's, only years later did it seem like they developed some appreciation for it

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That's very much true. I know the club scene there wasn't even to well known for discos (Heaven which is still a gay club opened in the late 70s). I know a Coronation Street star (I think I got the soap right) covered Donna's Love's Unkind and had a big hit with it--a song that never did anything in the US.

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