Disco VS. Rock N Roll in the late 70s

JasonJason Posts: 1,931
I saw Detroit Rock City a couple days ago. I won't comment on the movie itself but I really dig the whole idea of a bunch of kids pursuing a dream (even if it's just a KISS concert).

At one point in the movie the animosity between the Disco and Rock N Roll crowds is discussed. A disco girl claims that "KISS will probably record a disco song" much to the disgust of the guys. I think the movie takes place in 1978. "I was Made For Loving You" reminds me of a disco-sounding song. I'm interested in hearing a little more from the people who lived in the era itself.
Did this New Wave/Disco/Alternative culture really threaten the existence of Rock N Roll in the late 70s?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Rock_City_(film)

Post edited by Baddstuff on
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Comments

  • LerxstFanLerxstFan Posts: 4,729
    Oh lord...those were some weird years musically. Yes, disco was huge and absolutely dominated much of the music and entertainment scene. But dig this grasshopper, it was only cool to those same types of shallow listeners that glorify stuff like rap nowadays and Nirvana as well. Yet during that time, some of the GREATEST rock was recorded. You had all those bands like Sabbath and Zep and Kiss and Rush and Yes and Purple and such just laying down some seriously righteous shit. So in the long run, disco remains an odd ode to overindulgence and not much more than a forgetable footnote to those who remember it.
  • ingveingve Posts: 1,616

    I remember it a little differently. It was possible to like both, and at the time I really didn't differentiate my likes/dislikes based on "disco" vs "rock". I suppose I didn't know that I was expected to!

    I can still enjoy lots of that era's disco material, stuff like Boney M, ABBA and the Satruday Night Fever soundtrack, because it was (and still remains) good music. There was a lot of funk and soul influence in there that I found appealing. Parliament/Funkadelic, Hot Chocolate..... Even Queen gave it a spin. I don't think it ever "threatened" the existence of rock, I don't think anything ever has or will. 

    I don't think that it was like today's rap or grunge at all, nor is it like the current crop of boy bands/girl bands/divas (Brittney, Xtina et all) which I view as being mostly vacuous and devoid of talent. I think it is way superior, and far from a footnote to many who lived through those times. 
  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,943
    I stopped digging Kiss because of the "I was Made For Lovin You"/dynasty incident.

    AND, disco didn´t threaten Rock bands like Sabs, Zep DP or Rush per se, but it showed that, after two (or three decades, depending on if you include elvis a.o.) of beeing the only youth culture, guys with guitars weren´t the only thing the youth could dig.

    And in all seriousness, I once read an interview with Steve Vai, in which he philosophies over the drugs and genres of music.
    And in the late 70´s the drug was Coke, and while it´s easy to listen to Rush while doing dope, and acid while listening to Pink Floyd, doing coke and listening to Jethro Tull just doesn´t work.
    Where as coke and "Staying Alive", sorta makes sense.
    Never having done drugs (other than cannabis) myself, I can´t say that Vai were absolutely right, but it does makes sense to me.
    Even in the way Travolta walks/struts in the "Saturday Night Fever" movie looks like he´s on Meth, Amph or Coke, something kinda "speedy", to me.

    I sincerly believe in the notion of "Zeitgeist", and the "spirit of the times" just needed something more upbeat, (both drugs and music), because it was awful disiilusioned times.


    And, yes, coke were the drug you used in the late 70´s (I have been told).
  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,943
    Finally, youth cultures have always competed, in the sixties the who even made a movie and an album about Mods and Rockers.
    BTW weren´t mod the "Disco" crowd of the sixties ?
  • ingveingve Posts: 1,616
    [quote author=Agrippa link=topic=9652.msg148102#msg148102 date=1261032098]
    Finally, youth cultures have always competed, in the sixties the who even made a movie and an album about Mods and Rockers.
    BTW weren´t mod the "Disco" crowd of the sixties ?
    [/quote]

    Have to correct you just a little there, Agrippa. The Who indeed did make an album ("Quadrophenia") and a movie ("Quadrophenia" too....) about Mods vs Rockers, but though they were set in the 60's, the album and movie weren't made until 1973 (album) and 1979 (movie).

    I guess you could view the Mods as the 60's equivalent of the Disco crowd in many ways - they certainly were "pilled up" and speeding!
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,797
    Disco was huge, it was everywhere, even more than rap or hip-hop nowadays. Countless established artists felt obliged to release disco songs at that time, the Rolling Stones and Kiss being the most obvious examples of that shameful collusion :rantsmiley:

    The disco crowds were massive, like the current rap, hip-hop, coldplay and U2 crowds put together :rolleyes:  And yes, there was some occasional open animosity between rock and disco (I remember a song by the french hard rock band "Trust" with lyrics like "Parano, Syphilo, Disco, Zero" :evil_laugh:) Needless to say, at that time, I hated disco (and still dislike it), but retrospectively, I have to agree with Ingve, a substantial part of disco music was  clearly better and more professional than all the rap and fake r'n'b crap we get to hear now.

    This was also the time of punk. But the punks were very scary, so it didn't appeal to large audiences.

    I was still quite a young kid (about 13) but I remember clearly that it was a time of disillusion... people around me started to worry about the future (2nd oil crisis, failure of old industrial models, rise of unemployment, failure of social and economical models..  you get the picture).


