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What is Disco Music?

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Question: What is Disco Music?
Answer: Disco comes from the word "discotheque;" a term used to describe the nightclubs people went to during the 1960s and 70s. Disco music is meant to be danced to or to entice listeners to get up and dance. At first, disco music was enjoyed inside nightclubs, with Disc Jockeys (or deejay/DJ) playing and mixing songs like "Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band, "Never Can Say Goodbye" by Gloria Gaynor and other artists.

Later on, the tempo of these songs became faster, the playing time longer and songs from other genres such as funk were mixed in. By the mid 1970s, disco music dominated the airwaves with songs like "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman and later, "More Than A Woman," "Night Fever," "Stayin' Alive" and "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees being played.

Soon, disco music could also be heard on movies, with films like Saturday Night Live further fuelling its popularity. It became so popular that even artists like Cher, Kiss and Rod Stewart all recorded disco songs. By the 1980s, the appeal of disco music dwindled but made a comeback during the 90s. Music that was derived from disco include Euro, Garage, House and HI-Energy.

Other songs that became a favorite are:

  • "I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges
  • "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward
  • "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Everybody Dance" and "Good Times" by Chic
  • "Upside Down" by Diana Ross
  • "Love to Love You Baby" by Donna Summer
  • "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.
  • Independent and big-name record labels during the disco era include:

  • Atlantic
  • Casablanca
  • Columbia
  • Prelude
  • SalSoul
  • T.K. Disco
  • WestEnd
  • Music Sample:
    "Never Can Say Goodbye" by Gloria Gaynor courtesy of YouTube

    More Information
    Disco Flashback from our Dance Music guide

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