origins of fear/hatred of disco

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Its interesting to often see otherwise open-minded forward thinking people dismiss the entire category of dance music including old disco, house, etc., IDM (even the term suggests that regular dance music must be dumb), and all sorts of electronica. Origins/reasons for this behavior? And how much does it annoy you?

Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I really need to dust off my thesis and post it here.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:50 (sixteen years ago) link

re house/techno, chuck eddy started it.

Ronan (Ronan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:52 (sixteen years ago) link

(joking)

Ronan (Ronan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:52 (sixteen years ago) link

People who can't dance? People who are threatened by music that isn't overtly masculine or earnest in easily recognizable ways? (Those are two different groups of people)

Don't know really.

David Allen (David Allen), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it.

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Spencer, I'd love to read this. I have an essay somewhere in my head about this very topic as well.

As someone who grew up on dance/disco music, and later discovered rock music in college, I feel I'm in the minority -- in brief.

donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:56 (sixteen years ago) link

That said, I think I was too young to understand the more practical reasons why disco was hated (not the more instrinsic, homophobic, machismo related issues.) Michaelangelo pointed out, during one of the times we were hanging out when a friend from Austin was visiting, that the output of disco product in the late 70s was so effluent that it almost bankrupted the music industry, essentially. It took Michael Jackson's Thriller to get things back to speed.

Matos should DEFINITELY interject here.

donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:00 (sixteen years ago) link

"Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it."
-- Dadaismus (dadaismu...), April 5th, 2005.

yeah i personally think that has something, maybe everything to do with it.

Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:01 (sixteen years ago) link

Lack of visual proof that the music is "real".

The Sensational Sulk (sexyDancer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:02 (sixteen years ago) link

I think it is absolutely true that everyone who has ever refuted dance music, Dance Music, Dahhnce Muzik etc. have done so directly as a result of their own realisation that they could not co-ordinate their own body movements in time to any sort of formulaic rhythm, probably via some sort of humiliating experience involving a crush when they were 14.

Sven Basted (blueski), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:02 (sixteen years ago) link

I can only speak from my 11-year-old perspective: it seemed like people were reacting more to the disco culture (once gone mainstream) than the music itself. There was definitely some racism and (a lot of) homophobia, but it was also the polyester leisure suits, the discoing grannies, the how-to LPs, the TV shows like "Makin' It" and "Dance Fever." It was often called "soulless" and "plastic," which seems incredible these days - in what way was "I Will Survive" soulless??

mike a, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:03 (sixteen years ago) link

>re house/techno, chuck eddy started it.<

(right. by praising so much of it in print in 1986-87-88, apparently.)

As a resident of Detroit during the Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco (DREAD) card years, back when Steve Dahl was building bonfires at White Sox games, I'd posit that the album-oriented rock stations started the disco sucks thing mainly because they felt *threatened* -- like, financially, maybe, but also, it just made a good crypto-racist/crypto-homophobic (but also, just plain anti-city-slicker, and anti-morons-who-spend-way-too-much-money-on-fashionable-clothesto-wear-on-Saturday-night) gimmick to rally around.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Plus Detroit had THREE AOR stations back then (WABX, WRIF, WWWW), which is a lot for a city to support. They had to defend their turf!

xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, absolutely. It polarized people. In junior high in the late '70s, you couldn't like "rock" if you liked disco and vice versa. Never mind that the Clash, Talking Heads, Blondie and most of my other favorites of the time were constantly working disco elements into their own music.

mike a, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (sixteen years ago) link

in case its not obvious i'm talking about a different type of reaction other than the "oh that's not my taste" etc.

Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?

Good point, but... Disco experienced a mainstream presence, and (more to the point) mainstream backlash that Death Metal never really went through.
There was never a "Death Metal Sucks" rally where people were encouraged to donate their Deicide back catalogs they could be blown up - Christian Youth outings excepted.

Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:10 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah i personally think that has something, maybe everything to do with it.

Susan, no offense, but it seems like you asked a question with an agenda ready to go, having just ignored some already cogent refutations here, many of which bypass the taste issue.

While I'm not going to even think about flying the flag for the "Disco Sucks" cry, maybe you should hear the rest of the thread out before declaring one facet to be "everything" about the hatred?

donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it.

