Friday, March 09, 2012


I caught up with the recent Disco related documentaries on BBC4 this week. Enjoyable stuff on the whole. One was a repeat and dated back to 2006 I think,  and it was interesting to see how much Giorgio Moroder had aged in these last few years!

When did Disco start and when did it end exactly?

It’s strange to think that we conceivably have Hitler to thank for the origins of the Discotheque.  In 40s occupied France the Nazis banned live jazz bands in Paris and as a result illicit underground clubs sprang up playing recorded music in what became known as Discotheques.

In my formative years (= mid teens = c1973/74) I went to my first clubs. That’s how they were generally known then. The first I can remember were those at the local rugby club. I have never been a rugby player, they just had great club nights - where what was already known then as a “mobile disco” would spin the holy vinyl although you wouldn’t then have said you were going to the “disco”. When a short time later I went “down town” it would be to a night club.     

Then along came Disco….. it all went overground on a grand scale…. Saturday Night Fever…. Disco Duck… Rod Stewart and the Stones jump on the bandwagon…   aaaaggghhh! …….. Disco Sucks and the ritual demolition of thousands of disco records (no doubt many extended 12” mixes included) in Chicago in 1979..

….. and it all went underground again and we went to plain old (night) clubs once again.

Of course some of us had been going to plain old clubs listening and dancing to fantastic grooves – soul, funk, reggae, and “disco” – all along, and continued to do so.  

At the time I resented the Chicago disco demolition as I loved (and played as a DJ) a lot of records that could be described in its widest sense as disco. But now, looking back, I can support what they did. OK, the people who did it had their own agenda that went beyond the music, but from a purely musical point of view “Disco” had been massively over commercialised and had become a monster. I, for one, was happy for it to go underground again, without possibly completely realising it at the time.

Recently ”Aerodrome” has been dropped from the dictionary as it fallen into disuse as a word. If you search Wikipedia for Discotheque this is what you get.
Here is a sound from my early rugby clubs days. The origins of Disco? Just great club music I would say.

On a more soulful tip I’ve always liked the B side too…

Ace Records' Ady Croasdell, who issued Act One's one and only LP on CD a few years ago, wrote:

"Researching the group has been tough, as the main man - producer, writer and general svengali, Raeford Gerald - died several years ago. Old contracts have thrown up several group members names and changes within the line-up, but speculation is inevitable as several questions remain unanswered. Unfortunately no photos of any of the groups line-ups could be found. "


ana-b said...

That's a great one! Love it!

Junior K said...

I was disappointed with the BBC4 disco documentary. They wheeled out he same old Bee Gees et al, when they could have concentrated on underground stuff like your post.

Robert Cass said...

Thanks for introducing me to "Tom the Peeper"! What a fun song.