Saturday, March 21, 2015

It's Back!




Disco is like one of those songs you can't shake out of your head no matter how hard you try, and just when you thought it was safe to go back to the night club ... it's back!  Of course, if you package Chic's latest release in what appears to be a Victoria's Secret ad it becomes quite appealing.   For those of us who lived through that era, we hoped bands like these would never return.

The Disco Demolition Rally at Comiskey Park, in June, 1979, was widely regarded to be the death of the genre after it had dominated the air waves throughout the late 70s.  The beat lingered into the "very early 80s" as Wilt Stillman made fun of in The Last Days of Disco, giving way to Madonna and electronic music, which wasn't any better.  No more Donna Summer, Bee Gees or Gloria Gaynor.  But, like Gaynor's famous anthem, the music appears to have survived.

Looking back in retrospect, it doesn't sound all that bad, especially in comparison to the pop music one hears today.  For many of these young singers, it is an easy segue into disco and funk, as Bruno Mars has shown in Uptown Funk, a kind of Billy Joel meets Michael Jackson vid.  You've got Georgio Moroder remixes of all sorts taking place, although it is hard to imagine a rational conversation regarding the music.  Instead, we will see a lot more litigation, as today's pop icons mine the era for infectious rhythms to bolster their so-called music.  After all, many of these Disco icons are still alive and well, notably Chic, who gave us the classic Le Freak, and is still singing it to sold out crowds.

Today there is a seamless blend of music and fashion, as demonstrated in the annual Victoria Secret Christmas specials, in which world famous pop stars brush bare shoulders with supermodels.  So, why not use one of these supermodels to help launch your new album, as Nile Rodgers has done.  Disco was mostly about fashion anyway, as John Travolta illustrated in the ultimate disco movie, Saturday Night Fever.  The quintessential polyester suit became the standard of night clubs, along with gauzy dresses, which appeared like one spike heel would unravel them at a moment's notice.

Of course, few of us could shake it like Travolta, so we ended up looking more like Rick Dees on the dance floor trying out John's signature moves.  Something we would prefer to forget because all it took was a few drinks to start dancing to Disco Duck.  Do we really need to go through all that again!

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