Karen Lynn Gorney and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever
I always found Disco music catchy. Even as a little girl I remember playing Donna Summer and dancing to her song as it sent electricity through my body. What were her songs about? I had no idea. All I knew was that I found disco music to be bold and bad and I enjoyed groovin’ to it.
I recently learned about its historical roots in class and found some interesting facts about it that I thought I’d share here. It was a genre invented during the 70’s in NYC to escape the dullness and mundane of everyday life, substituting as a popular pastime to compensate for the hours spent working a typical 9-5 day job. Disco music was originally known to be played for black and latino men in gay clubs, but was later adopted by white artists who introduced Disco into the mainstream for all heterosexual individuals to take part in. Disco is seen to be a bit risque often using sexualized dance moves, challenging the strict and traditional values at the time. However, it was through the medium of pop culture movies that made it socially acceptable for everyone to listen to and be played on public radio. One of these movies is Saturday Night Fever, featuring John Travolta, a movie I just recently watched. It was this movie that essentially commercialized Disco and made it marketable for audiences of all types. It was interesting to take a peek into how the 70’s were like (in NYC at least) in terms of its pop culture, musical (even fashion) tastes, and the tough street persona everyone seem to take on. Some musical icons whose career touched upon The Disco scene was Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, who both released big hits such as “Love Hangover” and “Dont Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” respectively. While the times of Disco are long gone and can be seen only as a figment of music history, it certainly made it’s mark and influenced some of the great artists we know and greatly admire today.