G4E4 – Northern Soul & Disco – Later Years

Includes: The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, The Commodores, The Trammps, 5000 Volts, Chic, Sylvester Thelma Houston and Baccara

Welcome pop pickers.

This week we start the Disco era.  This is what we heard at the Youth Club in the early 1970’s through to the late 1980’s, when most nights were party nights, men were men and girls were girls and you met on the dance floor.  Happier times.

Thank you to Wiki and Top of the Pops.

After the 70’s, whilst there was always some Northern Soul being played somewhere, it did spawn the horrendous House Music and the dreadful “Acieeeeed” thing, both just passed me by as it was even worse than the stuff our beloved Brett likes.  I think that is more than enough information to bypass those terrible times.

However, it did spawn what I think is the second-best music genre (after the pop music of the 60’s and 70’s), Disco.

Yay, I hear you yell.

Courtesy of Wiki:

Disco is a genre of dance music and a subculture that emerged in the 1970s from the United States’ urban nightlife scene. Its sound is typified by four-on-the-floor beats, syncopated bass lines, string sections, brass and horns, electric piano, synthesizers, and electric rhythm guitars.

Disco started as a mixture of music from venues popular among African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, gay Americans and Italian Americans in Philadelphia and New York City during the late 1960s to early 1970s. Disco can be seen as a reaction by the 1960s counterculture to both the dominance of rock music and the stigmatisation of dance music at the time. Several dance styles were developed during the period of disco’s popularity in the United States, including “the Bump” and “the Hustle”.

In the course of the 1970s, disco music was developed further, mainly by artists from the United States and Europe. Well-known artists included the Bee GeesABBADonna SummerGloria GaynorGiorgio MoroderBaccaraBoney M.Earth Wind & FireChaka KhanChicKC and the Sunshine BandThelma HoustonSister SledgeSylvesterThe TrammpsDiana RossKool and the Gang & the Village People. While performers garnered public attention, record producers working behind the scenes played an important role in developing the genre. By the late 1970s, most major U.S. cities had thriving disco club scenes, and DJs would mix dance records at clubs such as Studio 54 in Manhattan, a venue popular among celebrities. Nightclub-goers often wore expensive, extravagant outfits, consisting predominantly of loose, flowing pants or dresses for ease of movement while dancing. There was also a thriving drug subculture in the disco scene, particularly for drugs that would enhance the experience of dancing to the loud music and the flashing lights, such as cocaine and quaaludes, the latter being so common in disco subculture that they were nicknamed “disco biscuits”. Disco clubs were also associated with promiscuity as a reflection of the sexual revolution of this era in popular history. Films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Thank God It’s Friday (1978) contributed to disco’s mainstream popularity.

The Tunes:

There will be much disagreement on what the first disco records where, for me though, it is the featured song:

Now I can hear the groans from here, but for those of a certain age like what I am, I was in my twenties, and once this came on, I was dancing like John Travolta.  OK, maybe not quite as good.  What wonderful memories.

Saturday Night Fever • Night Fever • Bee Gees

For me, whilst there were, indeed still are many wonderful disco artists, The Bee Gees are, in my view, No 1.

From the same film came:

Bee Gees Stayin Alive (Extended Remaster).  Shirley, not just me that would strut like that.

Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing – Quite rare to see Any Gibb (RIP) with his brothers.

Another one:

The Trammps – Disco Inferno (Original Long Version, all of these are guaranteed to get people on the dance floor.  Sometimes even sober.

The film Thank God It’s Friday contributed to disco’s mainstream popularity. I think really in America, it passed me by, probably as I was doing tours in NI at the time, never had time for music.

Here’s the soundtrack, some good tunes from Donna Summer and the Commodores:

Thank God It’s Friday

Speaking of Donna Summer:

Donna Summer – State Of Independence, not just a good disco tune, but an exceptionally good song.  I searched several vids for this, but this struck as a bit special as it starts off and features her daughter.  Very sad that Donna died of lung cancer (not a smoker though) aged only 63 in 2012. Donna will feature next time.

Now for a few songs of the era, big hits at the time, but sadly not going on to fame and fortune:

5000 Volts – I’m On Fire – On the back of this I bought their album, and I have to say I played it to death.  Most excellent.

5000 Volts – Dr Kiss Kiss • TopPop, still as good today as nearly 50 years ago.

Chic – Le Freak • TopPop – another Nile Rogers group, he pops up a lot, great talent.

The O’Jays – I Love Music (Official Soul Train Video)

Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way, not the “Friday” version but the original from Thelma.

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

I finish off, with a great tune from the late 70’s, there only hit:

Baccara – Yes Sir, I Can Boogie (TOTP 1977)

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to Origins Series:

Genre 1 Episode 1 – Motown – The Beginning Genre 1 Episode 2 – Motown – The early Days Genre 1 Episode 3 – Motown – The early Days Part 2
Genre 2 Episode 1 –Glam Rock – The Beginning


Genre 2 Episode 2 –Glam Rock – The early days Genre 2 Episode 3 –Glam Rock – The early days Part 2
Genre 2 Episode 4 – Glam Rock – The Later Years
Genre 3 Episode 1 – The Singers


Genre 3 Episode 2 – The Singers – The early Days Genre 3 Episode 3 -Origins of the Singers  -Later time
Genre 3 – The Singers – A bit of Willie


G4E1 – Origins of Northern Soul & Disco – The Beginning  G4E2 – Northern Soul and Disco – Early days  G4E3 – Northern Soul & Disco – Middle Era
G5E1 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Beginning G5E2 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Early Days  G5E3 – Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Early Days Middle Era
G6E1 – Those different ones like what I like G6E2 – Those different ones like what I like – Part 2
G6E3 – Those different ones like what I like – Part 3  

Featured image: “Saturday Night Fever” by Yuya Tamai is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

© Phil the ex test manager 2023