Disco: It’s Back! (Did It Ever Leave?)

Having bare-knuckled my way through the era of disco . . .

Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t simply squeak through the years of flashing multicolored dance floors, electronic beats, spinning mirrored balls, bell bottoms, and Stayin’ Alive dance moves, I was part of the whole shebang.

  • I watched American Bandstand each Saturday and tried to emulate the funky moves of the dancers.
  • I dropped quarters into the school’s jukebox at lunchtime to hear Kool & The Gang’s latest.
  • I roller-skated — happily — to “Disco Duck.”
  • I purchased records by Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Peaches & Herb.
  • I learned the lyrics to “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” “Le Freak,” and “Funkytown.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was drenched in disco. I’m not proud, but at least I’m honest.

Yet I considered my short-lived days of disco behind me — largely a long-lost memory, except for the occasional appearance of “Shake Your Groove Thing” or “You Should Be Dancin'” on my iPod shuffle playlist.

Until recently. When I turned on the radio in my car. And I suddenly hailed back to another childhood memory, a phrase such radio songs called to mind:

Poltergeist - Carol Anne
“They’re ba-ack!”

It’s not my imagination. Having lived through the disco years, I recognize the sounds, the beats, the music that begs a younger John Travolta to show off his moves. The first one I heard was this:

Now tell me, couldn’t Earth, Wind & Fire have sung that song? Then, more recently, this song came on my radio:

(Note: I edited out the first few seconds of this video to keep my blog PG. If you follow the link to the whole video, you will encounter profanity. Just a heads-up.)

Bruno Mars admits this is disco with the golden mirrored ball, plus I’m pretty sure he also stole some dance moves from The Jackson 5.

I don’t know why I’m surprised. From time to time, I’ve heard disco tunes. (“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite, anyone?) And every era rehashes some old territory, right? It’s the reason why Stray Cats mesmerized me and made my father think, “Yeah, so?” He’d already heard that music as a teen. Sure, it was great. But not nearly so fresh as I thought.

Regardless, good music is good music. Old and new artists can deliver wonderful music in essentially the same genre. So even though I know it’s disco, I can’t help but tap my feet and shake my booty when a good dancing song comes on.

If disco is really back, go ahead and grab the mirrored ball. Why not take one small turn on the dance floor?

ROW80 Update

And now here are my writing moves for the last week! I’m involved in A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that knows you have a life, and following is my weekly update.

1. Read 12 books. I’ve been slow this week, taking my time with book #4 on my list. It’s  a marvelous read, though — the classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Also, if you’re looking for examples of well-written setting descriptions, they are here in spades. Half done.

2. Complete two drafts of short stories. No, didn’t happen. Not done.

3. Take care of ROW80 sponsor responsibilities. Last week, I said that I tend to check on participants’ Sundays updates and wanted to visit blogs on Wednesdays too. I did manage to check on the Wednesday progress reports, but this time I missed Sunday. Even so, done.

4. Edit at least once through Good & Guilty, young adult mystery. Edited another 44 pages, which is far behind my expectation of finishing the whole manuscript this past week. But I’m probably still on track with this goal, because I only have 67 pages left to read and edit. So I guess I’ll call this one done.

What do you think? Is disco back? What other disco-sounding tunes have you heard? Do you notice other musical forms from the past showing up in current music? And how was your week?

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21 thoughts on “Disco: It’s Back! (Did It Ever Leave?)

  1. This is such a good post, Julie, and I have both of those songs on my iPhone. I love Pharrell. Have you listened and/or seen the video “Happy”? If you go on YouTube there is a video of the song done in Poland with random people on the streets dancing. You cannot “not” smile, it said, and they’re right.
    Patti

    1. I haven’t really noticed if Disco is back. Unlike my late husband, I did like some of the songs from the Disco era.
      My week? Not so good, especially that difference of opinion I had with two of my fake brothers.

      1. I’ve left a lot of disco music behind, but there are still some songs I truly enjoy. And they do get me dancin’ and smilin’! Hope this week is marvelous for you, Nancy!

  2. Disco is totally making a come back and the style and the hair cuts are on their way. Yikes, lol. One thing about disco, it’s really easy to dance to and people like to dance. Great comparisons, Julie. You’re hanging in their with the ROW80 goals too. Good for you. Here’s to a great week.

    1. Oh no! I don’t think I kept any clothing from my disco days (albeit I was like in junior high when that happened, so it’s not like it would fit me anyway, lol).

      Thanks for the encouragement! Hope your round is going fabulous, S.J.

  3. Disco came a little later after I graduated from high school and I didn’t really get into it when it was around. But I do like a few of the songs (can’t remember which ones). If it has a good beat and the vocalist has a good voice, I’m usually up dancing, even though I never learned The Hustle. 🙂

    Congrats on your accomplishments. Keep it up!

    1. I never learned to Hustle either. Besides, our school dances (down here in Texas) were more about doing the Cotton Eyed Joe or the Schottische. Do you think the Hustle will come back? Should we learn it now, Donna? 😉

      Thanks for the kind words! Have a great week.

  4. I’ll admit it: Nothing makes me shake it on the dance floor faster than disco. And I definitely spent many hours singing in the den with my hairbrush to Donna Summer. 🙂

    Great post, Julie! This made me miss you like crazy.

    1. Why is it that I can totally picture you in a disco outfit? I’m seeing a silver lamé jumpsuit with bell bottoms and a sequined headband. You could rock that look! LOL.

      Miss you too! Why don’t I get out to your neck of the woods one of these days?

  5. I feel sorry for people who didn’t get to grow up listening to the Big Band sound and the rock & roll of the PRE-Beatles era. That was music. I haven’t really cared for popular music since then except for classic country.

    1. Actually, big band is some of my absolute favorite music. I love the era of the standards and big brass sections and great spin-on-the-dance-floor music. I adore musicals from that era and always dreamed of going to a club like the ones Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers frequented. (Sometimes, I wonder if I was born in the wrong decade.)

      That said, my music tastes are eclectic. I suspect you could drop in just about any century, and I’d find something to like. Which likely explains why I did just fine with disco.

      Thanks, David!

    1. I’m hit-or-miss on the musical loop. I tend to listen to my own niche, but now and then catch new tunes. I’m just as likely, though, to be listening to Dean Martin or The Beatles as today’s Top 40.

      Have a marvelous week, Raelyn!

  6. I was never a big disco fan but can appreciate some of the good tunes that came out of that era.

    1. Looking back, I actually favor the next musical lovefest in my childhood — when I got into hard rock like Rush, Van Halen, Heart, etc. I still listen to a lot of that stuff. 🙂

  7. Sounds like you’re winning Round 1. Good for you. I’m going to have to amp things up a little, but I’m OK with where things are for now.
    As far as disco goes . . . I don’t know what the popular trend will be, but it won’t be something I will personally be revisiting. 😉

  8. RE: Your ROW80 update. 12 books, holy cow! ‘Cause isn’t that more than a book a week? Do you have a running list online of books you’ve read and whether you’d recommend them or what you liked about them? Am always looking for books worth reading for fun. =*)

    1. When disco faded in the early 1980s it really pissed mepff. Douche bag Dahl destroyed the music. I like roxk too. Disco was the best music to skate and dance too. Techno sounds like crap and so does hip hop. I will never understand why such good music was hated and mocked.

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