Sunday, September 30, 2007

And The Beat Goes On

As a kid in the ‘70s, I lived for Saturdays. No school. Bugs Bunny. The Superfriends. Valley of the Dinosaurs. And record shopping. Every Saturday, after the weekly blitz of cartoons and Kenner, Milton Bradley and Hasbro ads, mom and I would head to the shopping center, and every Saturday excursion involved a tour of Murphy Mart. She would search the aisles for Saturday bargains on household essentials and ladies’ polyester pant suits, and I would get completely lost in the record section. While all the other kids panhandled their parents for Hot Wheels racetracks, Stretch Armstrong dolls and Battlestar Galactica spaceships, I was obsessively scouring the 45s and the K-Tel collections for new disco songs.

Looking back, I’m really not sure how, or why, I developed my deep, deep passion for dance and electronic music. It’s just always been there. In my small part of the world – far, far from anyone who’d ever been to a discotheque – I was surrounded by Hank Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Eagles. But, my first favorite song, was KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s the Way (I Like It),” and by the time Chic released “Le Freak,” I was already a self-proclaimed 8-year-old disco authority. I would spend hours in my room escaping into a Casablanca and Salsoul world.

In 1979, when disco collapsed under the weight of corporate mainstreaming, “Saturday Night Fever” and a racist, anti-gay backlash, I was still dancing along with the Soul Train regulars in the living room. I learned pretty quickly not to advertise my love of disco, and as I neared my teenage years I had moved on to soul and new wave. Yes, I knew that I was still listening to disco, but it had become a word that could get you beat up.

Almost 30 years later, I’m still taken away by well-composed dance tracks, and I love researching and analyzing and sharing the history of dance music. I particularly admire the die-hard dance artists who kept the beat going between disco and house music. So, here are a few of, what I consider, the most important tracks of the post-disco, pre-house era of dance music. Enjoy, and get down.

"Let The Music Play" - Shannon - 1983

"The Look Of Love" - ABC - 1982

"Planet Rock" - Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force - 1982

"Blue Monday" - New Order - 1983

"Let It Whip" - The Dazz Band - 1982

"Relax" - Frankie Goes To Hollywood - 1983

"Jam On It" - Newcleus - 1984

"Don't Make Me Wait" - The NYC Peech Boys - 1982

"Don't Go" - Yazoo - 1982

1 comment:

Lauren J said...

I used to love Saturday mornings too, the morning cartoon orgy was a big deal for my sister and I.

I remember the disco era, I was in HS when Saturday Night Fever came out, and wanting to go to NYC to try and get into Studio 54. Of course, I have no dancing skills, so I was kind of glad when disco moved on.