Sociology of Disco

I’m trying to think of a genre of music more hated than disco. Whether it technically is or not (there’s no way to prove said conjecture), I’m very interested as to why it’s hated so much.

Not that I’m necessarily a fan, (I don’t mind hearing a disco song every now and again), but it’s worth a look.

Disco is a form of dance music that emanated from gay, Black and Hispanic communities in the early 1970s.

There’s your answer.

I hate that that is your answer, but it’s painfully obvious why it is the answer. As this style of music spread across the country, lots of people didn’t take too kindly to it.

In his book Appetite For Self-Destruction, Steve Knopper details what took place at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, on July 12, 1979. Organized by Chicago disc-jockey Steve Dahl was a 37-minute, on-the-field, bonfire-style destruction of disco records.

This makes me laugh because it could not have been more pointless. However, I’m sitting here on March 24, 2009 (nearly 30 years later), writing about it. Because on many levels, it actually is important, in terms of looking deeper into how music impacts people.

I’ll wrap with Knopper’s hilarious take on why the night at Comiskey was necessary.

“What was so intimidating about people dancing in nightclubs? Why did rock fans in Chicago hate disco so much?

Because it sucked. That’s why.

The songs, the dancing, the roller-skating, the disco balls, the heavy makeup – it was all so massive, so goofy, and over the top. Andy Warhol, Studio 54, Skatetown, USA, “Disco Duck” – people were getting sick of this stuff. Besides, in order to make it with a lady, during the disco craze, a guy had to learn how to dance. And wear a fancy suit! It was an outrage. (It’s also possible these rock fans hated disco because black people and gay people liked it, although nobody talked about that in public.) Whatever the reason, the backlash was inevitable. Disco needed to be destroyed, and Dahl appointed himself the pied piper for this enraged crowd.”

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2 thoughts on “Sociology of Disco

  1. Pingback: Disco Demolition 30 Years Later; A Video from ESPN « Clore Chronicles

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