Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sound Opinions - Disco Dissection

Every year in Chicago there’s a remembrance of Disco Demolition Night. Whether it’s a fond remembrance or not depends a lot on one’s attitudes toward music and culture. Many locals saw the event as a way to vent their frustration over a fad they despised. Other’s saw it as a violent reaction from a mostly white, middle-class crowd toward a music whose roots are urban, black, Latino, and gay.

Earlier this year music journalists Greg Kot and Jim Jim DeRogatis put together a very interesting radio show about the disco genre. By the time the music reached the ears of Middle America it had already been watered down by a rush of singers and bands trying to cash in on the trend – to me, the “disco sucks” taunt is accurate only during the time when KISS, Dolly Parton, and the Rolling Stones were making disco records. But when it first started, disco was the next step in dance music, combining expert talent from soul and rhythm and blues with cutting edge production, including the first widespread forays into electronic instrumentation.

Kot and DeRogatis’ report is well worth a listen, as it sets the record straight on a widely misunderstood music form. Go to http://www.soundopinions.org/ and look for show #184, first broadcast on June 5, 2009.

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