Feb 15, · S teve Dahl had his dream job as a boisterous disc jockey at Chicago’s WDAI, the city’s longtime rock station. But as midnight struck on New Year’s Day , the station abruptly changed its format to disco. Dahl claims he was fired. When he resurfaced at WLUP that spring, he declared war on the music that had rendered him unemployed. Jul 12, · “They were really chanting `Disco sucks! Disco sucks! Disco Demolition Night — perhaps the most infamous promotion in sports history — occurred on July 12, Dec 19, · DISCO SUCKS Back in the summer of , the Detroit rock radio DJ Steve Dahl was so aggrieved that his beloved Stones and Zeppelin were being dropped from playlists in favour of Village People, Donna Summer and Chic, that he launched his "Disco sucks!".
By and large, the musicians react with the puzzlement you might expect from an Elvis sideman being asked if his guitar licks helped end the Vietnam War. This makes for some funny scenes, but there's a level on which it misses the Or Not. You can provide the soundtrack for gay liberation without giving a damn about gay lib yourself, and you can reflect feminist currents in the culture without deliberately setting out to create a feminist song.
Kastner is also unfair to Echols, setting her up as holding reductive views that her book explicitly rejects. Interviewed in the film, she says that "'disco sucks' is usually understood as being fundamentally a sentiment rooted in homophobia and racism, and I think that there's a lot of that there, there's a lot of evidence to support that.
The movie is happy to mock the musicians as well as the academics. In the film's funniest sequence, the current members of the Village People brazenly assert that there was nothing gay about their material, claiming that "there was not one double entendre in any of the music" and that " In the Navy " was written as an earnest celebration of sea life.
This is intercut with an interview with Henri Belolo, who wasn't a member of the band but produced their records, co-wrote many of their songs, and played a major role in inventing their image.
As the singers issue their denials, Belolo talks about "how we created a gay-positive message" and discusses the barely hidden gay-cruising subtext of " YMCA.
Or maybe they're being poker-faced jokers, too. But I don't think so: At the end of the movie, right before the credits roll, we see some post-interview footage of a Village Person pretending to throttle Kastner as he warns the filmmaker that he reads too many books. The classical conspiracy theory is a black-and-white tale of good and evil. Mostly evil. All the film's claims are suspect, but even its most suspect claims contain truths.
Even the Village People's absurd denials have some truth to them, Disco Sucks. The country, after all, is filled with people who happily dance to "YMCA" without any thoughts about gay guys looking to pick someone up at the Y. If it's possible to create a gay-lib soundtrack without meaning to do so, it's just as possible to deliberately craft the gayest thing ever and then watch as it gets played at straight people's wedding parties.
Whatever you might intend to say when you release a record, its meaning is made on the dance floor. This article originally appeared in The New Inquiry. David Bernstein 8. Eugene Volokh 8. From thirty-plus years on, the whitest, mainstreamest of disco doesn't seem that different from white-boy hard rock. Which doesn't surprise me: as someone who likes both, disco hate has come off as a cultural signifier more than a matter of musical taste since I was old enough to figure out the difference.
I'll leave this here as well. This could be a really useful teaching tool for me, in the sense that its sometimes hard to get students who have no direct memory of the anti-disco backlash in the US to believe that anti-disco sentiment had much to do with race and sexuality. The stylistic overlap evidenced in this video says something about how similar vocal styles had vastly different reception histories in the 80s and 90s.
Wax Audio is really good at this. Add to this the fact that, as always with pop trends, the stuff that got the most exposure was usually the thinnest in terms of genuine quality, and you ended up with a perfect storm of SUCK by about As an example, in my town Vancouverthe preeminent rock station in town went from a broad mix of styles in early to proudly percent disco by early When Bruce Springsteen released Darkness on the Edge of Town, it barely got played on the radio at all.
Or for that matter anything from David Bowie's two releases Low and Heroes. It sucked. As an astute observer of American cultural history, I have long believed that America was at the pinnacle of greatness till the downfall of disco and the disappearance of the Rat Pack My memory of "Disco Sucks" was that it came from rockers and wasn't, in any way, a mainstream backlash.
