Early days of Disco

Disco is like a time capsule for many of us. The music, the clothes, and the dance moves are all things that remind us of our youths and what we did to get down and boogie with friends. We got dressed up, went downtown, and partied hard until it was time to go home or maybe go for breakfast.

Who can forget the bellbottom pants, big afro hairstyles, and platform shoes? Men often wore big medallions on a chain around their necks. Women wore colorful, shiny tops with lots of jewelry.

When you got ready to go out, there was some excitement involved. You always enjoyed yourself, and you were certain that you would. If you had been watching Soul Train that week, you probably wanted to practice a few new dance moves.

Many of the customers weren’t married, and of those who were, some didn’t have children yet, so they had more free time and opportunities to socialize. They had wide social networks and a strong sense of community. It was the happiest time of their lives for many discogoers.

Disco music was popular during the 1970s but in the early part of the ’70s, there was no such thing as disco music. What we did have was plenty of songs that had infectious, danceable beats in the early ’70s. These were precursors to and inspired disco music. Performers like Diana Ross who started off singing rock & roll songs segued to disco sounds as the genre became popular.

In 1969-71, talented DJs curated danceable music with songs such as “Say it Loud” by James Brown, “Soul Makossa” by Mani Dibango, and “Do the Hustle” by Van McCoy.

These recordings were not disco songs per se, but they kept people on the dance floor and paved the way for the tidal wave of disco records that would be produced a couple of years later. Disco music came out of soul, funk, and R&B songs – straight out of the African American songbook.