OPINION

Dancing was what disco was all about; the lyrics were somewhat superficial

Brandon Case
Pratt Tribune
Brandon Case

Disco balls, strobe lights, black light, and fog machines created a unique atmosphere at my junior high dances, but what about the sound?

The 1970s birthed the disco era. This music was known for having a good, danceable beat with catchy lyrics, although the lyrical depth may not have been there. Still, for those who lived during those days, disco music left its imprint, for better or worse.

So, let’s do a few dance steps through those magical years …

Perhaps the quintessential disco song was “Disco Inferno” by the Trammps. While the refrain, “Burn, baby, burn, disco inferno” was perhaps an anthem for 1970s disco partiers, others were just as prone to sing “That’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh), I like it,” with KC and the Sunshine Band. Of course no night at the discotheque (or school dance) would have been complete without hearing Michael Jackson sing, “Keep on with the force, don’t stop / Don’t stop, ‘til you get enough.” Perhaps that was a nod to the original, 1977 Star Wars movie?

Dancing was what disco was all about. Some took Leo Sayers’ cue when he sang, “You make me feel like dancing / I’m gonna dance the night away.” Those guys who were polished dancers probably went out looking for someone like Abba’s “Dancing Queen” to dance the night away. Some songs, likewise, created their own specialty dance, as when the Village People sang “YMCA,” and everybody spelled it out.

The Bee Gees, which originally formed in Australia in 1955, discovered a renewed purpose and new hits in the disco era with songs like “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”

Everyone was welcome at the disco, as Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. informed us when they sang, “You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my show.”

If you could sing, “Ah, freak out. La Freak, c’est chic. Freak out!” then you knew most of the lyrics to that disco hit by Chic.

Certainly, no night at the discotheque would ever be complete without Donna Summer singing “Hot Stuff” or one of her other 1970s hits.

While the lyrics for many disco songs were somewhat superficial, a couple of 1970s songs, which are probably not even considered disco, left a favorable imprint within my musical catalogue.

“Reunited” by Peaches and Herb tells of reconciliation when a couple is “reunited because it feels so good.” In this duet, the couple realize that it’s much better to be together than apart: “There’s one perfect fit / And, sugar, this one is it.” Another song, “Still the One,” by Orleans has a positive, upbeat message about a couple who are still together after a lot of years and some rough roads. The song contains some great, playful lyrics, like, “We've been together since way back when / Sometimes I never want to see you again / But I want you to know, after all these years / You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear.” Another stanza from the song: “You're still the one who can scratch my itch / You're still the one that I wouldn't switch / We're still having fun, and you're still the one.”

That’s a good note to leave the 70s on, as the decades ahead would see many couples choosing to opt out rather than opt in.