  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,943
    [quote author=ingve link=topic=9652.msg148110#msg148110 date=1261037893]
    [quote author=Agrippa link=topic=9652.msg148102#msg148102 date=1261032098]
    Finally, youth cultures have always competed, in the sixties the who even made a movie and an album about Mods and Rockers.
    BTW weren´t mod the "Disco" crowd of the sixties ?
    [/quote]

    Have to correct you just a little there, Agrippa. The Who indeed did make an album ("Quadrophenia") and a movie ("Quadrophenia" too....) about Mods vs Rockers, but though they were set in the 60's, the album and movie weren't made until 1973 (album) and 1979 (movie).

    I guess you could view the Mods as the 60's equivalent of the Disco crowd in many ways - they certainly were "pilled up" and speeding!
    [/quote]
    Right you are too, of course Sir.
    I even knew it myself, if I´d stopped a second to see what I actually wrote.
    :doh:
  • SystemSystem Posts: 10,067
    Before this gets going I want to say Amy... relax... deep breath...
  • maybeyesmaybeyes Posts: 4,522
    In my neck of the woods there was a little bit of animosity between rock and disco, but to a lot of us who listened we heard some great funk and soul as Ingwe said in that there music.  I still listen to it now.  There was the pap and drivel as you get with any popular style, but there was also some great music.  I remember listening to all the Wild Cherry stuff or Chic and many others.  There was some righteous guitar playing in there and some of it was even dino.  That was the cool part hearing a dino style guitar solo in a disco/funk song.

    Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

  • cvansicklecvansickle Posts: 6,221
    When I was a teenager living in Atlanta (up to November 1978) I was not anti-Disco. The SNF soundtrack featured prominently at the youth group dances, and if you wanted to score, you danced, period. I was discovering lots of different rock bands during this era too. This was the time when my interests were shifting from sports to music.

    But, when I moved to Chicago at the end of 1978, things were different. Chicago was a bigger, more multi-media city than Atlanta, and it wasn't just Disco music that was so huge. The entire Disco lifestyle invaded every avenue of society, and it couldn't be avoided. Imagine, having the BeeGees shoved into every orafice of your body, 24/7 - that's what it became. It was enough to drive people mad, and enough to encourage this event:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night

    And yes, I was there, although I did not participate in the onfield fracus.

    I read the Casablanca Records story And Party Every Day last month. It was written by one of the principals of the company, and it told how Casablanca, led by Neil Bogart, staked the entire company's success on Disco music. They had Donna Summer and the Village People leading the charge, so they were in good shape until the fad faded. The only rock bands they had were Kiss and Angel, and they lost a lot of money trying to get both to break big, and of course Angel never did. But Disco paid the bills - why do you think both Kiss and Angel recorded Disco songs? ("I Was Made for Loving You" and "20th Century Foxes" respectively)

    Why did Disco (70s style) die? Lots of factors. First, the market became oversaturated. Record companies would sign and release anything to claim a piece of the pie, and the later acts were below the standards set earlier. Second, a new alternative sprang up in the form of New Wave music.
    Death Or Glory - Who Dares Wins!
  • pprovostpprovost Posts: 2,638
    Couldn't stand it then or now. I had one of these:

    image
    I think sometimes if you try to play too technically, you lose something in the music - like you're playing for another guitar player. I like to play for people. The more sophisticated and mature guitarists become, the more they go with the feel.

    - Ritchie Blackmore


  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    Here's an old Dino Disco Thread with some interesting tidbits from a few years back for anyone who cares;

    http://dinosaurrockguitar.com/forum/index.php?topic=1080.0

    There's a funny story about Kiss playing "I Was Made For Loving You" at one of The Monsters Of Rock Castle Donington shows. From what I remember, they were not sure how it was going to go over, but apparently, the crowd went NUTS for it! Go Figure :hmm: That said, I've always dug that tune.
  • I've watched this movie an outright EMBARRASSING number of times and am a shameless and relentless fan.  I actually posted a link to the scene where Jam's mom is burning the tickets in the Salem Witch Trials thread.  I'm sure there were people who felt as passionate about the chasm between rock and disco as was portrayed in the film but just like now,there will always be people who like both.  (I too am a fan of the sound track from Saturday Night Fever, Tony.) 

    Remember that Detroit Rock City the movie is meant to be fun and campy so the annimosity between those "greasy disco balls" and Jam, Trip, Lex and Hawk is being exagerated to create part of the charm of that movie.  I will say that the movie does an INCREDIBLE job with attention to detail in noting and alluding to the pop culture of its day.  If you were a child or teenager during the time the movie took place you will be astounded with the sheer number of visual and verbal reminders of your life at the time. It's really done quite well. 
  • RushFanRushFan Posts: 211
    For me, Disco came and went. It did seem very popular at the time and I do remember folks declaring Rock dead and things like that. It was based on this that I thought Rap/Hip-Hop would die a quick death as well. But a few years went by,  :crap: and then a few more,  :puke: and a few more,  :diebitch: and it still seems to be going stong.  :puking:. Meanwhile, the music I liked has more or less been declining.  :dead:


    :down: :pissed: :sad2: :weep:
  • 'DISCO WILL NEVER DIE!'








    ..oh, what's that? it already died?








    Never mind.
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