The classic Disco sound can be defined by a prominent drum machine beat, funky bassline and itchy ‘chicken scratch’ rhythm, played tautly and close to the neck of an electric guitar. Sumptuous string arrangements, generally high vocals and a jangle of hi-hat cymbals add a theatricality befitting the glittering environments and colorfully dressed patrons of the discos themselves, as do dramatic piano glissandi that tend to come sweeping out of nowhere. Upbeat lyrics almost exclusively about love, empowerment or disco dancing complete a heady mix.
The roots of Disco can be heard in the dance rhythms, punchy vocals and jingly hi-hat of Motown records in the 60s, and the smoother, string-laden Philadelphia Sound that began to challenge Detroit as the dominant force in soul music on the cusp of the 60s and 70s.
A lot of the inspiration for Disco can be attributed to MFSB, the house band at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios, which played on one of the first hits with a recognizable Disco sound: “Love Train” by vocal harmony group The O’Jays. MFSB stood for Mother Father Sister Brother, if you want the clean version, or Mother-Fucking Sons of Bitches if you want to know how hot they played. Either way, “Love Train” had most of what you could want from a Disco song, including its call for unity and inclusion – People all over the world, join hands – that was central to New York’s club ethos.
It came out in 1972 and topped the US charts early the following year. Other contenders for Disco’s first big hit include “Rock The Boat” by the Hues Corporation and the orchestral instrumental “Love’s Theme” by Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra.
Stream the Classic Disco Sounds via Spotify!
Arguably the record that really nailed down the sound of Disco, though, was “Rock Your Baby” by George McCrae, which became a worldwide chart-topper in the summer of 1974. The song was written by Harry Wayne Casey – the ‘KC’ from KC and the Sunshine Band – and his bandmate Richard Finch. They cut the backing track as a Sunshine Band record at TK Records in Miami but Casey couldn’t manage the song’s high notes. McCrae happened to be on hand to stand in and went on to sell 11 million copies. As well as McCrae’s sky-high Ah-AHHs and calls for his Woooo-man to hold me in your arms and rock your baby, the record was one of the first to feature a drum machine.
KC and the Sunshine band weren’t left on the sidelines by McCrae’s success. With Casey on vocals and keyboards, the group went on to enjoy a string of Disco hits, including “Get Down Tonight”, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty”, and “That’s The Way (I Like It)”. As the white leader of a large band of predominantly black musicians and backing singers, Casey epitomised Disco’s multiculturalism.
Gloria Gaynor, meanwhile, became the music’s first female diva with an album specially made for the dance clubs. Produced by Jay Ellis, Meco Monardo, Tony Bongiovi and Harold Wheeler – collectively known as the Disco Corporation of America – the first side of her 1974 long-player “Never Can Say Goodbye” comprised just three songs, “Honey Bee”, the title track and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, run together into a continuous 19-minute swathe of music, characterised by a thumping beat, swirling strings and Gaynor’s soaring vocals. It was an industry first and Gaynor, who had been singing in clubs since the mid- 60s, was initially unsure about the extended format, observing that there were large stretches of music when she wasn’t singing. The producers told her: “You better learn to disco dance, then!”
The risk paid off when the disc took the dancefloors by storm and DJs played the whole 19 minutes. The extracted single, a cover of the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye”, was the first song to top the Disco Action chart when it was introduced by music trade paper Billboard to chronicle the emerging New York scene. It also made the Top 10 of the US pop charts and took Gaynor around the world, hitting No.3 in Canada and No.2 in the UK.
Enjoy Arlin & Michel Gonzalez’s 7-Track EP ‘Green Light’ — LISTEN
There are so many good songs on ‘Green Light’, a 7-track EP from Miami-based artists Arlin (singer) & Michel Gonzalez (instrumentals). Certainly, most of these songs remind me of those classic Disco-Pop ballads from the late 70s. In essence, your nostalgic soul will love the whole material. Vocals are strong, crystal-clear and seductive. With comparisons to the likes of Disco legends like Celi Bee, Madleen Kane, and France Joli, it’s impossible not to be moved by Arlin’s voice.
Among my favorites is the first track, “Let You Down”, which starts with acoustic guitars and a touch of funkiness. However, I can see people grooving on the dancefloor with “Blah, Blah, Blah”. Therefore, it’s no exaggeration to say, it deserves to be on heavy rotation at clubs. Also, with soul flavors, she creates a love anthem called “The One To Stay”, which bursts with romantic lyrics and a high energetic melody. Currently available on all digital platforms, the ‘Green Light’ EP is surprisingly enjoyable. The singer of Cuban origin will perform her next concert on June 15th at the Koubek Center of Miami Dade. A show you won’t want to miss!
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Mattjax Unleashes Pure Disco Goodness With New EP ‘Back To 69’
Mattjax teams up with Dynamique to deliver a fantastic EP entitled ‘Back To 69’. Pure Disco goodness is in the air, as it features two gorgeous tunes that have funky guitar riffs and seductive vocals as a common denominator. On the one hand, the sweet groove of the self-titled track “Back To 69”, forces listeners to relive the memories where platform shoes and mirror balls were the norm. In truth, I would have liked it to last much longer than just two and a half minutes. While, on the other, “Like A Melody” is filled with smooth and sexy beats to play next time you need to set the mood for a romantic escapade. Accordingly, I’m looking forward to hearing much more from these talented guys in the coming months. Until then, you can stream the whole EP to the fullest down here!
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It’s Time For Disco! Luxxury Releases “i wanna be EVERYTHING” Video
Last month, Luxxury dropped some sort of vintage video collage for his latest single “i wanna be EVERYTHING”. This time the LA artist offers a good fusion of high falsettos, funky basslines, and guitar licks that encapsulate the wonders of Disco music. Not quite lyrical nor romantic as his old hit, “What Do Ya Really Want ”, I believe this new song is more focused on the energetic rhythm. In any case, you’ll notice there are references to sweat and sex, just watch this crazy clip below and get your own conclusions. Yet perhaps the most important news is that Luxxury has announced a new studio album and surprising collaborations for 2019, so stay tuned!
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There’s A Funny Video From Slam Dunk’d & Chromeo To Watch Right Now
Glitterbox is on everyone’s lips at the moment because is one of the few labels that support Disco music in our days. With respect to their catalog, Canadian duo Chromeo and legendary Producer Arthur Baker aka Slam Dunk’d join the family with an authentic release called “No Price”. On Spotify, you can stream three exclusive remixes from Armand Van Helden, Robosonic and Art Of Tones. In addition, prepare yourself to hear blown-out violins and gospel-like female vocals in the background of this funky gem. Actually, what really surprises me is that the music video isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Trust me, this clip is extremely funny and shouldn’t be missed. Watch it below and discover what’s wrong with the basketball player… 😄 LOL.
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Rosin Murphy & Ali Love Had So Much Fun Filming “Jacuzzi Rollercoaster” Video
Finally, the “Jacuzzi Rollercoaster” video is here! These amazing visuals were directed by Roisin herself, and Ali Love, who is also part of it. Overall, it’s very funny and trippy. It seems the more crowded people are, the more enjoyment there is likely to be. Sincerely, I wish I was a special guest in this hilarious clip, 😆 hahaha… In other words, I’m loving the energy of this funky track because it’s one of the best collaborations in recent years. There is no exaggeration in my words, you can prove it below while you get dizzy with some kaleidoscope VFX.
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