Disco was a form of African American music that took off in the 70s. It was the succesor to Funk and precursor to African American Rap\Hip-Hop, House, and Techno in the 80s. It experienced a slight revival in the 90s.  The genre was at its greatest height in the late 70s. Disco was minimal on the lyrics but emphasize dance and the beat in discotheques. Discotheque were patronised by a multi-racial crowd, gay, straight--diversity of people- with lots of drugs and sex readily engage in and available.


The Disco genre was the coming together of Funk and Philadelphia soul. Lyrically disco is characterize by simple catchy vocals, a hook, repeated multiple times during a piece. Lyrics are typically about dancing and having a good time. The disco beat is devoid of accents, a continuos four pulse.

During the disco era, a few innovation appeared like the birth of the 12-inch, 45-rpm extended-play record singles, produced only for clubs.  A record could sell millions without getting any radio play. The Djs in the club could make or break a record. Innovation, could be seen in how disco was produced. Musicians rarely played with each other. The bass would be recorded separately. The orchestra would be recorded separately, and the vocals recorded separately. A producer would then mix all together, producing a composition, in a process called ¨multi-track over-dubbing.¨ In the mid-70s, Giorgio Moroder introduced electronic instrumentation to Disco--drums machines, synthesizer. He produced purely electronic compositions of the Disco genre for the likes of Donna Summers and other artists, prophesying the coming of Disco's successor House and later Techno.

Disco was about dance and produced numerous dance-craze like the bump, the bus stop, the hustle etc. 


Isaac Hayes is credited to have invented disco, followed by Barry White, who introduced ornate arrangements that greatly impacted and was integral to the genre. During the early 70s, disco was only played in clubs and promoted by club Djs. It received little airplay from mainstream radios, but slowly became omni-present. In 1974, Disco had its first hit in Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” and produced only for the club. By 1975, disco hit the mainstream to the point where white acts began producing songs in the genre, like Casey and the Sunshine Band. By 76, Disco started to dominate the Top 40 charts. In 1977, Disco became the mainstream with the Bee-Gees dominating and the soundtrack of Saturday Night Live omnipresent. It reached its greatest peak from January 1978 through October 1979. In late 79, the disco backlash began and sales of disco plummeted. With the fall of disco, we see the rise of Rap and Hip-Hop.

Related Article: Funk , Techno ,

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