Starting in New York and Philadelphia during the early 1970’s, disco’s popularity grew exponentially, with hits like ‘The Hustle’ and ‘I feel Love’ becoming like anthems for the disco movement. Disco, basically upbeat dance music, was made popular by being immortalised in film too. ‘Saturday Night Fever’ will always be synonymous with both disco music and fabulous dance moves.
Discotheques were on the rise, and perhaps the most famous (or infamous) of all the clubs was Studio 54 in New York. Studio 54 was glitzy, glamorous and very exclusive, so exclusive in fact that even well-known singers and songwriters were turned away at the door. Studio 54 was popular with celebrities and became legendary as being the hot place to go. Everyone who was anyone spent time partying at 54. To keep the celebrities coming back night after night, the club owners lavished gifts and entertainment on them, the likes of which had never been seen before.
Sadly Studio 54 only lasted 33 months before being closed down due to tax evasion. However, the hedonistic party lifestyle of the disco era would not be forgotten.
Disco saw a decline in popularity for a while, thought to be because absolutely everyone was making disco music, there perhaps could be too much of a good thing, and although it didn’t disappear from the music scene altogether it simply went underground. In Chicago, in 1979 there was the Disco Demolition where rock fans brought along disco records and destroyed them in their thousands. Slowly disco also started to disappear from any regular mainstream radio play.
It didn’t take long before disco as part of mainstream music slowly began a revival, and early 80’s disco music could stand side by side with even the best of the original 70’s disco. Hits such as The Weather Girls ‘It’s Raining Men’ and The Pointer Sisters ‘I’m So Excited’ prove that disco was back and was likely to stay. People were back up off their seats and dancing again. Laura Branigan’s ‘Gloria’ released in 1982 has hints of the original 70’s disco while maintaining the fresh new feel of the 80’s dance hits.
Many of the hits are 30-40 years old, but they stand the test of time proving that disco was not just a flash in the pan.