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?