That which has been heard cannot be unheard. My gripe with it is, it killed the era of classic soul. Artists like Little Beaver were, overnight, shit out of luck in Disco Sucks music business. I'll leave this here to go with the other things that were left here. We were also country kids who didn't even know gay existed, and had know idea that disco had black roots. To us disco was variety shows with dorky year old white men in polyester suits and bad hair.
And "disco sucks" was a fun slogan for a season or two. For us, anti-disco sentiment had almost nothing to do with either race or sexuality. In the rural area I lived in, the Disco Sucks sentiment was not about race, and if anyone was gay, they sure didn't talk about it. It was just the utter pretentiousness of the scene. It seemed all the worst people embraced it. The jocks, and their makeup queen girlfriends would dress up and pretend they were in Saturday Night Fever.
Also, as a musician, disco just seemed so vapid. It wasn't about anything but mindless fun. I always expected a little message meat on the bone when it came Disco Sucks songs In the years since I have developed a nostalgic fondness for it, and look at guys like Nile Rodgers as a damn near god. But back then, it just seemed like cotton candy for the ears.
My Brain Just Broke I hated disco because I couldn't dance, but I could thrash! Now, that I can do neither, I enjoy more music.
If you hated disco for reasons that are completely free of racial, gender, and sexual considerations: hooray for you, I guess. But the racist, homophobic and often also genderphobic dimensions of the US anti-disco backlash are there are very well documented by a number of historians at this point.
The best reading on this would probably be Alice Echols's Hot Stuffin which Echols closely traces contemporary American representations of disco in public culture while also uncovering how a group of rock-oriented radio DJs and music critics made explicit plans to exploit these sexual and racial associations to undermine the disco industry which did not occur to anywhere near the same extent outside of the US, by the way.
The choice of the verb "to suck" for the anti-disco slogan was not chosen at random by these radio disc jockeys. Later, disco was explicitly associated with derogatory representations of gay men in a number of early punk 'zines in which disco was usually positioned as punk's mortal enemyand that was just the tip of the iceberg. By the mid's, disco's downfall dovetailed conveniently with the AIDS crisis in a way that was picked up by politicians and cultural commentators alike, mixing together themes of cultural and biological sterility, artificiality, disease, and cultural decadence to form a political punching bag for America's posts hangover.
Books by Tim Lawrence and Peter Shapiro also attest to this and document it in close detail. So, I'd suggest some further reading before dismissing offhand the messy cultural politics of disco.
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Jun 18, · "Midwesterners didn't want that intimidating [disco] style shoved down their throats," said Dahl. What began as on-air mischief soon snowballed into an anti-disco . Jul 16, · July 12, 'The Night Disco Died' — Or Didn't One muggy Thursday, 50, rowdy rock fans packed Chicago's Comiskey Park to see disc jockey Steve Dahl blow up a crate of disco . They literally started the slogan "disco sucks." Detroit rock radio DJ Steve Dahl is probably the most famous of these disco hating dj's. You have to remember though, disco record sales didn't start really falling until the late 70's early 80's. Thats nearly ten years of heavy popularity.
Disco Demolition Night was a Major League Baseball (MLB) promotion on Thursday, July 12, , at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, that ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.
Aug 03, · I’ m worn out from defending myself as a racist homophobe for fronting Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park. This event was just a moment in time. Not racist, not anti-gay. Just kids, pissing on a. Disco Demolition Night was a Major League Baseball (MLB) promotion on Thursday, July 12, , at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, that ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.
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The slogan they chanted over and over, until their voices were raw, was: ‘Disco sucks!’ That summer, disco music was everywhere, saturating pop culture at the expense of almost all other genres of music. Jul 12, · In the bottom of the ninth of the first game, chants of "disco sucks" almost drowned out the sounds of baseball. The White Sox lost the first game. And as .
If you’re over the age of 45, you probably remember seeing a “Death before disco” T-shirt at some point in your life, or its to-the-point cousin, “Disco sucks.” Imagine hating a music genre (with a.
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