That's the conventional wisdom, which is as much as I know.

I had a similar experience yesterday. A room full of nice enough, seemingly smart enough people talked about how they liked all sorts of music, rattling off many different types of music, then said "I don't like rap, though," as though that made perfect sense.

Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?
-- Alex in NYC (vassife...)

Plenty of people simply don't like disco, but a lot of people go a lot farther than that. I've never seen any "Death Metal Sucks" T-shirts. I don't know of any nights where people blew up death-metal records in the middle of a baseball stadium. I don't know of anyone who doesn't like death metal who uses profane slurs when describing people who do like it. I think the vitriolic hatred is what this thread is about.

Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

in this past sunday's paper, our style section gang did their annual "these songs are the worst ever" list. they do this when they get bored i guess. but one writer listed "get down tonight" by k.c. and the sunshine band and his explanation began "Nothing so swiftly recalls the vile sounds of the disco era as this aural claptrap."
so you don't enjoy this particular tune. you're probably not alone. but to dismiss an entire genre/era? it's so typical. what a jackass.

andrew m. (andrewmorgan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Also, remember, Travolta (playing a straight white man) was a NEW YORKER. The Disco Sucks movement hits its apex in the MIDWEST. So there was regional pride/chauvinism stuff at work in there as well. (Even though lots of disco acts themselves came from Mid-America, obviously. But Studio 54 didn't, which is more to the point.) (i.e.: disco sucks was mainly ANTI-BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, a prejudice I admit I relate to to this very day, despite its often unsavory aspects, and despite the fact that disco is one of my favorite musics ever.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

There was never a "Death Metal Sucks" rally where people were encouraged to donate their Deicide back catalogs they could be blown up - Christian Youth outings excepted.

Fair point. Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:14 (sixteen years ago) link

ANTI-BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, a prejudice I admit I relate to to this very day, despite its often unsavory aspects, and despite the fact that disco is one of my favorite musics ever.)

Chuck's onto something here. Given Studio 54's notoriously fickle door policy, along with being sick of the trend, might it also have been an ANTI-ELITISM movement?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:15 (sixteen years ago) link

Mike that is interesting - i guess i don't remember much from the 70's but my sister, a little older, seems to fall in that category of hating it from a its too commercially driven, soulless, a personal, fake music perspective. but she has the same take on queer culture. ????

Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

(though it was that very elitist door policy that supposedly inspired Chic to pen the disco anthem, "Le Freak").

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

xxxpost

xhuxk onto something ... remember the economy and the overall tone of the nation at the time. Feelgood party music, glamor, and Studio 54 snobbery did not sit well with blue collar midwesterners.

dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:17 (sixteen years ago) link

wow! Alex.. Jinks.

dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:18 (sixteen years ago) link

"Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?"

I think both parts of your sentence, Alex, are correct. Also, detractors are less patient with the genre's supposed superficiality than they would be in accepting the superficiality of, say, Led Zeppelin or Rush or (to choose a contemporary example) Radiohead.

To me, Donna Summer and LCD Soundsytem has a lot more to say about ecstasy and release than the rock groups I mentioned.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:18 (sixteen years ago) link

"Saturday Night Fever" was never made or released

An old thread that's really just peripheral to this issue, but might provide some useful fodder as to the cultural aspects of "Disco Sucks".

Also, see threads on the triage of "disco is the future is the past" movies from 1980.. Can't Stop The Music!, The Apple, and Xanadu...

donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:18 (sixteen years ago) link

i think xhuxk is otm here -- and speaking (like many of us are) as one of them Commie Innerlectual Snot-Nosed Kerry-Votin' City Folk in a very conservative, christian, "america, love it or leave it" kinda country, i can definitely understand what the general tenor of things was back then (remember, '76 was the bicentennial).

jody von bulow (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:23 (sixteen years ago) link

sorry. to clarify, the taste post i made was a delayed response to alex's initial post. no agenda here - am reading the other responses and digesting.

Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

not to hate on disco, but a lot of electronica is really bad.

absolutego (ex machina), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Fair point. Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?

I think it's one of those "A little from column A, a little from column B" scenarios. Disco absolutely was overexposed as both a musical style and a fashion trend, but the resentment behind the disco backlash did have some very real underlying schisms.

