I was a HUGE fan of disco, but it leaves a bad taste with many people because of their limited exposure to it. Just like any genre of music, some of it was good, some bad, and some was brilliant. And especially with dance-orented music, there is a percieved "sameness" to the sound that makes it all sound very cookie-cutter to the casual listener. Find a copy of Donna Summer's excellent Once Upon A Time CD if you want to show what disco music COULD be...
Actually I find it quite motivating when it comes time to clean-up those overflowing empty beer cans from the back of the pick-up truck bed or at those special occasions such as weddings between relatives
I've always disagreed with the "Disco Sucks" mantra. In the late 70's I started seeing T-shirts and other stuff with that saying on it and thought to myself, no it's actually pretty good! And I wasn't even old enough to go into the disco's and dance.
It's just that in the late 70's disco was so fucking huge. Almost every musical artist had a disco version of some song or another. There were very often new disco bands coming out with their one hit wonders. They rarely repeated with a follow-up hit, but there was already a new disco group and song waiting to take its place. Radio stations played an extreme amount of disco. TV programs were into too, either established series or variety shows which were very common. Movies began to over-do the disco theme. It oversaturated the radio, TV, movies, everything.
So naturally there was a backlash and it mostly came from the rock'n roll section... even though the same rock'n rollers were probably going to Studio 54 and getting toasted.
It doesn't really matter to me: all of it was good back then. Whether it was disco, rock, pop, jazz, etc. A lot of the disco songs had same very good production values. I despise very little of it. Years ago I saw Rick Dees wandering around lost in the building I used to work in. One of the first things that came out of my mouth was "Disco Duck!". Yeah that song sucked but it was funny.
I think the lyrics to The Who's "Sister Disco" pretty much sums it up.
That being said I can get behind the occasional KC & Sunshine Band or even the BeeGees.....on occasion.
The bottom line is that I don't think it was the music so much that spawned "Disco Sucks" so much as the whole disco lifestyle and social trend. Take it from one who actually was in more than one disco in the 70s - we're not missing much IMHO.
It DID "suck"! If you were a rocker in the mid seventies. The radio (and charts) went ALL disco. Even The Dead, went disco. Nothing against the music, as the women loved it and the party was ON! Just, NO choice! Bummed a lot of people out.
I think you have very selective memory...it's like saying that there's nothing but rap on the radio today. Like every other musical cycle (hair bands, New Wave, power ballads, etc.) there have always been rock hits and rock only stations.
I wasn't a great disco fan but there was an artist, Cory Daye I believe who put out some great music. I have her album stored away with my lp's and look forward to listening to it in this century. (will have to buy turntable)
I did the disco scene in Vancouver and it was a lot of fun. Especially showing up with my girlfriend/wife and her two sisters. I was in top form for a while. Then again this has nothing to do with the music.
What I find disturbing when I watch footage of "Disco Sucks" rallies (where records were being burned) and reading about the period (as well as disussing it with a couple professors who were around at the time) is the blatant racism and homophobia of the whole thing. Blacks, latinos, and gays made a very large part of the disco audience. Rock music by this time (both performers and consumers) had been completely appropriated by whites (mostly men). So when one sees white men destroying records they know full well were consumed by these marginalized social groups, how else should that be interpreted (that disco also appealed to the "jet set" no doubt created a class issue for the middle class and blue collar crowd)? The reaction to disco was a clear example of the mind/body split that pervades Western thought: by this time rock was "art" that was to be listened to. It was an activity for the mind. However, disco was made primarily for dancing. It was an activity for the body. The recent Janet Jackson controversy is an another example of the abject position the body holds in our culture. How often do we see outcry about displays of nudity, as if the sight of a breast or a penis were the most heinous trangression in the world?
All that said, most disco doesn't appeal to me (which is odd , since I enjoy funk and rap), but I do understand the aesthetic behind it. However, it's one thing to say it's not to your taste. It's quite another to be filling stadiums chanting "Disco Sucks!" and smashing and burning records; that says more about your prejudices than about the music.
I always thought allot of what The Bee Gees did was pretty good, though at the time I would never have admitted it. I was never one to follow the fads (too much) so I wasn't into disco like most others I knew were. I handled disco the way I did everything else that was the '70s. Tolerated it from a distance. O.K. so I had a couple pair of bell bottoms. Never said I was perfect! It was sad to see some rock acts trying to jump on the band wagon. Like The Kinks trying to do a live disco version of Lola. Shouldn't have done that. But the worst part of disco is I'm starting to like some of it!
According to one of the aforementioned professors who teaches a popular music course (which I recently TA'd), it's not a totally accurate depiction of the culture, since there are almost no blacks, latinos, etc. in the film. Disco culture was a way for people to transcend lower class status. Almost all money would be spent on nice clothes, so clubs would entirely consist of people who "looked good" regardless of ecomomic status.