What is essential Disco stuff in your opinion?
Most people would probably say – polyester suites and platform shoes... and maybe something more they think is 'Disco'.
Was this actually the stuff YOU were thinking of? Anyhow – I'll now give you mine opinion on what I think was essential
to the disco scene... Things that people tend to forget!
First of the essentials is the Music of course!!! Without the music the Disco era wouldn't have been possible at
Then there is all the great Clubs. What would the Disco era have been without the Discoteques where people could
shake their legs to this great music. You have all heard of places like
Studio 54, Paradise Garage,
FunHouse, Xenon and lots of others. Whitin the clubs you'll find two
other of the essential disco pieces...
The Mirror ball... No club could call itself a Discoteque if they didn't have a mirror ball. It's just a must have...
And then, probably the most important piece of the club...
The DJ! What would a club without a DJ be? Most likely a silent and dead club...
Clubs with a DJ who couldn't feel the moods of the crowd and who didn't play the music the crowd wanted to hear would
soon have to close down (or try to find a new DJ).
During this era the DJ started to earn respect and popularity. From have been a guy who just used to change music from
one record to another, the DJ's techniques improved. Out was the kind of radio jock talking over the mixes, now beat
mixing entered the scene. The DJ's job became harder and more like an artists work. It's hard mixing two songs together
so everything sounds good through the whole mix and it's even harder to find tracks that fits so well together that it
isn't heard at all that a new song was mixed in. Eventually you in the crowd just find yourself singing on another track
and you didn't even notised that the DJ did anything at all... That's the optimal beat mix!!!
One of the first DJ's to beat mix was Bobby 'DJ' Guttadaro, he also let other DJ's enter his DJ-boot during his
sessions and teaching them the techniques in beat mixing. DJ's like him started to become 'heros' of the club life and
good/popular DJ's became very requested in playing in different clubs. Some of these DJ's were for example; the late
Larry Levan, John 'Jellybean' Benitez
and Francois Kevorkian, just to name a few.
The new beat mixing DJ culture also led to new demands on the tracks they played. To be able to put together greater
mixes the DJ's needed longer intro's and more breaks in the tunes. The 7-inch singles couldn't host songs longer than
about 3-4 minutes with good sound quality. So, in 1976 when people started to record longer single versions on the LP
format, a new format was founded - the 12-inch single was born.
There had been promotional 12-inch singles released for a while before the first ever commercial 12-inch single was
released. The first commercial 12-inch was SalSoul Records that released
their act Double Exposure's song Ten percent.
The 12-inch single became fast another of the essential disco stuff - no DJ could do without them…
When the 12-inch format was founded the DJ's demand for longer intro's and more breaks could be forfilled. The demand
for this new extented 12-inch versions gave birth to the Remixer and the remixes. These two components
are the last pieces of my list of disco essentials.
Who could better stand up to these demands and make these new extended remixes than the famous Club DJ's? It was quite
natural that popular DJ's became the first remixers (actually it's still the popular DJ's who gets to make the most
popular mixes/remixes). The pioneers in remixing was guys like Tom Moulton,
Bobby 'DJ' Guttadaro, Walter Gibbons, Jim Burgess & Larry Levan,
The DJ's and remixers of the disco era really made the way for todays DJ's and remixers. If the 70's DJ's wouldn't have
demanded longer songs that led to the 12-inch single – then the remixes probably never would have existed either.
So... I don't know how different MY list of Disco essentials was to what you think. But this is things I really think
ment a lot, not just only to Disco, but to all of the following dance music culture. What do YOU think?
'Till next time...
Take care and Disco-on,