What I find interesting is the number of late 80s naysayers who predicted that rap would have just as limited a shelf-life as disco. Nowadays, rap music is quasi-respectable, but dance music is still something of a redheaded stepchild, at least in North America.

(Incidentally, I love me some disco, hip-hop, and house.)

Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:29 (sixteen years ago) link

I think fear of looking like an ass while dancing has some relevance...

dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:31 (sixteen years ago) link

>i think xhuxk is otm here -- and speaking (like many of us are) as one of them Commie Innerlectual Snot-Nosed Kerry-Votin' City Folk in a very conservative, christian, "america, love it or leave it" kinda country, i can definitely understand what the general tenor of things was back then <

yeah, but my point is that disco sucks had as much to do with class (which is rarely mentioned) as with race or gender preference (which are always mentioned.) (and in fact, travolta playing a WORKING CLASS tough white straight male clearly OPENED UP some mid-American ears to disco, at least temporarily; it gave disco a context that seemed more down to earth and less pie in the sky. But really, if I'm working on the Ford line and blasting *Night Moves*, why the hell SHOULD I care about a bunch of rich new york idiots snorting coke with no shirts on? Fuck 'em, you know? How hard is it see why they would be hated?)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I like me some disco, tons of hip-hop, etc. but the alternating elitist/populist currents in dance music are very off-putting to me. Unappetizingly elitist in terms of the deliberately obfuscatory subgenres/labels/sub-movements and "aren't we the coolest" posturing, and unappetizingly populist in terms of its emphasis on lunk-headed "everybody dance NOW!" groupthink crowd/mob dynamics... dunno if those attitudes map onto disco (probably a little bit).

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I was just joking btw Chuck.

Ronan (Ronan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:35 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm pretty passionate about this subject, because my love of dance/disco/R&B pop music as a kid REALLY isolated me. I grew up in a very Deadhead Republican surfside city in Los Angeles.. and talk about an early exposure to homophobia.

donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:36 (sixteen years ago) link

otherwise chuck pretty much OTM, I think, in terms of the socio-political roots.

The "fear of looking like an idiot while dancing" thing is a red herring tho.

x-post

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm pretty passionate about this subject, because my love of dance/disco/R&B pop music as a kid REALLY isolated me. I grew up in a very Deadhead Republican surfside city in Los Angeles.. and talk about an early exposure to homophobia.

I grew up surrounded by metal kids in a conservative Canuck military town, so, yeah, homophobia ahoy.

Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:40 (sixteen years ago) link

There was never a "Death Metal Sucks" rally

tell that to those kids in west memphis

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:43 (sixteen years ago) link

The "fear of looking like an idiot while dancing" thing is a red herring tho.

I don't think so .. With disco, everyone, even your grandma, was learning how to do the Hustle.. Anyone that was pro-rawk/ anti-disco (that I knew) rejected the whole package of music & compulsory dance moves. I may be extrapolating, but I think a bit of that dislike was due to not feeling able to fit in to the scene.

See also: Achy-Breaky, Macarena, etc...

dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I just don't think it carries over into post-disco dance music (where there was also less of an emphasis on doing specific dance steps...? not sure if that has anything to do with it). But I'm largely basing this on my own personal feelings - ie, there's plenty of music I have no "fear" of dancing to, and will happily proceed to do so (funk, disco, hip-hop, afrobeat, etc.), but electronic dance-music post 1990 or so usually won't make me move a muscle.

x-post

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:48 (sixteen years ago) link

http://www.pulp68.com/skateproject.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:50 (sixteen years ago) link

i learned how to do the hustle in gym class in 1976 and my sadistic gym teacher used to blow his whistle all the damned time, but luckily this did not make me hate disco or disco whistles. i did feel shy at the roller-rink though, cuz i couldn't skate good.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:50 (sixteen years ago) link

http://www.sugarandspice.fr/images/pochettes/19312.gif

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I like me some disco, tons of hip-hop, etc. but the alternating elitist/populist currents in dance music are very off-putting to me.

This reminds me of a story I may have already told, but it bears repeating:

Summer of 1996. Downtown Toronto is having its annual street festival, and a Large Truck is set up outside A Large Chain Record Store for an "outdoor rave". A local "cred" DJ duo (known for their electro/breakbeat/tech-iness) come on and do their thing. Glowstick-and-backpack kids dance merrily in the summer night air, as do I, lacking both glowstick and backpack.

