From the time that I was a young girl, I have been a fan of disco music. Prominent in the Seventies, this genre of music bore an early death at the end of the decade but spawned other genres of dance music including house, freestyle and electronica in the Eighties.
I can't pinpoint an exact song that started my passion for disco music. It may have started when I learned the YMCA dance made famous by The Village People or when I learned the words to I Will Survive, the famous break up song by Gloria Gaynor. Or maybe it began with those famous Kiss Master Mixes in the 1980s.
Many of the R&B and Dance songs that I grew up with, in fact, were really disco songs sung by disco artists and repackaged without the disco label since disco was apparently dead. Artists such as Sharon Redd, a disco diva in her own right, began her career doing back up work for Bette Midler and sang with the disco group Front Page. Her songs Never Give You Up and Beat The Street are two of my absolute favorite songs ever. Jocelyn Brown, another disco diva who is famous for the hit song Somebody Else's Guy, started out with groups like Inner Life and Musique performing disco music in the Seventies as well.
And then of course there were artists such as Barry White, Diana Ross and even Donna Summers and many more, whose voices and talent transcended the disco movement. These artists continued to have successful careers well into the Eighties and Nineties. Let us not forget about the artists who dipped into disco for a brief second before returning to the rock, soul and jazz music they were known for---artists such as Queen, Rod Stewart and Isaac Hayes come to mind.
I think my passion for disco music really expanded during my years in college. It was during this time that I began to purchase disco music to add to my music collection. I started with the popular disco collections such as Pure Disco 1 & 2 and then moved on to the greatest collection hits from artists such as Barry White, Donna Summer, Chic and Gloria Gaynor etc. I've discovered the underground disco hits, have been dazzled by the disco one hit wonders and have been delighted by the hard to find disco songs that only true disco fans know about. Songs like Burnin' by Carol Douglas, Sugar Pie Guy by The Joneses and Mainline by Black Ivory come to mind.
I love the novelty disco songs such as The Best Disco In Town by The Ritchie Family, Disco Lucy by the Wilton Place Street Band, D.I.S.C.O by Ottawa and Dario Can You Get Me Into Studio 54 by Dana & Gene---even though my mother thinks all of these songs are corny. I enjoy the sexy disco songs with the double entendres disco was famous for such as Push Push In The Bush by Musique and Do Ya Wanna Funk? by Sylvester. I also enjoy the songs that hint at our dark and primal ways such as Hooked For Life by The Trammps (which is obviously about drug use) and Peter Brown's Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me (which talks about not being able to resist temptation).
What I appreciate most about this genre of music is its broad range of sounds and the diversity of its artists. Disco is one of the few musical genres to incorporate classical, jazz, gospel, rock elements and merge them with funky grooves and bass lines. Some of the biggest hits in disco music were instrumental songs such as Mister Magic by Grover Washington, Rise by Herb Alpert, and Love's Theme by Love Unlimited. Rock artists such as Rod Stewart and Queen combined rock riffs with their disco hits and artists like Sylvester used elements of gospel as a backdrop for some of his disco masterpieces. Disco was so creative, original and fun that today's popular artists have sampled these songs over and over again.
As I continue to add to my disco collection, I am constantly learning more about this genre, its producers, artists, musicians and even the famous club DJs from back in the day. Mix masters such as Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Shep Pettibone, Francois Kevorkian and Arthur Baker and so many more, were known for the classic mixes of some of the biggest hits in the Seventies and Eighties. These guys were featured on the radio and in some of the biggest clubs (Studio 54, The Loft and Paradise Garage) of their time. I've also had the good fortune of finding some of their mixes and adding them to my music collection. And having these songs in my collection makes me wish that I was at some of these clubs back in the day.
The website, Disco Music, is a disco queen's haven for information on everything related to disco music. It acts almost like an online museum providing disco history and information about the artists and clubs of that era. I love to visit its discussion forum and its pages describing some of the more famous discotheques from all over the world. The best stories come from the people who were actually there. I love to read their posts in the Comments section on those pages.
In summary, disco is fun, care-free, happy music. It gives me the energy to make it through a tough work session, provides a pick-me-up to get me through a rough day. Frankly, sometimes I listen to disco, funk and classic soul music more than I listen to today's popular music. Simply put, I love disco and readily accept my place as a Disco Queen.
So there you have it, the history of how I became a Disco Queen....Now look forward to a few musical playlists dedicated entirely to disco music...