Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Adam's answer to "When did disco die?" as posted on Wiki Answers
Although the backlash against disco gained momentum in 1978 with the success of Saturday Night Fever, there were still many successful disco songs over the next couple of years. July 12, 1979, was Disco Demolition Night at a Chicago White Sox game, and represented this backlash at its height. Fewer disco songs were being played on the radio by then, but disco sort of held on for another year so that Donna Summer's “On the Radio” was a hit in January 1980, Lipps, Inc.’s “Funkytown” was a worldwide smash in the spring, Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” topped the US charts in February, and “Upside Down” by Diana Ross did the same as late as September. Ross’s follow-up single, “I’m Coming Out,” was also a big hit.
However, that was about the last hurrah. Groups like Chic, Boney M (popular in Europe), and the Village People had already declined in popularity. Donna Summer’s next hit was "The Wanderer,” which was in a different style. Until newer dance music like Michael Jackson's Thriller-era hits and early Madonna took hold, there were far fewer dance-oriented pop hits in the early 1980s as compared with 1978-1979. The biggest dance hits of 1981 were songs such as Blondie's “Rapture” and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” that weren’t disco, although Kool & the Gang's “Celebration” (#1 in February 1981) was sort of a bridge between disco and newer dance sounds, as was the Commodores hit “Lady You Bring Me Up.” The band Change (featuring Luther Vandross) had R&B hits that still sounded like disco into 1982; Earth, Wind, and Fire’s 1982 smash “Let's Groove” is funky disco, and even 1983's “Fall in Love with Me” has much of the same sound, but with a harder edge. Some people would make a case for even-later songs such as Kool and The Gang's “Fresh” (1985), but the production on these lacks the lushness of pure disco.
The disco sound was absorbed into newer dance sounds, especially house music, and it has recently made a comeback with songs by Madonna (“Hung Up”), Kylie Minogue, and other singers, though less so in the US than elsewhere. However, the original disco genre was almost completely dead by 1981, and certainly did not survive 1983.