Then there's a schedule change. Outdoor Rave becomes Outdoor Dance Party. The cred DJs leave, and two local club "personalities" come on.

Fade down on Electro-Tech. Fade up on... Black Box. Cue a dozen or so rave kids, who run screaming for fear of contamination (I swear, I am not making this up). I shake my head in disgust, and stick around to dance to Culture Beat, Deee-lite, etc, etc.


Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:52 (sixteen years ago) link

in America, I think hating on hip-hop is mostly a generational thing. The sustained antipathy towards "Dance" music is a bit more complicated - I don't know if that's really an extension of the "disco sucks" undercurrent or not (I'm thinkin mostly not).

x-post

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I remember being embarassed that I liked some disco 'dance' songs as a little kid 'cause it was a little campy and dressed up and overtly sexual for me to be able to have it relate to any of my Sierran foothill redneck neighbors. When I moved to the Bay Area, however, the dominance of classic rock (I had been raised in a cave of sorts listening to 60's pop and rock, jazz and folk/blues) was intolerable to me. I didn't learn to like Led Zeppelin or AC/DC 'til I was almost 20. I remember going to parties in the city with my Dad and whoever was his girlfriend at the time that were very late 70's/early 80's disco and where there was an embarassing (to me) profusion of quite open homosexuals, who as I recall were all very sweet and did nothing more sinful than smoke pot in my presence. I remember being slightly annoyed 'cause I wasn't a great dancer and 'cause after a couple of years, late 70's disco was starting to feel stale, like they were doing it by the numbers. My ex-wife once remarked to me that while she was listening to punk/new wave in the late 70's/early 80's (or at least her crowd), American radio had been blaring disco/dance music so that as we got older the French were grooving on what they had missed and the Americans were going back to discover the roots of punk. I think the rockers in my junior high school were trying very hard to figure out how to be 'men' and felt very threatened by the kind of sexual openness they associated with 'the fags in the City' and their music. What's funny looking back at this was not just how black and white rock vs. disco felt to me in, say, '77 but how radio programming was very much like that then but how, as was pointed out above, once 'rock' acts made 'inauthentic' disco, or disco-flavored albums (Blondie/Stones/Queen etc...), little white suburban kids could listen to it too.

M. White (Miguelito), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:09 (sixteen years ago) link

xp Geir.

To re-hash tired old points. Only an idiot would claim that dislike for disco was exclusively motivated by sexual/racial prejudice. But only an idiot would argue that dislike for disco was never twisted up with those things. The fact that these prejudices are riddled with logical inconsistencies doesn't mean that they don't exist.

By "increasing commercialism" of the recording industry I assume you mean a perception, not a reality. Because there was this place called Tin Pan Alley and I'm pretty sure that lots of those old composer blokes wrote music purely on a commission basis so it's hard to imagine how the level of commercialism in the industry could increase.

I don't buy that the hatred had to do with music, at least if by that you mean objective formal qualities in some types of music as opposed to others. At bottom, prejudices are ideological, even if they're started from something as material and banal as losing your job. People hate disco because of what they believe it represents, not what it is.

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:10 (sixteen years ago) link

By "increasing commercialism" of the recording industry I assume you mean a perception, not a reality. Because there was this place called Tin Pan Alley and I'm pretty sure that lots of those old composer blokes wrote music purely on a commission basis so it's hard to imagine how the level of commercialism in the industry could increase.

There was before The Beatles and there was after The Beatles. They brought the idea that the artist should write his own songs, have as much creative control as possibly, and try to make "art" in addition. Sure, this wasn't around during Tin Pan Alley or Brill Building, but that way of thinking was very much alive in the late 60s and early 70s. Disco was a rehash of the way things used to be in the early 60s, which provoked a lot of people.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:15 (sixteen years ago) link

all this talk about machines, factories, class/gender/sex etc., and nobody's mentioned 'Flashdance'

dave q (listerine), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:15 (sixteen years ago) link

The Beatles didn't invent those ideas, they're Romanticism arriving in rock and roll. Like all Romantic movements, they're erroneous/deceptive. Cutting off the word art from its roots in artisanship creates a false art/craft opposition that was already outmoded in other kinds of cultural production by the time rock and roll discovered it. Mystifying the writing process, pretending that the material conditions necessary to produce and shift records is non-existent or unimportant is a wrong turn as far as aesthetics is concerned. (Not that I think the Beatles really did all those things all the time, or were solely responsible for advancing them as ideological truths.)

