Episode #1: Disco Doesn't Suck
00:33 Amy explains how the cute kid in junior high pushed her into the disco closet with his disco sucks T-shirt and drops the first of what will probably be many Columbia House record references. (Show of hands from people who always forgot the send that card back in?)
03:07 Mini-history lesson about how the free love era of the 60s had little love for the queer community, the Stonewall uprising, and how this marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
07:26 “Love Saves the Day”: David Mancuso opens up his private residence, which comes to be known as The Loft, and provides a safe space for the gay community to shake their groove thing.
09:16 Francis “DJ Francis” Grasso invents slip-cueing, or matching beats, and keeps the music flowing all night long. The role of the DJ begins to transition from human jukebox to lord of the dance floor.
11:24 One of the early disco hits, “Rock the Boat” seems kind of innocent now. Amy isn’t even sure she could classify it as disco today. Still, it got heavy rotation from club DJs, Harry Wayne Casey heard it when he was living in Miami, and he was inspired to write “Rock Your Baby.” Amy plays the opening of both songs to prove just how inspired Mr. KC and the Sunshine Band was.
15:25 Amy theorizes that the “Disco Sucks” crowd really hated the more emotional disco that rose from the Philly Sound AND that the gay community loved. She offers her opinion that the straight white men who made up the bulk of the “Disco Sucks” club were cool with some types of sexual references in songs but not others. This leads to what may be a first in podcast history: a compare/contrast of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and ZZ Top’s “Tube Snake Boogie.”
20:46 How is it possible that anyone denied the gay themes in “YMCA?” Possibly for the same reasons that their grandmothers loved Liberace or rock and roll fans pretended not to see David Bowie kiss Lou Reed.
24:36 To review: Disco does not suck if you like to dance, which was true for many women and many gay men. (It did also suck to many in the black music establishment, but that will be explored in a future episode.) Is it possible that a lot more people liked disco than we are led to believe because straight white men tend to be heard above everyone else? Yes, it is possible.
26:45 Check out Episode 2, which takes a look at what was happening in America in the 1970s that gave us a mostly new genre of music: country-pop.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
SOURCES USED TO CREATE THIS EPISODE
Beta, Andy. “10 Classic Songs from the Loft, David Mancuso’s Influential Dance Party.” Pitchfork. 15 November 2016.
Donna Summer. "I Feel Love." I Remember Yesterday, Casablanca, 1977.
Echols, Alice. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture. 2010.
George McRae. "Rock Your Baby." Rock Your Baby, TK Records 1974.
Hues Corporation. "Rock the Boat." Freedom from the Stallion, RCA Victor, 1973.
Kopkind, Andrew. “The Dialectic of Disco: Gay Music Goes Straight.” The Village Voice. 12 February 1979.
Lawrence, Tim. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979. 2004.
Shulman, Bruce J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. 2001.
The Village People. "Y.M.C.A." Cruisin’, Casablanca, 1978.
HOW TO CITE THIS PODCAST
“Disco Doesn’t Suck.” For the Record: The 70s, 17 October 2018
Bella, interrupter of podcasts.