Anyway, if the Beatles did effect this change in the nature of the music industry (and y'know, we keep coming back to that word industry. Could use business if you prefer) they did it by being hugely commercially successful. I'm sure Art for Art's Sake exists. People only find out about it through Commerce.

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Anyway, if the Beatles did effect this change in the nature of the music industry (and y'know, we keep coming back to that word industry. Could use business if you prefer) they did it by being hugely commercially successful. I'm sure Art for Art's Sake exists. People only find out about it through Commerce.

Well, personally, I feel like the best you can possibly achieve as an artist is if you are able to be both commercially successful and have artistic value in the same breath. From Mozart to The Beatles, the biggest acts are the ones who have managed to combine those two seemingly opposites.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Why do they seem to be opposites?

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:38 (sixteen years ago) link

I listen to Dahl fairly often, and my mom listened to him a lot when I was little so I did too. I don't know the man personally, and have no knowledge if he was any different in the late 70s, but I highly doubt he is homophobic or had any other, more sinister motives besides wanting to promote himself and do something crazy. yanno, what nearly every radio dj does.

()ops (()()ps), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Why do they seem to be opposites?

Because most hits, particularly these days, don't have artistic value.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:45 (sixteen years ago) link

The circles are starting to hurt my head now.

Ferlin Husky (noodle vague), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:48 (sixteen years ago) link

To tie this into techno and house, dancing is seen as an activity that "real", blue collar men just don't do. If they do ever, you can be sure they don't actually want to. The south side of Chicago (where Disco Demolition took place) is comprised virtually solely of blue collar lower/lower-middle class peeps.

()ops (()()ps), Friday, 8 April 2005 22:50 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, and this is where the Europe/America divide is really pronounced- techno and raving (and on into garage and 2step and grime) have a distinctly working class audience and rep. The idea that working class young men "don't dance" makes total sense to an American- but in Holland or Germany or England it's another story. In fact, the dutch gabber scene was pronounced in its working class masculinity . . .

Drew Daniel (Drew Daniel), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:00 (sixteen years ago) link

There are probably small pockets in the U.S., too -- Bensonhurst, maybe, where young Italian-American post-post-Travoltas have their own gabba? Parts of Jersey? I dunno. And of course working class males often dance to country or even rock (or mosh to metal or punk). And they dance at wedding receptions to old Kool and the Gang songs. (And working class black and Hispanic males dance too, now and then!)

xhuxk, Friday, 8 April 2005 23:12 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah I have seen evidence of that type of Jersey/Bensenhurst, but doesn't it all center around going to clubs and getting laid? I mean they don't go for a guys night out of dancing. The dancing, the wearing tight shirts, the quaffed hair, it's all in order to meet women.

()ops (()()ps), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:20 (sixteen years ago) link

i don't buy the "american working class young men don't dance" line one bit. because i was one of them (from the south side of chicago, natch) and i wasn't the only one. i'm gay, but a lot of my friends are straight and we all used to go out and dance together. i think this is generational thing because techno and house were pretty huge amongst my peers. with disco it may have been another story.

freaky bitches (disco stu), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:27 (sixteen years ago) link

er....so? Dancing is less dancing when it turns into a mating ritual? Might be wrong, but I would assume that might also negate a gay disco or two. And I'm guessing Travolta probably wanted to get laid, at least at the beginning of the movie (or did he have a girlfriend? I forget.) Actually, I have no idea to what extent dancing in south Brooklyn is a means of getting laid. Some of that heavy metal gabba stuff sounds pretty fucking macho; do girls even go to those clubs?

xp

xhuxk, Friday, 8 April 2005 23:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Nothing to do with the current conversation, but...
It's funny that there's some mention of George Clinton upthread; his polemic against disco on "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" acted as an effective disco deterrent for me for over six years. Really, Clinton stopped me from looking any further than Funk. These days, I'm out soulseeking for Abba, but y'know... I was impressionable.

Forksclovetofu (Forksclovetofu), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:31 (sixteen years ago) link

do girls even go to those clubs?

they sure do.

freaky bitches (disco stu), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:32 (sixteen years ago) link

It wasn't dancing for the sake of dancing is what I meant.
I agree that it is a generational thing, though. I'm only going on my own experience with working class guys I've known.
But don't you think the dancing styles that accompany rave/gabba are a lot more aggressive and macho than disco's?

()ops (()()ps), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:34 (sixteen years ago) link

for me, chic are one of the groups that really turn all of this "fear of disco" stuff on its head. the whole band were such consummate and tight musicians yet they got lumped in with disco (not without some strategy on their own part). my point is that they walk the rock/disco line so well. they are an example of the typical values that both rock and disco fans like in their music - to oversimplify, chops and danceability respectively - but because of the hype around disco, they pretty much sunk when it did. this says to me that the "average music fan" isn't a very discerning listener. (and yes, that sounds incredibly snobby)

xpost, no way, not when you're on ecstasy.

freaky bitches (disco stu), Friday, 8 April 2005 23:41 (sixteen years ago) link

The received wisdom is that The Disco Era was the Dawn of the Yuppies and the Reagan Era was the Victory of the Yuppies.

Replace "Yuppie" with "Religious Right."

j.lu (j.lu), Saturday, 9 April 2005 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

And for "disco sucks" texts, does anyone know of any articles about the record burnings themselves? Presumably such articles would quote participants. Presumably they wouldn't all say brief variations on "it sucks."

j.lu (j.lu), Saturday, 9 April 2005 00:36 (sixteen years ago) link

I have heard from Chicagoans that the full chant was "Chicago rocks! Disco sucks!"

These Robust Cookies (Robust Cookies), Saturday, 9 April 2005 04:18 (sixteen years ago) link

Freaky Bitches speaks the gospel here, Chic is like gliding over a chandelier or a glass table, smooth as glass. How did they do it?

If people judge Sister Sledge by We Are Family, is it my fault they are so mistaken? Frankly I dreaded the idea of even owning that song, but there's other stuff they did with the Chic guys that is 20 times better and goes unheard and uncared about, while Donna Summer gets all the accolades. A crime!

As a child I never realized that there was a "disco sucks" phenomenon. I only knew that people seemed to be saying it was a fad, that it would not last. Maybe it was my dad that said that. I begged to differ.

This is all I plan to say on the subject of disco for quite awhile.

The Silent Disco of Glastonbury (Bimble...), Saturday, 9 April 2005 04:42 (sixteen years ago) link

I just remembered something that might be of interest.
The next time you hear Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" pay close attention to whats going in the background as "The Devil" plays his part. Notice how he stops playing for a second and theres an obvious "disco-stylee" bass riff and backing very prominent in the mix for ~4 seconds. Then "johnny" starts playing and its all Country and Western Appalachian Boogie.

Lord Custos Omicron (Lord Custos Omicron), Sunday, 10 April 2005 23:03 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
First of all, before you talk about what you know exactly nothing about you should do some research. The only semi intellegent post (and i do use that term loosely) i read in this whole blog was a refrence to the book by Tim Lawrence "Love Saves the Day" which is a speck in the grand sceme of things since the birth of dance and music in general but a very true story of the real and relevant movement in NYC in the decade of the 70's. Its obvious that most of the people posting on this blog are very uneducated when it comes to music in general. It seems to me with 99% of the posts on this subject were insignificant to disco and music in general. 1 fact in this whole incoherent babble was when they changed the "disco" deparpent to the "dance" department was really the most intellegent thing to do but for all of the wrong reasons. It was all dance music in the beginning and your generlizations about the culture must be because you lived in the middle of the woods or the desert (not insulting you) I love the woods and the desert. but it is more than donna summer and funkytown. I wish i had more time to explain but i I could write a 7000 page manuscript on it. Open your minds disco was founded on acceptance and love for all types of people and music

light and love

http://www.myspace.com/chr_stopher

art grant, Thursday, 11 May 2006 18:41 (fifteen years ago) link

and that's completely the best part of "devil went down to georgia," too

(almost typed "devil went down to georgio," someone do that remix plz)

xpost

bangelo (bangelo), Thursday, 11 May 2006 18:58 (fifteen years ago) link

1 fact in this whole incoherent babble

Strangely enough, your post is actually less coherent and more babbling than many posts in this thread.

Chris Bee (Cee Bee), Thursday, 11 May 2006 19:29 (fifteen years ago) link

The main reason for the hatred towards disco is that 90 per cent of it sucked.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 11 May 2006 21:00 (fifteen years ago) link

The main reason for the hatred towards disco is that 90 per cent of it sucked.

One of the reasons for sure. It's probably harder to make a good disco track and easier to make a bad disco track as opposed to say, rock.

scnnr drkly (scnnr drkly), Thursday, 11 May 2006 21:08 (fifteen years ago) link

Um...does anyone honestly think there's a genre of music where 90% *doesn't* suck?!

Chris Bee (Cee Bee), Thursday, 11 May 2006 21:11 (fifteen years ago) link

Not 90% of the stuff found in the hitlists, which was the case for disco (and is even more the case of contemporary R&B today, excect more like 99% than 90%)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 12 May 2006 00:52 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.stephaniecrabe.com/Gallery2/klan-daddy.jpg

Geir, earlier today.

Kenneth Anger Management (noodle vague), Friday, 12 May 2006 01:43 (fifteen years ago) link

I've been wondering if, aside from just the homophobia (or in addition to it) there wasn't some kind of underlying sense that disco culture was "decadent" -- drugs, outlandish clothing and behavior, wild dancing, sexual experimentation, etc. You know, an extension of the hippie thing, destroying civilization and family and the church, etc.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Friday, 12 May 2006 02:50 (fifteen years ago) link

a clear reason for the reaction had to be overexposure/saturation of the market , e.g., granny disco lessons & sesame street disco album type stuff. just like when a ton of groups got signed in the wake of grunge , there's not enough good ones to go around and boring copycats arise. just as something starts to lose its novelty, it also faces a dip in overall quality. people eventually get sick both of the hype as well as the music itself.

i think the disco suckers were largely composed of AORers. Today's world of a million subgenres is a far cry from the way AOR dominated during that time. there was more of a common if orthodox culture of rock in suburban junior and senior highs back then. today there is no equivalent to led zeppelin in the same way there are no tv shows today with the household viewing % of e.g., Happy Days. so when disco went supernova due to a movie, something other than King Rock suddenly started getting too much attention and was perceived as a threat. of course backlash ensued. around the same time, punk and new wave i think were less threatening due to a combination of being more in the musical tradition of regular rock and roll, not having the glaring racial/gay cultural differences of disco, and simply not penetrating as deeply into the mainstream to the degree disco did.

'Lots of it just sounds like soul music.) (Or funk music, of salsa music, or flamenco music, or....rock music!) '

Exactly. How much of disco sucks is actual musical prejudice? People who hate all black pop actually make more sense to me as far as consistency than those who supposedly love funk and soul, but despise all disco. There's way too much overlap between the three for that to hold up to scrutiny. But as words, funk and soul don't carry the negative conotations 'disco' is burdened with.

'The main reason for the hatred towards disco is that 90 per cent of it sucked. ' Don't buy that--one could say the same thing about any style of music, but where's all the virulence toward them?

Carlos Keith (Buck_Wilde), Friday, 12 May 2006 07:34 (fifteen years ago) link

disco culture was "decadent" -- drugs, outlandish clothing and behavior, wild dancing, sexual experimentation, etc. You know, an extension of the hippie thing, destroying civilization and family and the church, etc.

you're half right -- disco culture was decadent in the eyes of 60s veterans too, not an extension of the hippie thing but a rebellion against it, the next step on the cultural path to 80s conservatism.

"the bete noir of every Brillo-headed hippie" -- Goldman

m coleman (lovebug starski), Friday, 12 May 2006 09:09 (fifteen years ago) link

I've been trying to remember where that scanimation link was!

Eric H. (Eric H.), Friday, 12 May 2006 10:30 (fifteen years ago) link

People who hate all black pop actually make more sense to me as far as consistency than those who supposedly love funk and soul, but despise all disco.

My favorite contradiction in Rickey Vincent's otherwise-good Funk book is when he decimates disco for being a repetitive pointless-dance-craze genre with inane lyrics a few chapters after lionizing Rufus Thomas.

Stupornaut (natepatrin), Friday, 12 May 2006 14:13 (fifteen years ago) link

The number of songs RV praises at great length that are actually more disco than funk is staggering.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Friday, 12 May 2006 14:34 (fifteen years ago) link

But I reckon the closet would probably produce more bass players, you know, the one in the background who's not flashy, who just holds it down.

styx bassist chuck panozzo came out a few years ago. styx of course were faves of the hard-rockin' anti-disco crowd. later they'd get booed off the stage *at their own headlining stadium shows* for playing synth-dominated pop.

Lawrence the Looter (Lawrence the Looter), Friday, 12 May 2006 14:41 (fifteen years ago) link

disco culture was decadent in the eyes of 60s veterans too, not an extension of the hippie thing but a rebellion against it, the next step on the cultural path to 80s conservatism.

However, from what I've read about Mancuso's original parties, it seems like he was applying a very Zen-like tea ceremony approach to throwing the perfect dance event, which might be a product of hippie interest in such things. Also, in that book Last Night the DJ..., the rhetoric from many of the early DJs sounds quite cosmic: creating the perfect vibrations and flow, etc.

QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Friday, 12 May 2006 15:07 (fifteen years ago) link

why everybody equally loved and loathed Duran Duran in the '80s seems to me to tie in with the general idea expressed in this thread. now I'm once more convinced of their greatness in the Zeitgeist of the time: they, too, managed to bring the two opposites - disco and rock - together.
(the third strand of their activity is, I think, a longing for beauty - which would explain why you find so many DD-lovers losing themselves in the swooning arms of 'artier' music of the likes of David Sylvian, for example).

Kitaj (kitaj), Friday, 12 May 2006 15:53 (fifteen years ago) link

xpost
Sounds cosmic but relates to empirical things. Dealing with large groups of people going apeshit together, under a variety of influences and for untold hours, to a soundtrack carefully chosen out of a zillion million possibilities.. justifies a few linguistic shortcuts.
Mancuso's "ur-model" is the children's birthday party.

blunt (blunt), Friday, 12 May 2006 16:02 (fifteen years ago) link

getting back to the initial thread question, 90% of all fear and hatred of disco (in fact, 90% of everything that is just flat-out *wrong* in music) can be traced back to Rush...

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a221/hardstaff/rushdiscosucks.jpg

hank (hank s), Friday, 12 May 2006 16:03 (fifteen years ago) link

People who hate all black pop actually make more sense to me as far as consistency than those who supposedly love funk and soul, but despise all disco.

Well, I hate funk even more than I hate disco, but I do not hate soul. OK, I am not too keen on Stax/Volt, but I like Motown, and I really like Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson and a bunch of other black acts who have put sufficient emphasis on melody and harmony.

Now, disco was at times rather melodic, but it was extremely corporate as well, and I think that was the background for most of the disco hate (the same people will also dislike current white corporate trends such as boy/girl bands). And as far as the more prejudiced minority of disco haters went, I think there was more homophobia and sexism in there than rascism.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 12 May 2006 18:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Did you gauge this with your PKE meter?

jimnaseum (jimnaseum), Friday, 12 May 2006 18:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Disco does tend to be a little more straight four-on-the-floor rhythmically than funk and soul though. (xpost)

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Friday, 12 May 2006 19:05 (fifteen years ago) link

four years pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_FXBkoYxMM

hubertus bigend (m coleman), Monday, 13 December 2010 20:09 (ten years ago) link

you're half right -- disco culture was decadent in the eyes of 60s veterans too, not an extension of the hippie thing but a rebellion against it, the next step on the cultural path to 80s conservatism.

think this is otm. pretty much what Steve Dahl, who was behind the Disco Demolition, has always said. In Chicago (and prob in most places that aren't NYC), disco was associated with rich white young downtown businessmen, not black or gay people. He also now says "lol yeah I was fat and couldn't dance, disco dudes were getting all the women".

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Monday, 13 December 2010 23:22 (ten years ago) link

aw this thread

the tune is space, Monday, 13 December 2010 23:54 (ten years ago) link


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